Muse unveil new ‘Drones’ show at Download headline set

Band play 'scaled back' set at first UK gig since LP's release

Muse previewed their new ‘Drones’ live show yesterday (June 13) as they headlined the Saturday night of Download festival at Donington Park, Derbyshire.

Their 90-minute set, which bassist Chris Wolstenhome previously said would be “scaled back” due to timing issues, skewed towards the band’s heavier material, in keeping with the festival’s metal focus. It was Muse’s Download debut.

SEE MORE: Muse: The NME A-Z Guide To Brilliantly Bonkers New Album ‘Drones’

All three members walked onstage dressed head to toe in black, as the record’s ‘[Drill Sergeant]’ skit played over the speakers. They opened with ‘Drones’ single ‘Psycho’, the intro to which saw Matt Bellamy slip over while rocking out on the catwalk. He recovered and continued the song with little disruption.

Second track ‘The Handler’, played live for the first time, climaxed with a series of pyrotechnic blasts in front of the stage, before Bellamy sat at the piano to perform ‘New Born’. He went on to play ‘Hysteria’, ‘Micro Cuts’ and a rare airing of non-album single ‘Dead Star’. Looking out at the crowd after ‘Citizen Erased’, he said, “Fuck, there’s loads of you out there!”

‘Drones’ opener ‘Dead Inside’ received a warm welcome from the crowd; the screens depicted fighter plane graphics intercut with images of a bronze woman’s topless body. Some big black balloons bounced into the audience before ‘Stockholm Syndrome’ closed the main set.

The encore began with ‘Drones’ skit ‘[JFK]’, in which an image of US whistleblower Ed Snowden was flashed onscreen. Midway into ‘Uprising’, Bellamy made a comment insinuating that innocent citizens’ faces are routinely scanned by overzealous police.

Before ‘Plug In Baby’, Bellamy initiated a call and response using only sound effects emitted from his guitar. Bassist Chris Wolstenhome played a harmonica intro to ‘Knights of Cydonia’ based on Ennio Morricone’s ‘Man with a Harmonica’, before throwing it into the crowd. A firework display behind the stage accompanied the song’s finale.

Muse played:

‘[Drill Sergeant]’
‘Psycho’
‘The Handler’
‘New Born’
‘Hysteria’
‘Micro Cuts’
‘Dead Star’
‘Agitated’
‘Citizen Erased’
‘Dead Inside’
‘Supermassive Black Hole’
‘Mercy’
‘Time is Running Out’
‘Reapers’
‘Stockholm Syndrome’
‘[JFK]’
‘Uprising’
‘Plug in Baby’
‘Knights of Cydonia’