Matt Bellamy and Muse hit the high notes in their electrify return to live performance. Image: Peter Lewis/Twitter
Muse completed a triumphant return to live performance with an electrifying show to support The Big Issue in London on Tuesday night.
Held at Hammersmith’s Eventim Apollo, the gig was opened by fellow rock icons Razorlight as part of The Big Issue’s 30 anniversary celebrations, with all revenue going to fund the social enterprise’s mission to support some of the UK’s most marginalised people help themselves out of poverty.
It was the second of two gigs by Muse at the venue, with the first, on May 9, in support of charities Medécins Sans Frontières and War Child.
Fans queued around the block on Tuesday night for their first chance to see their favourite band in three years, with some camping out for 24 hours to secure their place at the front of the queue.
“It’s such a good turnout,” said John, who’s more used to selling copies outside a supermarket in Muswell Hill in north London. “I take my hat off to Muse for doing this. It’s a win-win situation, the fans get to see them up close and they’re raising money for The Big Issue.”
One fan, guitarist Ryan Clark, said he was a “massive” fan of Muse and of The Big Issue as well.
“I’m a big supporter of The Big Issue,” he said. “It’s a great cause the way it helps homelessness. It’s inspirational. Go out and buy it. If you see it, just buy it.”
“Tonight made me so happy,” he said after the show. “It felt like a community.”
Muse did not disappoint through a 90-minute set packed with riffs to the rafters, of hits old and new and the virtuosic musicianship and superhuman stamina that has made the trio one of the biggest bands in the world.
The blistering set opened with new single I Won’t Stand Down before cutting straight into Hysteria from 2003’s album Absolution. Plug In Baby, Knights of Cydonia and Newborn all featuring among newer hits such as Compliance from upcoming album Will Of The People, due out in August.
The crowd were as much players in the experience as the band, dancing in the circle and bouncing in the stalls as Bellamy led a 5,000-strong singalong for smash hit Black Holes And Revelations. Special mention also needs to go to the sign language interpreter who gave every bit as much energy and emotion to her performance as the band on stage.
Razorlight, who helped organise the evening, made sure they left the crowd with no hit unplayed, including tracks from their early albums including Up All Night, Vice and Golden Touch and winding back the years for singalong finale America.
In the latest edition of The Big Issue magazine, Bellamy explained his longstanding relationship, having bought the magazine in London in the regularly in the ’90s.
“The homelessness issue in Los Angeles is pretty severe. Every time I was heading into the studio I’d be walking past people sleeping rough. Definitely, that had a bit of influence on the album. And so, when we came to talk about the causes we’d like to get involved with, we thought of you guys.
“With our first comeback show in a long time being in London, The Big Issue seemed like a natural collaboration.”
Borrell also told Big Issue that it was a “no brainer” to get involved with the show, having experienced struggled with homelessness and addiction as a teenager.
“When you get to know a lot of people through using heroin, you get to hear the stories people had and the shit they’ve been through,” he told the magazine before the show, “and everyone who’s a junkie as a teenager has been through some shit as a kid, otherwise they’d be playing football in the park with their mates. But The Big Issue made that real to everyone, and any organisation that’s doing work like that will have my support.
“Homelessness is a particularly weird thing for people, because it’s like there’s this sort of collective blind spot to it. But it’s just there every day.”
You can still buy a copy of the special limited edition of The Big Issue with Muse on the cover here.
If you can't visit your local vendor on a regular basis, then the next best way to support them is with a subscription to the Big Issue. As a social enterprise, we invest every penny we make back into the organisation. That means that with every subscription, we are supporting people in poverty to get back on their own two feet.