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Old 15-09-2010, 01:42 PM   #1
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Supermassive Black Hole (In Your Wallet): The Trouble With Muse At

http://thequietus.com/articles/04961...use-at-wembley

Jeremy Allen , September 15th, 2010 08:19
Although Jeremy Allen can't help but find Muse's Wembley megashow stirring, the Stadium experience leaves a sour taste


The Muse phenomenon is perplexing. Having nearly lost teeth defending An Origin of Symmetry when people all around dismissed it as the product of prog Radiohead-lite pretenders, it remains astonishing that I'm watching Muse at Wembley Stadium. On their second night forsooth! Still derided as prog Radiohead-lite by most of my friends, to begrudge Muse the success they've had would be churlish, and watching thousands upon thousands of people braving pissing rain to leaping in unison to ‘Uprising' is enough to bring me out in goosebumps. Their success is a triumph of hard work and virtuosity. It's the tale of three lads from the arse-end of nowhere realising their dreams and getting to the top of their game by being able to play exceedingly well and show off. It's a very American story, not one you'd expect to begin in Teignmouth. Each born a year prior to a Conservative government in 1979, Muse perhaps absorbed by osmosis the Thatcherite values of ambition, and despite their supposed political leanings, they're are a not only a rock band but a corporate behemoth in an industry where fewer and fewer artists have this sort of clout.

Strutting around the stage in what is essentially a giant amplifier that vaguely resembles the Southbank (until it is lit up which transmogrifies it into some kind of psychedelic, intergalactic space station that nicely compliments their space-age synthetic sound) Muse's set is, considering the context, quite arty. Interesting too are the extras who flood out from the stage at the outset carrying flags emblazoned with the words ‘They Will Not Control Us'. Covert visual messages flicker on screens and we surmise they're attempting to convey throughout that they're a band on our side trying to make sense of some autocratic world order. Black and white mugshots that have the look of Amnesty International literature appear with faces that scream "oppression". Another of the more poignant moments comes during ‘Ruled by Secrecy', a conspiratorial number wholly appropriate for a show played on September 11th, where the words flicker on screen one by one as Matt Bellamy's castrato-like falsetto sits hauntingly on top:

"You're working so hard," he wails, "And you're never in charge / Your death creates success / Rebuild and suppress..."


It's a strong moment, yet it's also just a shame that I can't help feeling it smacks of hypocrisy. We're at Wembley Stadium for a start. Having climbed escalators, been searched and refused re-entry to this concrete and glass monstrosity should I fancy a cigarette during the next two hours, the whole experience feels more like waiting at an airport than being at a gig. Our seats in Club Wembley, which on match days are usually reserved for corporate hospitality denying real football fans around 30% of all tickets, are so far from the stage that its barely possible to actually see Matt Bellamy (though gigantic bass player Chris Wolstenhume's Flat Eric head movements are, along with the Great Wall of China, probably the only thing visible from outer space). The sound too is atrocious. Why can't they put speakers around the massive auditorium rather than take the traditional method of firing out sound only where the band are so it gets lost and eaten and garbled in the massive dome, with the bass sounding as tiny as a transistor radio? I've heard better sub-woofers on the bus.

Stewart Lee recently did a routine about Adrian Chiles, a man who looks "for all the world like a Toby Jug that has somehow learnt to speak. A Toby Jug, filled to the brim with hot piss." Attacking Chiles' supposed charitable altruism, Lee points out that having earned £61,500 for shaving his beard off for Comic Relief, Chiles should grow and remove his beard every week, thus earning charity £3,198,000 in a year. But he won't do that. Similarly Muse, by playing Wembley on two occasions are shortchanging their fans. With tickets around £45 a pop, Muse will scoop around £7,000,000 from these two shows, and that's before they've even sold a shirt. While flying saucers don't come cheap, surely the whole point of a group that are anti-establishment is that they don't play places like Wembley, spending hundreds of thousands of pounds on special effects that only the ten per cent or so up front can see properly.

Because he's an arse, Tony Blair's mate Bono isn't going to stop spinning around in a multi-million pound lemon to save starving kids in Africa, but Muse are younger and brighter and come from a different generation of rock stars who shouldn't be mimicking the vainglorious phoniness of the old guard. As a corporate entity Muse should be displaying corporate social responsibility, which doesn't mean generating huge amounts of carbon emissions and making as much cash as possible before taking the money and running. Having seen them play a truly tremendous gig at Shepherd's Bush Empire a few years back, one wonders why they couldn't play a long residency in such a venue, allowing fans get up close and personal. And when they get tired they can just thank fuck they're not working for the man, shut up, keep playing, and be grateful people are still buying their records
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Old 15-09-2010, 02:39 PM   #2
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In answer to this writer, maybe they had the slight problem of fitting in the rest of the world, and not forgetting that they've already toured in arena venues and have been touring all year.

