Muse live in The Hague: a ferocious and compulsive rock show for the masses

Malieveld, June 7: 67,000 transfixed Dutch fans sign up to Muse's sci-fi rock revolution during the latest stop of the three-piece's 'Will Of The People' world tour

The revolution, finally, has a figurehead. As Muse don their geometric metal masks like a battalion of rebel guards from Squid Game, the wall of lights at the back of the stage draws back and the 50-foot face of an overseer emerges amid the flames, his huge mask becoming transparent so we can see the skeletal images, kaleidoscopic fractals and shapeshifting T-1000 videos of Matt Bellamy’s face lurking beneath. Its message: the Will Of The People must be obeyed. What do they want? Gristly melodic space rock, Trumpian satire, anti-authoritarian rhetoric and a massive metal glove that makers noises! Where do they want it? In an apocalyptic desert futurescape, thanks!

Following the ‘80s retrovision of 2018’s ‘Simulation Theory’, Muse’s latest album ‘Will Of The People’ both brilliantly consolidated their 25-year journey and saw their long-standing concerns – global catastrophe, technological horrors of war and thought control, rising authoritarianism, the encroaching death of democracy – collide head-on with the now. The world had, somewhat terrifyingly, caught up with Muse, making them more musically and thematically relevant than ever. In some territories, they’re bigger than ever. “We’ve never seen anything like this,” Bellamy says, peering out across 67,000 people crammed into The Hague’s Malieveld park, and The Hague – in return – has never seen a rock show this ferocious and compulsive.

muse live
Muse live in Den Haag, June 2023 (Picture: Hans-Peter van Velthoven / Press)

With the band often careening along a gigantic ego ramp to play in the thick of the crowd, a chunk of gritty future glam opens proceedings. ‘Will Of The People’ – a terrifying vision of right-wing revolt eviscerating the Capitol coup crew – sets the insurgent tone, ‘Psycho’ gets introduced by an evil android sergeant major and ‘Hysteria’ zooms by so supersonically that Tom Cruise might well be at the controls. Then an intense and euphoric ‘Bliss’ – dedicated to “anyone out there who’s 22, that’s how old it is” – pulls the set into a melodic cruising altitude far above their future rock contemporaries, where ‘Resistance’ can lace glory rock with ABBA-esque synth lines and ‘Compliance’ can explore themes of cult-like online manipulation and cancel culture in the realm of gleaming disco pop.


If ‘Verona’ leans slightly too far into spacey Coldplay atmospherics, there are antidotes aplenty. ‘We Are Fucking Fucked’ is an absolutely brutal catalogue of ongoing disasters ranging from wildfires to world wars; Muse rocking defiantly into oblivion. The spook rock ‘You Make Me Feel Like It’s Halloween’, introduced with Bach’s vampiresque ‘Toccata And Fugue In D Minor’, sees the huge mask fill with the faces of cinematic serial killers from Chucky to Pennywise and Ghostface. ‘Kill Or Be Killed’ has already found its place among the Muse greats, a monstrous slab of Who-rock that sees a giant demon goat rise in the overseer’s place.

Muse live in Den Haag, June 2023 (Picture: Hans-Peter van Velthoven / Press)

Ah, the greats. If Muse’s current aesthetic of sci-fi revolution feels viscerally contemporary, then that’s because it’s built on one of the greatest stadium rock canons of the century. ‘Madness’: the throb rock Queen hit that never was. ‘Supermassive Black Hole’: still sounding like the future of rock music 20 years on. ‘Time Is Running Out’, ‘Plug In Baby’, ‘Starlight’ and the eternal set-closer ‘Knights Of Cydonia’: songs for which most major gig arenas should really take out structural damage insurance. Now this, as support act Royal Blood might say, is rock music.

Muse played:

‘Will of the People’
‘Won’t Stand Down’
‘Thought Contagion’
‘Time Is Running Out’
‘The 2nd Law: Isolated System’
‘Undisclosed Desires’
‘You Make Me Feel Like It’s Halloween’
‘We Are Fucking Fucked’
‘The Dark Side’
‘Supermassive Black Hole’
‘Plug In Baby’
‘Behold, the Glove’

‘Kill or Be Killed’
‘Knights of Cydonia’


More Stories:

Sponsored Stories: