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Live Review: Muse, Birds Of Tokyo

19 December 2013 | 11:15 am | Monique Cowper

This time around Sydney witnessed one of the most exciting rock shows on the planet from a band that only improves with age.

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It may not have been the full-blown European Muse production, with acrobats floating inside giant inflatable light bulbs, but when you get a band entombed by a giant pyramid of screens descending from the roof, lyrics being flashed across a pair of sunglasses and lasers shooting out of a microphone, you really can't complain.

Birds Of Tokyo opened the night to reveal that while they are more indie pop than stadium rock, they can still hold their own. They were consistent as always, Ian Kenny impeccable as usual, sporting fluorescent laces and bringing out his best quirky dance moves for highlights such as Silouhettic, Brokens Bones and Plans. The most played Australian song of the year, Lanterns, was performed to a crowd where every punter held up their mobile phone torches in what was a stirring finish.

Muse may be known more these days for their live production than performance but the Englishmen exceeded all expectations. The show began with a giant pyramid of LED screens descending from the roof before ascending again to reveal the band. They opened with Supremacy and moved swiftly through Supermassive Black Hole and Panic Station. A clear baby grand piano burst out of the stage, complete with flashing lights inside to match that on the bass of Chris Wolstenholme for Butterflies And Hurricanes, while cannons of smoke exploded across the front of the stage.

One of the biggest moments came when Wolstenholme picked up the harmonica to play the opening notes of Knights Of Cydonia, which was part rock opera and part fist-pumping call to arms. Other highlights included Dominic Howard's revolving drum kit in Liquid State and Matt Bellamy walking into the crowd to steal someone's tinsel-covered Christmas tree hat.

For diehard Muse fans it didn't get better than Time Is Running Out back-to-back with Plug In Baby. After being once again consumed by the pyramid, Muse returned for their encore to play Starlight and their London Olympic anthem, Survival. It is phenomenal to think that only six years ago this band played at the Hordern Pavilion with limited crowd interaction and showmanship. This time around Sydney witnessed one of the most exciting rock shows on the planet from a band that only improves with age.

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