Muse and Phantogram Bring Theatrics to KeyArena


The fact that Muse announced and started their tour in such short notice made the show date come up even faster than expected which was a nice surprise. As I walked towards the Key Arena for the show, I noticed all the semi-trucks parked outside on the side roads, something I hadn’t seen before.

I’m not talking about a couple either, there were at least 12 of them on the streets I walked through making me wonder just how big this show was going to be. I’ve seen Muse a few times but this was going to be the first seeing them at their own show outside of a festival. They still hold a very special place in my heart because “Starlight” came out while I lived in Greece, before they really broke through in the States.

The fact that Matt Bellamy, Chris Wolstenholme, and Dominic Howard created the band in 1994 and have stuck together all these years is not something to take lightly. They have developed into a mega rock band that has taken over the whole world.  Matt Bellamy is a great songwriter and undoubtedly one of the best guitar players of our time.

The bonus of the tour announcement was that Phantogram was joining them and I was glad I would finally see them live. When I reached the designated photo area and looked down on the floor, I realized why all those semis couldn’t fit inside the arena. The setup stretched throughout the whole GA floor with the main circular stage in the middle for a 360 degree feel. The middle stage was connected via walkways to two box shaped platform ends. It seemed that there was just as much action going on above the stage that looked like a mini stage hanging above.


I wasn’t sure how to feel about the 360 setup because I always feel there is something you’re missing out as the artists move back and forth to face the different angles of the arena.  When Phantogram started Sarah Barthel was on the opposite side while Josh Carter faced ours.  They moved around while they could but I still felt that I missed so much because there was no common stage and one direction to face.

They sounded really good and their chemistry was flowing well, as openers you only get a taste of what they really have to offer.  My favorites included “Nothing But Trouble,” “Mouthful of Diamonds,” “Fall in Love,” “Black Out Days,” “Don’t Move,” and “When I’m Small.” I’m going to make sure to catch these guys next time they’re in town for their own show, as I would like to see them play longer.

A little after nine, it was time for the main event and I couldn’t wait to see what would happen at the show.  As the lights went out the drones that were sitting on top of the stage structure slowly came down and flew through the crowd as “Drones” played in the background.  Each band member elevated from below the stage as the drones lit up their entrance.

The show began with “Psycho” and while Howard had to stay in place due to his drum set, Bellamy and Wolstenholme, moved around the stage and the walkways to interact with the audience and the whole 360 experience.  The more the night went on the more amazed I was with their production.  I don’t think I’ve seen such a show, the only thing that comes close to it, is U2.

During “Hysteria” giant curtains came down the walkways and became projection screens that created an even more intriguing experience.  After that Bellamy told us that he was going to play a song from their second album and that he wasn’t sure if they’ve played it before in Seattle.  They went on to “Citizen Erased” a track that truly brought so much joy to many fans with the extended guitar solo and the beautiful ending with the piano that came up from one of the side box mini stages. What was cool about the piano is that with every note he played a light illuminated the inside, making it look magical.


After “The 2nd Law: Isolated System” and the drones flying around the arena again, Matt and Chris stood in the middle of the walkways.  The curtains were down once again and this time they projected robotic hands that were using the musicians as marionettes as they played.  It was such a simple concept but it turned out to be my favorite visual of the night.

They went into “Supermassive Black Hole” that shook the whole place up and had everyone standing to play their air guitar part.  I wasn’t expecting it but “Starlight” came right after around the middle of their set.  I still get as emotional as I did the first time I heard him utter the words “Hold you here in my arms, I just wanted to hold”, as he makes me believe it every time again.

During “Undisclosed Desires” another one of my favorites, the screen curtains projected images of the artists that made them seem like they were holograms.  The figures shown were mixed in with silhouettes that were surrounded with fire.  After “Revolt” they played another old song, “Time is Running Out,”  before going into “Uprising.”

Then curtains came down and covered the middle stage so the visuals seems to be a giant screen stretching across the arena.  As “The Globalist” started and pictures of a futuristic world were displayed the 10 minute song seemed like a journey for the audience that started in the middle and ended with Bellamy on the piano confessing his sorrow of the world.

After the reprise of “Drones”, they played “Mercy” and ended the show with “Knights of Cydonia,” leaving us all in disbelief of what happened.  They have found a way to create a mega production without seeming distant but actually making the audience want more and more.  Not only do you get to see a rock show that is visually stimulating the entire time, you get to hear amazing music from true talent.

Drones Tour

Posted by S.Barkalakis on Monday, 14 December 2015

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Sophia Barkalakis

Music is probably the most important part of her life. Sophia is constantly searching for new material, old and new. Always looking forward to the next live show she can attend, ready to immerse herself in the sound. "There is something so magical about attending a live show that you cannot possibly feel from a recording itself that makes it worth going to", she says. She also says she's lucky to be able to combine her passion for music with her obsession of capturing moments. She finds that being able to look at a photograph and be transported to that second of your life is indescribable and she's so grateful for all those great moments.

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