Ever since I’ve been old enough to go in the standing area for gigs this is where I’ve chosen to buy my tickets, and although I’d always had fun at seated gigs I think the experience of standing wins every time. However, I am not a millionaire, so when tickets for Muse’s arena tour came out I couldn’t really justify forking out £75 for a floor ticket. I settled for a seat in the O2’s upper tier, thinking it would be worth it just to see Muse, one of my favourite childhood bands.
As it turns out, I thought wrongly. This ticket wasn’t exactly cheap either – £52 in total – so I did expect my level of fun to match the steep ticket price. Every other experience I have of seated gigs had been, on the whole, fine – once the band came on people would stand up and dance, enjoying the gig almost as much as anyone on the floor. But this was different. As Muse arrived on stage and kicked off with Reapers, there was a huge lack of excitement in the crowd – hardly even a head bobbed or arm thrown in the air.
Give it time, I thought to myself. As they launched into Plug In Baby, I felt sure this would be the moment it kicked into action. Taking it upon myself to start the party, I stood up and started to dance. It was at this point I came into conflict with the lady behind me who had a differing opinion. She tapped me on the shoulder, gave me an unenthusiastic stare and pointed to get me to sit down – something which got on my nerves, especially because the main reason she wanted me to sit down was to film the show on her phone.
I then spent the rest of the night feeling completely self conscious and unable to enjoy myself as I was forced to sit motionless in my seat, wishing I’d just been that little bit less poor and able to fund myself into the standing area which, admittedly, didn’t look that vibey either (with the notable exception of one mosh pit that broke my heart to even look at). There just didn’t seem to be any atmosphere at all – I hardly felt any dissimilar to when I’d been to see their concert film or watched their festival sets.
Had things been different and I’d been able to let go and enjoy myself that a bit more I’m sure I’d of had an incredible time. Muse’s visual effects are immense, with huge projection screens producing all kinds of weird images. They even had a full on spaceship fly around the crowd, along with light up balls that hung down in different patterns. The setlist was also pretty good, including all their hits and not letting this be too overshadowed by the obligatory new album focus.
My ability to enjoy myself was proved beyond doubt during the final song – Knights of Cydonia – when people finally decided to stand up and have a good time. Had the whole two hours been like those 7 minutes this post would have been very much less of a moan. If only the crowd had realised sooner that you definitely have more fun at a gig when you’re actually involved with the music – be that singing, dancing, shouting, pushing or even just a simple hand in the air.