Wembley Spectacular

18 06 2007

Yesterday I promised you a review of yesterday’s Muse concert at Wembley Stadium. Today I deliver on that promise (don’t I always?). First things first, I’ve seen Wembley before. A lot, in fact. But never this close-up. It was indescribably huge and breathtaking to look at. Shame it was late being built and cost too much. We arrived at the venue at 8am, well in advance of the scheduled door-opening time of 2:15pm. Having been to the old Wembley I knew that when you’re standing, if you want to be near the front, you have to arrive very early indeed. Thankfully 8am was just about the right time to arrive, there are about 3 or 4 people ahead of us at the turnstyle we chose and even the entire entrance had less than 10 people waiting before we arrived.The wait was always going to be long, and we went in full knowledge of that, prepared with books and iPods just in case the people we encountered were boring, but as with all the best concerts, this was a night made as much by the crowd as the performers and the people we shared the queue with were quite frankly lovely people that I wouldn’t be disappointed to share the experience with again. There was one girl in particular who was a complete nutter and even used one of the foil blankets used by the few intrepid people who’d slept there overnight (not many, interestingly enough) to make herself a ninja.

In fact, I’ve never seen so many inventive uses for foil before. We had capes, crowns, foil pants and even one person who had a complete space-suit made of foil. I suppose that’s what boredom, sleep deprivation and a long wait will do for anyone. The costumes weren’t limited to foil either, there were people who’d used military uniforms in the style of My Chemical Romance (who were one of the support acts), including one guy who’d opted to even include the smeared mascara under one eye. Speaking of My Chemical Romance, despite it being Muse’s night, there were a lot of people there to see My Chemical Romance rather than Muse, with the Muse set being a spectacular bonus.

One of the girls we queued up with actually missed the Muse set because she’d heard that My Chemical Romance were leaving early (as they had a festival in Austria to be at) and that there was a chance she might meet them as they left. Thankfully for her, she did get to meet the band, her idols, but I still reckon the My Chemical Romance fans who stuck around to see Muse got the better end of the deal. To say they were spectacular would be to do them a disservice, in fact I run out of superlatives to lavish upon them. Muse are famous for being showmen extraordinaire but even people who had seen them several times before were impressed by the way they pulled out all the stops.

When we finally got in (the doors opening late at 3:00pm, which prompted some rather strange chants outside the turnstyles, largely consisting of shouting random boys’ names as loudly as possible) we made out way slowly to the stage, knowing that we were guaranteed to be in the golden circle (we were already assured of this by the Pit Manager). This gave us ample time to survey the stage area, which should already have told us about the amazing events that were about to unfold. The stage had giant “satellites” on it (and one on either side of the stage for good measure) and there were what can only be described as huge inflatible spheres (they were to balloons what King Kong is to Gorillas) in the top stands behind the stage on either side.

We were fortunate enough to be in the front row, spitting distance from the stage (and even closer to an extended platform that came out from the stage and had been set up right in front of us), right in front of one of the side screens. Not bad, not bad at all. Front row at any Muse concert is a once in a lifetime opportunity, the fact this was all taking place at Wembley stadium just elevated that to another level (and how often can you say any event is greater than once in a lifetime?) Apart from the obvious benefit of being able to see the concert better, we ended up being recorded both by a boom camera and a camerawoman with a camera on her shoulder, as well as being snapped by a photographer. That was the whipped cream on top, the cherry on top of that was getting the official set list from the boom camera operator as a memento.

Onto the concert itself, since that what’s your probably more interested in. Zane Lowe was DJing before the show and between sets and although he’d lost his voice (probably on the Saturday) he was in fine form, and certainly a lot better than Shy Child who opened. To say they were awful would be understating it. Even if the front man could actually sing, they would be no better than ok, sounding like a lot of other bands coming out of New York at the moment. Since he couldn’t, his keytar skills did little to mask the fact that they weren’t good enough to be opening for Muse at Wembley Stadium. Maybe they’d be ok in a smaller venue but the entire event was just too big to be opened by a band that was clearly not good enough. Thankfully Zane came back on to DJ soon enough, got the crowd pumped and ready for Biffy Clyro.

I had actually been looking forward to seeing Biffy for days, I daresay almost as much (although clearly not) as Muse. They didn’t disappoint. They opened with a fantastic rendition of my personal favourite “57”. I wasn’t surprised to hear that the crowd didn’t know the song all that well, but as the set progressed and more recent songs like Summer Superhouse and Living Is A Problem were also unfamiliar with the crowd it dawned on me just how little they’re known south of the border. Despite this, they still managed to hugely entertain everyone (which didn’t surprise me as they’re great) and left to pretty strong applause, even from those who hadn’t known much about them beforehand. I have no doubt they earnt some new fans, but I’m sure the familiar shout of “Mon the Biffy” at least made them feel a little more at home. Despite Muse being quite simply awe-inspiring a little later, I still left Wembley singing a Biffy song to myself, which in itself is a small victory for the boys from Ayrshire.

They were followed up by My Chemical Romance who got a massive reception, no doubt because a lot of people (mainly girls) had come to see them, with Muse being an added bonus. Having been a My Chemical Romance fan prior to The Black Parade, and yet simply not liking that album at all, my relationship with them is lukewarm. Thankfully their set was actually not too bad, with a nice mix of the older tracks from Three Cheers For Sweet Revenge together with a few from The Black Parade. Considering my view of that album, I was really pleased that they only played the bare minimum from that album (songs like the title track, Famous Last Words, Teenagers, Mama, Cancer) as well as the two songs (This Is How I Disappear and The Sharpest Lives) that I actually do like from it. I admit I cringed during the other songs from The Black Parade, but I got to hear songs like Give Em Hell Kid and Helena which made up for it. The performance wasn’t the best I’ve seen by them, but I believe this was down the fact that they were the warmup act, whereas they’re normally the headliners.

And then came Muse. Only I’m not going to tell you about them just yet. Cruel, aren’t I? I’ve decided that their performance last night, where they kept us in suspense the entire time, is inspiration enough to do the same with this review. Not to mention the fact that the show was so good that it needs a post of its own to describe it all to you (it would more than double the size of this post). So if you want to hear about Muse, how they stole the show having been very well supported, and put on what was the best concert ever, hands down, one that may never be rivalled, you’ll have to wait until tomorrow. All I will say at this point is that future generations will remember those two days as the time when Wembley was opened with a bang, and George Michael’s feeble attempt to do so will be consigned to the annals (that’s annals George, not anals) of history.



4 responses

20 06 2007

Will you be attending the concert that the Princes William and Harry are putting on July 1?

20 06 2007
Mr President

I won’t actually. For starters most of the “artists” performing aren’t to my taste, and secondly my devout dislike of anything linked to Diana would have precluded me attending. My views on the “Princess of Hearts” differ greatly from those held by most people.

21 01 2008
The Return of the BlogNinjas « Textual Relations

[…] since May it’s been Map Of The Problematique by Muse. I saw them at Wembley Stadium on the 17th of June last year, in a gig since proclaimed the Greatest Of All Time by many in the […]

6 05 2008
Monday Meme - Musical Mondays Returns « Textual Relations

[…] it was because back in June last year, at Wembley Stadium, El Presidente saw them live and during their live set, behind them on a huge curved screen that […]

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