Rock band Muse’s “Simulation Theory” World Tour gave the experience of living in a virtual program on April 12 with a fantastical combination of tech and talent.
At the United Center (1901 W. Madison St.), a larger-than-life stage was the centerpiece for a larger-than-life show. Prior to WALK THE MOON’s opening act, the floor and seating areas began packing to the brim with fans eager for the coming musical experience.
WALK THE MOON’s setlist contained nine songs, including “Shut up and Dance,” “Next in Line” and “Surrender.” Throughout each song, lead singer Nicholas Petricca would go to other band members and sing as they shredded their guitars or banged on their drums.
WALK THE MOON concluded their set with “Headphones,” and Muse took the stage after a short intermission. Lead singer Matt Bellamy, bassist Chris Wolstenholme and drummer Dominic Howard — accompanied by an entourage of tech-clad dancers — were greeted by the roaring cheers of fans.
Opening with “Algorithm (Shortened Alternate Reality Version)” — from the “Simulation Theory” album — audiences were treated to a spectacle as mock virtual reality headsets, affixed to the faces of the dancers and Bellamy, shined with moving light patterns.
The showmanship continued as the punchy beat of “Break it to Me” began. Dancers attached to wires in hazmat suit-like attire walked down the back wall with flashlights jerking back and forth to the beat of the music.
Fan favorites “Uprising,” “Starlight” and “Hysteria” were included in the 21-song setlist as well, with excited fans chanting the lyrics like an organized chorus.
Just when it seemed the show reached its peak, dancers in pilotable robot exoskeletons took to both sides of the stage. Dancers with glowing staffs danced as Muse played the full version of “Algorithm.”
As the climax of the show neared, two giant mechanical hands lifted a giant inflated cyborg monster from below the stage. As the monster loomed over Bellamy, Wolstenholme and Howard while they played, a light shined across the crowd as the mouth opened and closed.
The encore featured multiple songs — “Algorithm,” a medley combining parts of “Stockholm Syndrome,” “Assassin,” “Reapers,” “The Handler” and “New Born” and “Knights of Cydonia” — which featured a harmonica intro by Wolstenholme.
Giant balloons filled with confetti were released on the final song of the encore. As Muse played, fans sang along and jumped with outstretched arms trying to hit the balloons as they fell to the ground. Bellamy concluded the show with a thank you to the stage crew and performers.
The Muse Premium Ticket Bundle — a $229 value — gave each attendee one ticket to the first 15 rows or a general admission floor ticket, one Muse 2019 Enhanced Experience show poster, one collectible “Thought Contagion” retro lunchbox and early merchandise shopping access.
The Muse “Simulation Theory” Enhanced Experience — a $399 value — gave attendees access to the premium ticket bundle and the Muse Mixed Reality Pre-Show Party. At the pre-show party, guests could try three virtual reality games based on songs from the “Simulation Theory” album, partake in photo opportunities with props and enjoy hors d’oeuvres. Enhanced experience attendees also received early floor access.
The Muse’s Simulation Theory World Tour ended in the U.S. April 12, but the tour will continue in Europe beginning May 26 in Prague.