If you had told me last summer that only six months after Muse’s mindblowing gig at the Shepherd’s Bush Empire in London I would see them at another intimate venue for another ‘by request’ gig, I would have had a hard time believing you. The announcement of this gig at La Cigale in Paris came completely unexpected and didn’t put me in much hope for the presale. But as ridiculous as it may be, we were lucky again and managed to get tickets. Last minute flights were booked (not cheap, no… things you gotta do for your favourite bands…) and one week later, I found myself in a queue in the middle of Paris. (Although Charles de Gaulle airport did its best to prevent me from getting into the city – no trains running to and from the airport this weekend, and no information whatsoever to be found about the closure and alternative ways of transport… Had to ask my way from one non-English speaking info person to the next until I finally ended up in a shuttle bus. Rather disappointing for a huge airport like CDG if you ask me…)
However, it could only get better from there, and it did! Had a chilled day in the queue surrounded by nice French people, and there was even some sunshine to enjoy, so it wasn’t that cold. In the end, we even made it to the barrier! All ready for MUSE!
I didn’t have any wishes or expectations for the setlist this time. I felt like the SBE gig had been more than one could ever ask for, so this time I was just happy to see Muse again, especially in a small venue.
And of course it was worth it once again. Setlist wise, they didn’t go as nuts as in London, but still a fantastic selection of songs, with Space Dementia and Eternally Missed as rarest songs amongst lots and lots of fan favourites. Also, the very new song Thought Contagion made its live debut as opener of the night, and proved that it’s perfectly suited for an audience in singalong mood. However, the first time the mainly French audience really exploded was on the classic New Born. Everybody jumping up and down made the ground shake – literally, since the Cigale, an old theater, doesn’t have a solid floor; it is rather a platform of adjustable height according to the needs of the event. So you could actually watch the barrier move up and down on the beat, which was impressive! 😆
Watching all the people in the crowd sing along to every word with their arms in the air as if their life depended on it, it became once again clear that Muse are so much more than just a band. These three guys and their music means the world to many people, so it’s no surprise we all get a bit emotional when we see them so close, playing some of their best songs. Who cares that the sound wasn’t all perfect… Especially in the first half of the concert, bass and drums were a bit too dominant and the guitars a bit too weak. Later, the guitar sound improved but the vocals got lost a bit, especially as they were drowned out by the singing audience. I can’t tell you how well Matt hit that high falsetto at the end of Showbiz… I can assure you though that the guy behind me absolutely nailed it! 😁 But those were minor flaws in an overall great performance!
Another remarkable thing about this night was, besides the songs that were played, a song that was not played… it was my first (out of 35 now) Muse gig without Knights of Cydonia. And it was not even the band’s fault… there were two ways how fans could vote for the setlist of this gig. Ticket holders got the chance to vote their top 5 songs out of a given selection of songs; Muse played almost all of the top 10. Then there were three polls for the people who were watching the online stream, so at three points in the gig, Dom was handed an envelope and had the honour to proclaim which song should be played next. Fury was chosen over Futurism in the category ‘japanese bonus track’, Citizen Erased won over Butterflies & Hurricanes as ‘prog song’, and finally Stockholm Syndrome was appointed set closer instead of Knights. The fact that I wasn’t even sad about this, even though Knights is the one song that Muse have played over and over again but I never ever got tired of so far, is another piece of proof that this was an amazing concert even by Muse standards.
I also have to say that it was nice to see (and hear) Matt spend a lot of time at his piano. He has used it less and less over the last years, but to me, the piano moments are still an essential part of a Muse concert.
Anything else? Oh yes… Matt still believes that American Muse fans have never heard Origin of Symmetry (and therefore wouldn’t know Space Dementia…). Maybe someone should tell him that the internet is a thing in America too… 😉