Live Review: Muse Drones European Tour (London O2, April 11th)

Following the release of latest album Drones, Muse have taken to the stage once again for a European arena tour. For their second of five London shows, the band brought along Phantogram as their support and they did not disappoint. The band worked well to set the mood for the main act, but rather than being patiently endured by the waiting crowd they quickly became well received and seemed to impress. Vocalist Sarah Barthel’s unique, gentle tone echoed through the arena and soothed everyone in the room. Playing through a few of their best songs before ending with the popular ‘When I’m Small’, Phantogram did very well to please their audience. And then, 30 minutes later, Muse appeared.

Muse are one of those bands known to never just stand on a stage and play hits – they perform. Seeing them live is an experience, with each tour bringing something new and exciting to the mix. That said, even with this knowledge nothing could prepare anyone for the production they put on that night. The show was phenomenal start to finish, with an unexpected opener of ‘Drones’ during which their own actual drones gracefully floated around our bewildered heads, lit up in multicolours before disappearing again as the band took to the stage for an energetic play through of ‘Psycho’.

The visuals of Muse’s performance were key in making it what it was. From the floating drones to stunning lighting, to their fascinating projections of art, music video clips and song lyrics, there was never a dull moment; never an awkward silence as staging was changed or guitars were tuned to new keys for the next song. The crowd were kept fascinated by what can only be described as a show of beauty. The really impressive factor, however, was that there was time to take it all in. No blink-and-miss it explosions (increasingly common with live performances) – in fact, no explosions at all. A couple of confetti cannons shooting out human-shaped confetti (how cool is that?) was the most ‘showy’ part of their production. The band left behind tacky and predictable for elegance. Their rotating stage and frequent use of runways meant that no matter where you stood – or sat – you would see it all, albeit from a different perspective. For those two hours, the crowd were part of the world Muse created in Drones. In a word – captivating.

It came as no surprise that the band would opt to play a fair few songs from Drones, which including ‘Psycho’ totalled at six, yet they made sure to include fan favourites from almost every album (the exception being Showbiz). ‘Stockholm Syndrome’ (Absolution), ‘Citizen Erased’ (Origin of Symmetry) and ‘Undisclosed Desires’ (The Resistance) in particular received excited responses from the crowd – natural as they tend to be a rarity among Muse’s live performances and were arguably the dark horses of the set. Other highlights included set-regulars ‘Plug In Baby’, which might as well have been a sing-a-long as everyone in the room screamed out every single lyric till the end, ‘Supermassive Black Hole’, ‘Time is Running Out’ and ‘Starlight’ – the latter not only for producing one of the best sounds live but also for indicating that a different song would be closing the show, contrary to their last tour. Starting as they meant to end, Muse closed the show with twice as much energy as they blasted through ‘Knights of Cydonia’, leaving a singing and screaming, dancing and jumping crowd in awe.

The full setlist for Muse’s show can be seen below:

  • Drones (played from tape)
  • Psycho
  • Reapers
  • Plug In Baby
  • Dead Inside
  • Stockholm Syndrome
  • The 2nd Law: Isolated System
  • The Handler
  • Supermassive Black Hole
  • Prelude
  • Starlight
  • Citizen Erased
  • Munich Jam
  • Madness
  • Undisclosed Desires
  • JFK (played from tape)
  • Interlude
  • Hysteria
  • Time is Running Out
  • Uprising
  • The Globalist
  • Drones (played from tape + shortened)


  • Mercy
  • Knights of Cydonia

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