I’ve always loved Muse, going back to their debut album and the single Muscle Museum, which managed to rhyme “Toilet” and “Spoil It” and have enjoyed how big they’ve become over the following 16 years. Finally, I got to see them in concert.
I had hoped it would be last year, when Matt Bellamy teased a surprise concert on Twitter, before an Ulster Hall concert was announced at four days notice. Sadly, it sold out before I was able to get a ticket.
Ulster Hall is a bit of a downgrade for Muse, they’ve been Odyssey sized for a while, playing there in 2006 but not since.
As well as being the city that kicked off the Drones tour in March 2015, Belfast holds a special place for Matt Bellamy as his mum was born there.
Eventually, they appeared on stage, jumping straight into Psycho.
Like with most Muse songs it had thunderous drums and piercing guitars.
Naturally, there was guitar solos and over the top ridiculousness aplenty. Muse have never shied away from that or taken themselves too seriously to care how they look.
Such is the ridiculousness, you could make band names from song and album titles such as Supermassive Black Hole, Knights Of Cydonia, Neutron Star collision, or Origin Of Symmetry.
You can’t have Madness as they pre-dated the Muse song by 33 years.
The stage was mostly in the round, with multiple mic stands for Matt Bellamy to use as he pleased, as well as a catwalk at both ends for him to walk along.
Bellamy was either right beside you or at the other end of the arena. There was enough of him to go about, as he regularly changed ends between songs.
The bit of the stage that was in the round even spun around when the band were performing on it.
Chris Wolstenholme wasn’t afraid to join in the ridiculousness, having a glow in the dark Bass and changing them between songs, having one in White, Blue, Red and Green.
Muse are at the stage where they could wheel out a Greatest Hits set, bashing them out one after each other. Those who were there for hits weren’t to be disappointed with Uprising, Resistance, Plug In Baby, Dead Inside, Madness, Starlight, Supermassive Black Hole and Undisclosed Desires all on the setlist, with Mercy and Knights of Cydonia performed during the encore.
The biggest reaction came during Starlight with fans clapping along to the drumbeat and singing the piano bit during the intro.
Fans were treated to large balloons filled with confetti being dropped from the sky, as well as ticker tape covering the arena later in the show,
I would have loved to have seen two of my personal favourites, Panic Station and Neutron Star Collision performed, but it was still a strong setlist.
During the show, Matt Bellamy said “We haven’t played this building for ten years, it won’t be so long until the next time”
As the band left the stage, the concert ending with a guitar solo v drum solo shoot-out between Matt Bellamy and Dom Howard, drummer Dom Howard said they won’t leave it ten years before their next Belfast show.
Belfast folk will be holding Muse to that promise between now and 2026, just as we’re constantly reminding Foo Fighters and Bon Jovi of those Belfast gigs they’ve promised.