Showing no signs of slowing...

There must be a few singed eyebrows amongst the crowd at tonight's gig. The first of two sold-out gigs at the Emirates Stadium sees a gigantic ball of flame thrown up from the middle of the crowd to welcome on stage a band more than capable of filling this vast venue: Muse.

Kicking off with ‘Supremacy’ from their latest album 'The 2nd Law', the fire shoots high up above the crowd from the top of a huge video wall at the back of the stage, which projects spaceship graphics Tony Stark would be proud of.

‘Supermassive Black Hole’ has a false start, interrupted by Matt Bellamy shouting, “F*** ... thought we were playing a different song!" But this only means the fans get to hear those unmistakable opening bars again, which whips them into a frenzy.

Surprisingly, on such hallowed ground, the cry of “Arsenal!” from Bellamy brings a resounding “Boo!” from across the whole of the stadium, followed by a little giggle from Muse’s frontman.

The band's current single, ‘Panic Station’, is accompanied by cartoon representations of Barack Obama, Angela Merkel and David Cameron dubstepping on top of the world. ‘Animals’ projects images of a fat cat businessman fighting his way through the crowd, which then comes to life as the businessman bursts onto the B-stage with paper Muse dollars raining from above. He falls to his knees and, as the song’s lyrics request, dies on stage and "does us all a favour".

The whole evening is supported with props including a secretary drinking from the nozzle of a petrol pump (again, dying at the end of the B-stage), and a huge light bulb flying overhead, from which an acrobat bursts during 'Black Out'.

Bassist Chris Wolstenholme takes over vocals on the catwalk during ‘Liquid State’, one of two tracks written by him about his troubles with alcoholism.

Each band member does an awesome job of performing to the whole stadium, not just those down the front, using the catwalk and B-stage to their full effect; even Dom Howard makes and appearance with one of his drum kits during several broken-down tracks. The theatrics are prominent as always, and at one point Bellamy jumps off the stage, venturing underneath with cameras following him, to reveal the businessman and secretary lying in silk-lined coffins.

During the second of two encores a gigantic robot joins the band on stage stage, towering high above the musicians, and again flames leap up. The two-hour set thrills the whole stadium, and the enormity of the performance just goes to show that Muse show no signs of slowing down.

Words & photos: Meg Hope

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