Thanks for posting.
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Old 15-09-2010, 02:43 PM   #3
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though gigantic bass player Chris Wolstenhume's Flat Eric head movements are, along with the Great Wall of China, probably the only thing visible from outer space
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Old 15-09-2010, 02:52 PM   #4
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Hah that sounds like he's just a fan who is upset he had some tall people in front of him and doesn't like the smoking ban.

Most people at the venue were seated and had an excellent view of the stage and special effects.

Most people don't smoke are rejoice at the fact others cannot.

Muse sold 150,000 tickets. Is 75 nights of residency at Shepherds Bush Empire really gonna work? Really? What about the rest of the planet that wants to see Muse? America? Australia? Muse barely have time to tour everywhere in Europe that wants to see them. Better to play two shows and get it over with.

Muse are not about rebellion and being anti establishment. What they might be however, is pointing out the flaws in the establishment without a desire to upturn it and rebel. They've been signed to Warner for 7 years. They've been breaking America for 7 yeas also. They've been a commercial band for half the time they've existed. It's nothing new.

Silly journalist hasn't thought it through.
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Old 15-09-2010, 03:08 PM   #5
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"An Origin of Symmetry"
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Old 15-09-2010, 03:53 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Hyper View Post
Having nearly lost teeth defending An Origin of Symmetry when people all around dismissed it as the product of prog Radiohead-lite pretenders
Maybe he lost teeth because he didn't know what the album was called.
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Old 15-09-2010, 05:02 PM   #7
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sorry mate, muse are a stadium band now, and they're bloody good at it. the imagery muse use is an appropriation of rallies and protests - i dont think anyone thinks that they're actually protesting something specifically. it's entirely for effect.

oh and i had a fag inside wembley stadium. THEY WILL NOT CONTROL ME.
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Old 15-09-2010, 05:22 PM   #8
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This article is riddled with errors. They even used a picture of Wembley 2007. Doh!
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Old 15-09-2010, 05:29 PM   #9
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While flying saucers don't come cheap, surely the whole point of a group that are anti-establishment is that they don't play places like Wembley, spending hundreds of thousands of pounds on special effects that only the ten per cent or so up front can see properly.
I'm starting to wonder if this guy was at the gig at all.
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Old 15-09-2010, 05:44 PM   #10
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I don't really think £45 is that expencive. I would have paid twice that price for an experience like that if I had to.. And Dom was born in 1977...
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Old 15-09-2010, 05:54 PM   #11
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To ho on bandwagon of pointing out this article's flaw, I don't think Muse are actually earning money doing the stadium shows, rather the other way around. Suggesting they charge a lower emission is just going to make the entire show cost so much money out of the guys' pockets they'll be broke at the end of the tour.
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Old 15-09-2010, 06:11 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by Miggster View Post
To ho on bandwagon of pointing out this article's flaw, I don't think Muse are actually earning money doing the stadium shows, rather the other way around. Suggesting they charge a lower emission is just going to make the entire show cost so much money out of the guys' pockets they'll be broke at the end of the tour.
Well they obviously are earning money, but to imply that they are doing the stadium shows so they can earn a fast buck, by getting as many people to the show at once, and getting out of there is rather unfair.

They are obviously popular enough to do stadium shows and have attempted to do a show that is big enough for a stadium. They haven't done that many really, it's not as if they have given up smaller shows in preference of stadiums, as they continue to perform at arenas and festivals, and, to me, it appears a creative choice as much as anything, that they've done it for the challenge. If they just went to each country and did a stadium show and that was their whole tour, then the writer might have a point, but obviously they've done a range of different shows so what he says is just crap really.
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Old 15-09-2010, 06:55 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by Miggster View Post
To ho on bandwagon of pointing out this article's flaw, I don't think Muse are actually earning money doing the stadium shows, rather the other way around. Suggesting they charge a lower emission is just going to make the entire show cost so much money out of the guys' pockets they'll be broke at the end of the tour.
I actually read some interview where matt said they were about to break even with the production costs
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Old 15-09-2010, 06:57 PM   #14
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I actually read some interview where matt said they were about to break even with the production costs
That was for the arena tour. They probably made up for it in the Stadium tour.
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Old 15-09-2010, 07:11 PM   #15
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"Wolstenhume," ha! Would that be the rock philosopher who demonstrated the impossibility of ever conclusively disproving the words of a rock critic, I wonder?

That journalist would have a bit more credibility going on about carbon footprints and emissions if he wasn't a smoker. And his objections to Wembley as a venue (such as his distaste for corporate boxes and smoking bans) is really inapplicable to Muse as artists.

As for the UFO, that's just the latest in a lineage of silly rock stage props going back to Pink Floyd's inflatable pig (from their Animals tour). I'd be surprised if they were the first band to ever have a UFO prop of some sort.
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