Venue vs Festival – Muse

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Way back in 2017, I was lucky enough to see iconic British rock band Muse at Reading Festival. As the Sunday headliners, they knew they had to put on a good show, and good god did they deliver. From getting the whole crowd jumping in unision to ‘Hysteria’, to everyone screaming along to the legendary guitar riff of ‘Plug in Baby’, fireworks and even bringing out AC/DC frontman Brian Johnson for a rendition of ‘Back In Black’, it was an incredible performance. This was also my first time seeing Muse, so it had a lot of sentimental value to me too, as well as just being a damn good night.

I saw the band again this past year, at the O2 London for their Simulation Theory tour. The key difference between these two shows for me, though this isn’t surprising, was the stagecraft. The venue concert had dancers, epic lightshows, a sequence with an arcade machine, even a giant, terrifying robot which scared the bejesus out of me and my sister. Muse knew they had the potential to go hard in an arena as big as the O2, and did they ever go hard. The show was exactly that; a show. Half the appeal of it, alongside the great music, was the effort they put into the showmanship. I will say, however, nothing ever seems to really beat the festival crowd vibe. Maybe it’s the larger size of the crowd, or the warm, fuzzy feeling of summer, or just that innate buzz you fet from a festival atmosphere, but the Reading show just felt different. Bringing Brian Johnson out of retirement was definitely a factor in that!

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records editor 2020/21 !! 3rd year film and english student. can be often found arguing about costuming in the avenue cafe or crying into a beefy novel in hartley

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