By: Graeme Howard
When a live concert film is done right, it can create a viewing experience that is wholly unique to the live counterpart. Muse: Drones World Tour is an exciting live concert experience on the big screen, providing a non-stop hour-and-a-half of music and sensory overload. That being said, there are a few minor criticisms that hold this live concert experience from a wider appeal to the masses as opposed to being just fan service.
As the title suggests, most of the the music featured is from Muse’s (Matt Bellamy, Chris Wolstenholme, and Dominic Howard) most recent concept album Drones (2015). Thankfully around the midpoint of the concert, they start to play their greatest hits. “Knights of Cydonia” and “Supermassive Black Hole” were personal highlights; seeing the crowd get into a euphoric state of excitement as you watch and hear them singing the lyrics was a fun time.
The footage from this show was captured from multiple concerts, displaying the best moments of the tour. The intricate stage design which centred around a rotating 360 degree stage is striking. It is a novel concept that, combined with the ever changing visual projections onto the stage, guarantees you always have something interesting to watch. The use of autonomous drones hovering around the stage add additional dimension to the experience. Of note, when the band is performing “The Globalist”, the audience is treated to a massive spaceship that flies around the crowd. The idea of using the drones in a concert is really cool, and I hope more bands start to utilize them in the future.
The one thing lacking from Muse: Drones World Tour is the band commentary or behind-the-scenes footage audiences are often treated to in these live concert adaptations. The film opens with a brief monologue (from the band) touching a bit on the thought process Muse had with the album but, unfortunately, that’s all of the behind-the-scenes insight we get. By excluding any creation of footage or even hearing the band speak about the songs or the stage design feels like a missed opportunity. For myself, getting to explore all the moving parts that bring a technically impressive show together is really interesting, but also in doing so creates an experience that is unique to the film itself. Not to mention that Muse’s live shows are well known for pushing the boundary in regards to stage design.
Fans of Muse looking for a non-stop ride reflecting that of the live tour counterpart will enjoy themselves immensely. However, the lack of backstage footage and commentary from the band may leave some viewers wishing for more.