High In Milan

Ok, So I was greedy last year… Not as greedy as I wanted to be but greedy still the same. We had seen Muse in Birmingham at the start of their Drones tour and we were booked to see them in Prague at the start of June but somehow that just wasn’t enough. Scanning the set dates was depressing, lots of the dates were just not achievable or would have involved me flying a netball team size party out, which, given the budgetary constraints of last year was not really achievable. It was then that I noticed one particular date which looked a little lonely, the Mediolanum Forum in Assago, Milan on May 14th. Deal…..Done.

Now I must admit to having been to Milan once , I remember an awkward journey talking at a 100mph to a driver who didn’t really want to converse with me; understandable I suppose as I was ‘the ex’ of his now wife. I remember my eldest daughter being half asleep when I arrived and a tomato that tasted just AMAZING for supper. I remember a hilarious overheard conversation in the middle of an alpine wood on the subject of mushrooms which I could not possibly repeat but had me holding my sides. I also remember an airport! This time I would try harder…

As always we seemed to leave very late on the Friday night, flying from Gatwick early the next day as I recall. I also seem to recall fair flying down the motorway from the south west in order to not arrive at some stupid god forsaken hour, an act I would later regret. I spent the next three weeks worrying as to whether I would get another speeding ticket to go with the one from Dorsets finest that was, at that very moment, sat on my doormat burning a naughty boy course size hole in my wallet. This would go nicely with the three points I had already accumulated on New Years Eve. What Im trying to arrive at is that I don’t really remember flying that much although it was L’s (child no 4, in date descending order) first time. Neither do I really remember landing or the airport. I do however remember having a Marco Polo moment (for which I’m famed) trying to find the hotel but in fact taking us to the Lord only knows where. A very helpful lady on the bus took pity and guided us to a much less circuitous route. Our train ticket however was also not entirely valid and so another kind gentleman of the Italian Rail service, who could see the obvious language barrier eating into his day, decided to just wave us through. No doubt he was tutting at this ‘stupid Englishman’ as he did so. I had purposely arranged a Hotel within walking distance of the venue and it was fabulous, even better when we looked out of the window we could see the venue and the entrance through which all of the lorries and the talent would arrive. Once our gig tickets had arrived downstairs… I felt a lot more relaxed.

You must excuse my fuzziness at this point, the heat and for some reason the tiredness overtook me and so Im not entirely sure what happened next! I remember having lunch at the little plex connected to the venue itself which was lovely (proper food!) and I remember the heat of the Italian day warming these tired old bones.

I also remember the sirens a little later…

They were audible from quite a distance it seemed and they just got louder and louder, I think we were at the time hanging out of our window and just chatting about the venue and the evening ahead. It was then that the sirens forced their way into the conversation and we realised that they were heading for us, or at least the venue. It was then that I had my second, and far less lethal experience, with Matt Bellamy in a Mercedes Benz. We realised that the show had arrived and with that the 3 black S Class Mercedes shown below arrived at the back gate. They were immediately ushered in the gate, up a ramp and deep into the bowels of the building.  Some 10-15 minutes later the sound check started.

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I think I felt the stardust floating in through the windows at that point…. This was an unusual gig for us, for once we were up high in the cheap seats and I wondered how it would compare to being at floor level as we were for Birmingham. The answer was more interesting than I had presumed… It was obviously not as immersive but being high meant a very different experience for the visuals, I think that a lot of the time they visuals set is designed to be seen from afar and not from up close. If you’re close up you want to see the band rocking out, but with the distance, the show is the thing.On the night I took very few pictures, most of them were poor but here is a sample of how immense it actually looks from up there in the gods, I would never have experienced this from the floor. A different perspective all round and I’m glad that we did it.

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What we enjoyed that night was a stunning visually intense set with no compromise on the sound, sure its always louder, heavier, sweatier and more intense down there but like I said  its just a different perspective. For those of you interested in the setlist here it is, a great album crossing set list with Citizen Erased thrown in to please the real hardcore musers:-

 

I think that the highlight of the evening for me though would have to be the back to back playing of 2nd Law: Isolated System barreling straight into The Handler with no visible join as far as the visuals go at all. Isolated System is for me an epic song, played live the song runs through so many emotions and the footage from the video where they run through the woods is what I always imagine in my minds eye when I hear it. A seamless link into the Handler was perfect for being High in Milan as the visuals were out of this world and that ‘trippy’ middle  section is just euphoric in essence. So here it is, our way up high view (not my footage though).

What always amazes me is how the immersion is no less appealing wherever you are in the building, a different lower perspective of the same two songs (on a different night though).

And for no reason at all other than it is off the scale awesome with THOSE STRINGS {sigh} and the usage of that memorable ‘woodland running’ footage from the Isolated System, Unsustainable…

What did I remember of Milan this though?  Very little, Not even the airport this time…

But I was high…. remember?!

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