Muse Announce They’re Coming to Philly — And You Should Be Very Excited
I’ll admit it upfront: There is no band that can reduce me to a puddle of emotional fan-girling like Muse. Their music and concerts were what got me through the ups and downs of teenhood. So of course, I was thrilled when it was announced this week that they would be bringing their Drones World Tour to Philly’s Wells Fargo Center on January 31st. It’s no secret that Musers are some of the most devoted and enthusiastic fans — eagerly snatching up show tickets and merchandise. But even for someone who’s just getting their feet wet — or the significant other or best friend who’ll inevitably be brought along for support— this tour is something to get excited about. Why, you ask? Follow along:
Muse began from humble origins, adopting their name after winning a battle of the bands in Devon, England. The angsty group would go on to become the kings of prog rock, often quoted as heirs to the throne of the likes of Queen and Pink Floyd. For their sixth album, Drones, the Teignmouth trio aimed to return to their roots as a guitar-bass-drums ensemble, stripping away some of the more-experimental instrumentation and sounds from their previous two albums, The Resistance and The 2nd Law. For most, Muse’s early days will always be near and dear, but Drones offers the best of both worlds: the innate chemistry of Muse as musicians, and the larger-than-life album concepts of conspiracy, control and revolution. Two particularly stellar tracks, “Reapers” and “The Handler,” should prove to be all the more incredible live. “Reapers” shows off frontman Matt Bellamy’s guitar prowess, with a Van Halen-esque introduction. “The Handler” — the favorite of the band and many fans — brings back the darker elements and falsetto vocals that were signatures on Muse’s earlier records. Drones follows a conceptual arc that traces the story of an abandoned lover through war, obedience, defection from the system, hope for a new love, and potentially, the final destruction of society as we know it. A tale of fittingly epic proportions for a tour of this scale.
The stage design and its presentation are very important to Muse concerts, and Bellamy said that ideas for this tour were coming together when he was recording the album. Perhaps inspired by their touring days with U2, Muse’s Drones Tour will be the first performed on a 360-degree stage. Philly’s Wells Fargo Center stage will become a rotating, double-headed arrow, making two full revolutions by the end of the show. This setup will allow even more fans to get up close and personal with the band. According to Bellamy, this will be their version of The Wall by Pink Floyd.
Matt Bellamy is pretty out of this world, and so are his visions for the production of this tour. Take, for instance, the fact that this show will have working, functional, computer-controlled flying drones circulating the stage. (This isn’t even remotely farfetched for the man who wanted a giant UFO to fly over the audience in past concerts.) At least they follow through on the imagery.
As musicians, Matt, Dom and Chris are not only incredibly skilled, but each complements the other in energy and playing style. Their interactions with each other are exciting to watch, and they always feel in-sync. Particularly fun are Chris and Dom’s bass and drums duet that has been a regular in past shows. Musically, Matt and Chris’ lead and bass guitars rival each other in melodic energy and complexity.
Being in a room full of Muse fans is quite the beautiful sight. In interviews and appearances, Muse constantly mention their deep connection with their fans, and it becomes very apparent at a show. While I am a native New Yorker, I have consistently enjoyed the more intimate experience of Philly concerts, and seeing Muse at Wells Fargo for The 2nd Law Tour was a spectacular show. But they are a band that even an arena can’t contain. So while I still wonder anxiously if I’ll be able to make it close enough to the stage, I know the winter concert will take on something of a holy experience.
Muse plays the Wells Fargo Center on January 31st. Tickets are on sale now and can be purchased here.