Before the release of Will of the People (their ninth studio album), Muse announced a five-date “Will of the People Theatre Tour” in North America; 10/04 – Los Angeles, CA @ The Wiltern, 10/09 – Sacramento, CA @ Aftershock Festival, 10/11 – Chicago, IL @ The Riviera Theater, 10/14 – Toronto, ON @ The History, 10/16 – New York, NY @ The Beacon Theater. The lion’s share of these Theatre Tour shows tickets went out via presale to Muse message board legacy fans and those with a standing Muse Members account before the tour announcement.
With their new album finally released, Muse’s “Will of the People Tour” now extends into summer 2023, with most of the dates selling out quickly.
One can only assume the other four underplay theatre performances were as incredible as Toronto. History holds 2,500 people, and Muse has quickly sold out a venue like Scotiabank Arena (14,000 seats) two nights in a row on previous Toronto tours. The lineup to get into History started early on the day of the show, with many fans driving in for hours, eager to see the band perform in a club. The buzz on this was genuine; people in line were giddy with excitement over this show. For context, the last time Muse performed at a venue like History was their 2006 date at Sound Academy. There were no tickets on reseller sites for the days leading up to this event, which is unheard of for most concerts. Any available tickets a few weeks back were pushing $500 a stub.
Matt Bellamy, Dominic Howard, and Chris Wolstenholme took the History stage at 9:00 pm to a hail of cheers and applause from the audience. They performed this evening on a truncated stage set up that surrounded them on both sides and behind them with floor-to-ceiling lighting. Dominic was atop a three-foot steel riser at centre stage behind the band, a piano for Matt to his right and space for Morgan Nicholls (additional guitars, keyboards, synthesizers, backing vocals, samples, bass) on his left. They utilized nothing extra as far as show production.
Launching into the title track, “Will of the People,” Muse laid it all on the table for Toronto in three and a half minutes. Bellamy sneered and smiled throughout the song, showcasing what everyone in the venue knew; he’s one of the world’s finest living guitarists. He was on his knees centre stage, shredding out the songs solo, melting people’s minds as he danced his way up and down the neck of his guitar. Wolstenholme’s dynamo bass prowess on the track is second to none; his pummelling percussion delivered on a customized bass with embedded glowing lights up the fretboard was dizzying. The lights on his axe enhanced the effect of his adept finger-picking to the crowd’s delight. Behind them, Dominic Howard bashed his way through the track, providing the ever-sturdy backbone that Muse builds upon song after song. People had tears of joy in their eyes, and the band was only a single song into their set.
This evening’s show weighed heavily on Will of the People material, and thank God for that! Will of the People is like Muse’s greatest hits package, but it’s comprised of all original material. The album cleverly lifts elements of everything that has established the band’s shifting styles over their prior eight studio efforts. With every new album any band releases, fandom is constantly lamenting that the new material doesn’t sound as good as their previous efforts. Will of the People delivers elements touching on all of their laurels, and it’s a thing of beauty for this reason alone. They blew the roof off History with minimal stage production, and Muse is a band known for their fantastic stage production when they tour. Based on this evening’s show, Muse’s full stadium tour next year will indeed be incredible to behold.
This evening felt like a band road-testing and rehearsing their new material in front of a live crowd. Muse played six of the ten new songs on Will of the People tonight; one of them being “We Are Fucking Fucked,” a bonafide anthem for the here-and-now on planet Earth. Throughout the evening, Muse teased bits and pieces of songs by Rage Against the Machine, Nirvana, Slipknot, and Jimi Hendrix. They returned to Origin of Symmetry with “New Born,” giving their long-time fans a tasty nugget for their ear-holes to dine on. The best part of the evening was watching the look on people’s faces exiting the venue; the apparent looks of shell shock, bliss, and disbelief summed up what can only be described as a magical evening.
Muse’s Toronto Setlist:
Will of the People
Psycho (w/ Rage Against the Machine’s ‘Township Rebellion’ outro)
Won’t Stand Down (w/ ‘Kill or Be Killed’ snippet intro)
We Are Fucking Fucked (w/ Nirvana’s ‘All Apologies’ tease)
Map of the Problematique (w/ Slipknot’s ‘Duality’ outro)
New Born (w/ Rage Against the Machine’s ‘Calm Like a Bomb’ outro)
You Make Me Feel Like It’s Halloween (w/ Bach’s ‘Toccata and Fugue in D minor’ intro)
Supermassive Black Hole (w/ Jimi Hendrix’s ‘Foxy Lady’ outro)
Kill or Be Killed
Knights of Cydonia (w/ Ennio Morricone’s ‘Man With a Harmonica’ intro)