REVIEW / CONCERT

FORMULA 1 2019 SINGAPORE AIRLINES SINGAPORE GRAND PRIX
MUSE
Padang Stage/Sept 21

SINGAPORE – British rock trio Muse have a reputation for spectacular live shows, and their cinematic space opera made landfall at the Padang stage – complete with campy outfits, dancers and visuals.

Frontman and guitarist Matt Bellamy, bassist Chris Wolstenholme and drummer Dominic Howard, opened with plenty of their newer numbers – Pressure and Break It To Me – all off their 2018 album titled Simulation Theory.

Bellamy lead the charge, donning an ensemble of LED glasses, a light up LED bomber jacket and a robotic “power glove” – like Bellamy’s very own Thanos-style Infinity Gauntlet,  which he used to command the crowd from atop his stage perch. 

But it was clear the crowd of 50,000 were there for the Muse classics like Supermassive Black Hole and Uprising. The glove came in handy for conducting the crowd during the rousing Starlight, one of the several singalongs during the tight 90-minute set.

They had plenty to draw from in their catalogue spanning 25 years, with instantly recognisable, iconic riffs – whether it was the squealing guitar introduction of Plug In Baby or the thumping bass line of Hysteria.

The screens on the sides of the stage provided plenty of closeups of Bellamy’s deft fingerwork on the guitar. Though his voice seemed to be overly processed, possibly to fit in with the retro-futuristic theme of the show, his soaring vocal range was undeniable – especially on tracks like Madness and Mercy. 

On the latter, he walked out on the gangway that extended into the crowd, falling to his knees in dramatic fashion as he belted out the chorus of “show me mercy, from the powers that be”.

But sometimes the campiness veered into cheesy territory, especially when distracting dancers joined them on stage. The three-man rock band are not known for having dancers and their inclusion seemed superfluous, such as when performers in hazmat suits started writhing on the floor for the tail end of Break It To Me. 

On the song Propaganda, Bellamy was backed by CO2 cannon-wielding female dancers in tight bodysuits – an over-the-top and atypical addition to their usual live show shtick, given the typically serious themes they deal with through their music, like dystopian futures. 

Ending rather abruptly with Knights Of Cydonia, they missed out on playing other classic Muse tracks like Stockholm Syndrome and New Born, which were included in full-length versions of their current Simulation Theory tour. 

But hopefully the band, who are no strangers to Singapore having performed here several times before, will return with a full-length show and a chock-full setlist. 

If it is any indication, drummer Howard already promised the crowd, saying: “We love you guys, we’ll come back for sure”.