The greatest show on Earth: on tour with Muse
Matt Bellamy jokingly calls his group “worldwide ambassadors of fear and paranoia.” According to Dorian Linsky, who joined Muse on the road and on stage during their stay in Canada, they are also preachers of extravagance and excessiveness. Drones, 360 ° scene, video screens, arrow platforms … Muse is taking the planet’s most bizarre rock show to a city nearby.
Created by General Atomics, the MQ-9 Reaper is a drone used by the U.S. Air Force for reconnaissance and precision strikes. It was such a model that sent Muhammad Emwazi, a member of the Islamic State, known as Jihadi John, into the world.
Muse has its own Reaper. It is a bomber-shaped aerial object hidden behind the scenes of the Quebec entertainment center Vidéotron, filled with helium, six meters long and five wide, made of black polyester fabric. Every evening, during the climax of Globalist, a crazy mini-opera about a dictator destroying the world, Reaper ominously swims over the hall. There are a dozen luminous balloon drones that perform a programmed air dance during the show, reminiscent of friendly alien creatures.
At least that was what was intended. However, experimental drones developed for Muse by a Dutch company are less reliable than the MQ-9. Drone technology has not yet been used on the tour. They need to be constantly packed, transported, unpacked and reconfigured, so every time you don’t know whether everything will turn out as it should. “We have a whole bunch of technical innovations,” says the indefatigable manager Glen Rowe.
Quite rarely, all the drones used in the show remain in their predetermined places. Concerts in Las Vegas and San Diego had to be rescheduled, but in Texas there were no drones. Performance in Detroit was a real disaster. At first, Bellamy was stuck in an elevator that takes him to the stage. Then the ball drones began to fall like flies. Finally, the huge Reaper lost its height, and the crowd tore it apart.
“I’m sorry Detroit,” says Matt Bellamy, vocalist, guitarist and generator of crazy and impractical ideas. “I would even like to go back and play there again. When something like this happens, you ask yourself: what have we done wrong? But still it it’s worth it. If everything works out, it’s real magic. People leave with the feeling that they saw something more than an ordinary rock concert. Something theatrical. Something with meaning. ” He smiles: “We are a little too sophisticated this time. We have gone too far, but in a good way.”
In an enthusiastic review of the December Muse concert in Los Angeles, Billboard magazine called them “the last of the great stadium rock bands.” Perhaps there is some truth to this.
Canada in January is not a test for the faint of heart. The temperature drops to minus 26, and the St. Lawrence River, flowing through Quebec, turns into a huge ice rink, covered with snow. However, Glen Rowe insists that we go somewhere. Rowe adheres to the “Spinal Tap” creed – “Always have a great time” – and constantly comes up with some kind of entertainment: flying a wind tunnel in St. Petersburg, playing polo in Argentina, car racing in Vegas. Today we have to curling.
We are in a club on the outskirts of the city, and Chris Wollstenholm, Muse bass player, new to curling, looks suspiciously at the ice. Behind him crowded teenagers who recognized rock stars. They are watching us through the glass. “It would be awkward to fall on your ass in public,” he remarks. Bellamy has already played curling and is ready to compete.
Curling requires precision. It is necessary to disperse the stone on ice so that it stops as close as possible to the center of the target, located at the end of the track. Bellamy can’t calculate the speed, and his stone glides on the ice too fast. “Stop, stop,” he screams after the stone flies behind the target and hits the back wall. “Overflight. I throw too much all the time.”
Bellamy jokingly calls Muse “the worldwide ambassadors of fear and paranoia.” They are also preachers of extravagance and excessiveness in the best traditions of the Walls, Wars of the Worlds, 2112 by Rush, Diamond Dogs Bowie and Queen in general – when rock invades the territory of science fiction films, comics and musical theater in a bold and beautiful way. Of course, for some people such ambitions seem stupid, but there are those who are attracted to sophisticated otherness in modern rock bands. For such people, Muse are one of a kind.
The band was so impressed with Roger Waters’ grandiose staging of The Wall that they decided to assign it to producer Chris Kensi. “David Gilmore is primarily concerned with music,” says Chris, a tall 54-year-old man with touched gray hair. “What matters to Roger Waters is how this music is presented, the story behind it. Muse looks more like Roger than David.