As the Muse exodus, South for most people, to London approached, rumours flew wild. There were hints of an orchestra, later refuted by Wolstenholme, a statement of 25 songs from the band. The big question was however ... would it go down well, and would it top Earl's Court 2004?
As I changed at Wolverhampton, I was thankful that my connection was late, as my previous train had been. Things had been going rather well, and they continued to do so. In Euston, there wasn't much hint of the upcoming pilgrimage later that day. Were people not staying in Central London or Camden? That seemed rather strange, considering the 90,000 people travelling in and out each day solely for the Muse concerts.
While others were less fortunate I should imagine, I was only one Underground stop and 15 minutes away from Wembley Park tube station, and another 15 from said station to the stadium. The journey there was surprisingly quiet, plenty of room to sit down for that short period. Three stops and what seemed like a minuscule amount of time later, the first view of the stadium's arches welcomed me and whoever else was going. I usually dislike London tremendously, but I felt as though I was being welcomed home. There was no where on Earth I'd rather be, and at no time but this that I'd rather it be. This is where I belonged.
As I walked down Olympic way, the usual concoction of touts and counterfeit merchandise was on sale, under the watchful eye of the all-pervasive but nonchalant police force. Up the ramps I went, but back down again when I realised that I needed to go through the Footballer's entrance rather than audience entrance. Ticket out and suites checking it, I walked down luxury isles to the team's seats. There I sat quietly until The Streets came on, and as usual Mike Skinner proved that, while he's not much of an artist, he certainly does provide pre-show entertainment. The crowd however had none of his "Time Is Running Out" or "Radio Ga Ga" nonsense. No ... the insanity only begun an hour later.
In the mean time, Mexican wave after Mexican wave went around the stadium finishing each time with great applause from the opposite side. As the stage emptied, the crowd roared, the stamping begun, and the screaming commenced.
Muse didn't present their entrance in the age old "get on and play songs" way, this time they added some nonsense alien to their usual no-nonsense concert. Under the central platform they crawled, through to the middle where a rush of smoke and dramatic classical music introduced those who needed no introduction. Up and across they went, alien themselves to these otherwise preposterous theatrics - perhaps in disbelief, or nervousness.
To fans such as myself, the set list was ridiculously predictable. Every intro, every guitar change, we knew what was coming next. But we didn't care. We were here for the music, the atmosphere ... The script was of no consequence.
On with Knights of Cydonia, Hysteria, Supermassive Black Hole, Map of the Problematique, Butterflies & Hurricanes ... moshing as we went. It wasn't until Citizen Erased that the experience really began. This was the reason many fans had come, those apocalyptic bass drum beats, that whining guitar ... This was the emotional roller coaster that is Muse - this was Origin of Symmetry. On with Hoodoo, all the way through to New Born the atmposphere swelled. As Bellamy approached the front of the stage, we put our hands up in unison for the New Born salute. The remnants of Ashamed later, we were waiting again.
On came the staple part of any Muse gig since the epicness incarnate that was Earls Court, the mobile phones. What a sight it was, a galaxy of our own, filling the stadium with stars of light. Then came Unintended, which many fans hadn't heard live since 2001, and to end the encore, Blackout. Accompanying this quiet contemplative number were two acrobats sent into the crowd attached to large balloons going up and down, to the crowd's delight. Off they went again. This was what we had been waiting for, this is what was reserved for gigs of true epicness. Out went the non-fans, leaving the real fans the stadium to themselves.
Two minutes later, Bellamy & Co. were back again, thanking the crowd with "We know many of you came a long way so thanks for coming down [...] Thank you for making us the first artist ... to sell out Wembley fucking Stadium!", and the crowd's noise level swelled as everyone screamed back at him. Here it came, those first notes, the dedicated fans making some noise, the oh-so-familiar chill rising through the spine and accompanying shudder. This was Micro Cuts. As we sang along to his whistle register vocals, our ability learned solely through our fanhood of Muse, the defining moment of this concert passed but yet didn't pass, in a strange paradox of timelessness. As the crowd screamed the descending outro in unison and Bellamy entered from one state of seemed insanity to another to play the guitar outro, the moment and gig had been defined, and the ultimate answer gotten. Yes, this concert had definitely been an epic masterpiece.
While the climax had ended, the concert hadn't. On into Stockholm Syndrome Muse went, the crowd following with a jumping in unison throughout the crowd, from the back of the seated area, the back of the standing area and to the front of the mosh pit. Finally, As the end of the Stockholm Syndrome outro arrived, dedicated fans 'in the know' took a bow to Bellamy, and surely enough the synths responded. While not a jump-enabling number, the sheer epic feeling of the song made a suitable and effective ending, especially with the accompanying flames. Until tomorrow, I thought.
That night I slept a mere 4 hours, being lucky with that. This time however, both lines from the Camden area were closed due to scaffolding on the track ... The adventure began. From Great Portland to Baker Street, from Baker Street to Queen's Park, and an extraordinarily squashed journey from Queen's Park to Wembley Central, to the incredulity of those looking on in disbelief.
The second night was almost identical to the first, aside from the lack of smiling on the band's part, and more commercially-orientated songs and the lack of fan favourites. Bliss was certainly the highlight of the second concert, predictably Bellamy screamed the entire last chorus, this being a gig of epic proportions. Of course, we followed suite. As I took the train back to Euston, I couldn't help but feel contemplative. Was it the fact that somehow I'd been lucky enough to find a specially organised direct train to Euston, or was it just that I'd just continued my commitment to go to every Muse gig of utmost importance? One thing I knew for certain was that Muse gigs are where I belong, and my fanship was undeniably reinforced. I felt thankful to Mr Bellamy for inviting us to share in his soul, to put it in the words of a banner from the 2001 Zenith gigs, "Thank you for putting your heart and soul into rock and roll"!
Where next, I wonder? Where else is there, but straight across and down from here?
A reminder if I may:
Very comprehensive articles about both gigs can be found on http://musewiki.org
Also, detailed discussion can be found at http://muselive.comMuseWembley Stadium 16th June 2007Wembley Stadium 17th June 2007Apocalypse PleaseAshamedBlackoutBlissBliss (extended)Butterflies and HurricanesButterflies & HurricanesCitizen ErasedCity of DelusionFeeling GoodForced InForced In (Instrumental)HoodooHysteriaInvincibleKnights of CydoniaMaggie's FarmMaggie's Farm RiffMan of MysteryMap of the ProblematiqueMicro CutsNew BornPlug In BabySing for AbsolutionSoldier's PoemStarlightStockholm SyndromeSunburnSunburn (piano)Supermassive Black HoleTime Is Running OutUnintendedBiffy ClyroDirty Pretty ThingsMy Chemical RomanceCancerHelenaI Don't Love YouWelcome to the Black ParadeShy ChildThe StreetsDry Your EyesFit But You Know It