An insight into Muse's 'multi-sensory cinematic mindgasm'
Andrew Trendell

13:04 24th October 2013

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"This is the biggest tour we've done in terms of scale and production value," said Muse when announcing the cinematic release of their new Live At Rome Olympic Stadium concert movie. "It's definitely the show we're most proud of."

Strong words indeed from a band who have re-defined what it means to be a 'great live band' in the 21st Century. As a result, not only is it one of the most anticipated music events of 2013, but it's become one of the hottest cinema tickets as well.

We've been lucky enough to see it, in all of it's 'ultra high definition' glory. Here's our review, with 10 things you need to know about Muse Live At Rome Olympic Stadium. 

1. It's bloody beautiful
When we first heard about the 'ultra 4K high definition', it was pretty difficult to comprehend what that actually meant. We've all seen HD, but ULTRA HD? How very Muse. What it actually translates to is a pretty mind-boggling sense of reality. You can see the fine details in the bandmembers' hair (good news for all you Matt Bellamy stalker types), you can see the whites of the wide and bewildered eyes of the screaming fanatics and most importantly, even from the shots filmed from the furthest reaches of the Stadio Olimpico render Muse's batshit crazy live show in the most crystal clear and awesome light. Most live DVDs can feel you leaving a little cold with all of their flash technical camerawork or overpolished direction - but this puts the viewer centre-stage at all times. 

2. Italians love to see the Pope dance
After opening with a blistering and almighty rendition of 'Supremancy', Muse kick into the absurdly infectious 'Panic Station'. It receives one of best receptions of the show, but not because of it's ludricous blend of Prince and interplanetary funk - but because it's accompanied by visuals of a cartoon of Pope Francis dancing his tits off in space with Angela Merkel. Most audiences would be offended by such an illustration of their local deity, but only Muse can get away with it. Bless them 

3. There's an unfortunate lack of Origin of Symmetry
When Muse played OOS in full at Reading and Leeds in 2011, Matt said that it would be the last time that many of the tracks would ever be aired live. It's a massive shame. Not only is Origin Muse's most seminal and definitive album, but it features some of the finest modern rock songs of the last 20 years. The only tracks present from their second LP here are a surprisingly early appearance of 'Plug In Baby' (obviously), and a pretty pedestrian 'Feeling Good'. It doesn't subtract from the overall power of the film, but the manic melodrama of 'Newborn' or 'Citizen Erased' would have given this movie a great deal more oomph. 

4. Muse love a good pantomime
Seeing Muse live is much more than a concert - it's an all singing, all dancing piece of musical theatre. Highlights from this particular film include an enraged businessman coming on stage to throw Muse-branded bank notes at the crowd during 'Animals', a sexy secretary going mental on the phone before pouring petrol on herself for some reason during 'Feeling Good', and Matt Bellamy inexplicably walking backstage to greet a deceased elderly couple laying in coffins during 'Undisclosed Desires'. Anyone have any ideas what that's all about? Answers on a postcard please...

5. It's not a full show - but that doesn't matter
Nope, the movie being shown is not the full 27-song epic marathon that the trio performed on 6 July, but a selection of choice-cuts chosen for a more flowing cinematic experience. But fear not - it totally works. It adds up to form a well-rounded movie that clocks in at 90 minutes - offering even those with the mental illness of not particularly liking Muse the perfect multi-sensory extravaganza to convert them and leave them gagging for more. Anything more would have been too much to absorb, and sure that the full concert will probably emerge on the DVD eventually. 

6. 'Uprising' and 'Survival' are hilarious(ly brilliant)
The lead single from Resistance and their Olympic soundtrack number are known to divide opinion among fans. Some see them as a pastiche of Muse's stadium rock persona turned full circle into self-parody. On record, it feels a little cringe-inducing - but that's because they were DESIGNED to be played live. All of the fire, the fury and fist-pumping comes into full form here - and that's only heightened by the big screen. Seeing a sea of Musers lose their minds to the sight of Matt Bellamy backed by visuals depicting an army of his clones stomping towards war is enough to make any cinema rise up onto their feet. Rock and roll needs to be overblown, and Muse take a slegdehammer to any notion of subtlety with aplomb, and no shame whatsoever. Good for them. 

7. Matt Bellamy can speak Italian really well
Yeah, who knew? 

8. Muse LOVE what they do
Seeing your favourite bands reach stadium status at a time when years of sharing a cramped tour bus and seeing each other hungover every day can be one of the most disheartening experiences that a music fan have. However, if this one thing that this movie shows, it's the sheer joy that Muse find in just being Muse. As they romp across the vast stage, slap high fives on the screaming masses and gaze out in elation after the closing shrieks of 'Starlight', the final scenes show the passion and childish glee of three artists still totally in love with the idea of being a high definition. 

9. This is the coolest stage, ever
And in Ultra HD, it's even more of a spectacle. In person it makes for the setting for the greatest show on Earth, but in movie theatres it acts as not only the set of a true blockbuster, but an actor in itself. As flames fly from chimney and dancers dangle from flying lightbulbs, the stage itself is much if not more a part of the spectacle than the band themselves. But when you think about it, this is better than a blockbuster. Steven Spielberg and Hollywood hotshots spend thousands on CGI special effects, but this is REAL. 

10. Verdict: You NEED to see this movie
This isn't just for those frigteningly dedicated Muse devotees out there - this is a true audio-visual spectacular that beats most action movies in terms of pomp and grandeur. Matt Bellamy promised fans that the film would 'offer fans an entirely new Muse concert experience' - and how. Through their meticulous attention to detail, every frame is a work of art and every movement feels real. The genius craftsmanship in the camerawork and the unnerving human-touch of the high definition may even leave you thinking that this is even better than the real thing. While Most gig movies are a limp attempt at documenting what went down on the night, Muse Live At Rome Olympic Stadium gives you the best seat in the house. 

Below: 10 official stills taken from Muse Live At Rome Olympic Stadium

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Photo: Hans-Peter van Velthoven