The incredible, amazing Muse
MUSE are in the throes of their biggest tour ever. Why? Because after millions of album sales, they can.
‘‘You look at some of the biggest bands playing the biggest shows, they stem from the late part of the 20th century when oil was cheap and there was no guilt,’’ Muse frontman Matt Bellamy says.
‘‘Like the ’80s, Especially the ’80s. We’re trying to fly the flag for not giving up on striving for something bigger. Striving for a little progress. We could always whip out the acoustic guitars, get around a campfire and start singing about how we should all start becoming hippies, smoking spliffs and growing vegetables. Which I’m totally in favour of – I do most of those things on a regular basis. But I think there’s still a side of me that was into the science fiction dreams growing up that doesn’t really want to let go of that.
‘‘I think that’s reflected in this tour. We’re at a point where we don’t need to hold back. We can do something that might bankrupt us all. Metaphorically or creative speaking, it’s good to take risks sometimes.’’
The Unsustainable world tour for last year’s The 2nd Law album started indoors in Europe, went outdoors in Europe and winds up in Mexico in October before the elaborate power station-themed stage begins a sea journey to return indoors in Australia in December.
‘‘There’s 25 shipping containers. They take five weeks to get down to Australia,’’ Bellamy says.
‘‘There’ll be a ship floating around somewhere in November with all of our gear on it. Hopefully it won’t capsize or we’ll be buggered down there. It’ll definitely be the biggest show we’ve ever brought to Australia by a long, long margin.’’
The super-sized tour hasn’t been without dramas. A concert in Rome (captured for a live DVD) almost saw the fire that punctuates the show extinguished. Luckily, money talked.
‘‘Everywhere you go there’s problems. We have accountants and lawyers arguing with all sorts of local councils and police and promoters. In Rome we had to bribe people with thousands of Euros just to be allowed to blast our fire effects. If you want to do things like this on the move it’s quite a big deal.
‘‘It’s pretty bloody expensive though. It’s mindboggling how much actually. But it’s worth it. If people enjoy themselves, who cares?’’
The tour will also see Muse get on board with the b-stage craze; making arena shows more intimate with pop-up stages that turn the back rows into the front rows for a few songs.
‘‘We’re really getting out and about, in with the audience. It’s the first time we’re connecting with the audience, literally touching the fans, shaking hands, singing songs in and around the crowd. It’s broken up the show for us. We’re hoping to continue that way of playing on the indoor side.’’ Bellamy says he is enjoying the human contact. ‘‘We’ve always been a bit distant. I’ve never been a big talker on stage. We always tend to have a lot of visuals and conceptual things going on where it hasn’t always been about connecting us to the crowd. That’s why this tour has been quite different to us.’’
Bellamy and his wife, Hollywood star Kate Hudson, have a two-year-old son, Hudson. He made his first musical appearance in utero – his heartbeat used on two The 2nd Law songs.
‘‘It’s on Follow Me, but it’s more prominent on Isolate System, which ended up getting used in World War Z, so that was good to hear it up on the big screen,’’ Bellamy says.
While he’s become a reluctant target of paparazzi (‘‘I don’t see them at all, Kate spots them a mile away’’) Bellamy says Muse’s touring schedule has now changed to accommodate he and bassist Chris Wolstenholme’s children.
‘‘Chris brings his kids out, we bring ours out. Most legs of the tour are two weeks. The Australian one will be the longest – three weeks – but we have a week or two off between each leg. So I move between being on stage and being a house husband.’’
– CAMERON ADAMS
Muse play the Brisbane Entertainment Centre on December 10. Tickets go on sale on Monday.
Muse (from left): Christopher Wolstenholme, Matt Bellamy and Dominic Howard.