It's a complete sell-out and a tangible buzz anticipation has descended on the couple of thousand or so who have gathered here tonight at Doncaster's vacuous Dome venue to see Muse. Ironically, the last time I was here was to see Radiohead on their OK Computer tour - a band more than occasionally name checked with Exeter's extraordinary three piece.

The mix of crowd is almost as suprising as Muse's recent meteoric rise to fame and stardom. There's nu-metallers, punkers and a more than healthy contingent of thirtysomethings and upward in attendance. The band's ascent has been nothing short of spectacular. A couple of years ago Doncaster's tiny Leopard club would have been a more likely scene for a Muse gig. Now, only two albums down the line, Muse are somewhat of a phenomenon. Their current tour of some of the UK's larger venues is a complete sell-out. That the band should attract such a diverse following is perhaps routed in the musical influences they take in. There's a definite rock side to the band with Matt Bellamy's impressive axe guitar work drawing in the metallers. Mix this with the band's Gothic persuasions and a more than sideways nod to prog rock and you've got a heady mix. Meanwhile angst has always been a currency popular with the nations disaffected teenagers and Muse have angst in bucket loads.

The first thing that strikes you when Muse take the stage is the pintsize proportions of main-man Bellamy. This explains the raised perch at the front, which he occupies for a large part of tonight's show, preening his guitar like a Lydonesque cockatoo. Put simply he is Muse tonight. As he moves effortlessly between his guitar histrionics and organ pounding, excelling at both, he must rank as one of the most gifted musicians of the moment. Then there is that voice. Where it comes from God only knows but throughout tonight's performance it soars and pierces through the band's sonic barrage, perfectly defining Muse's operatic sound.

Predictably we get almost all of the extremely successful second album 'Origin of Symmetry' and the best of their debut, 'Showbiz'. 'Plug in Baby' with its wailing guitar scales sounds even more powerful than on record with Bellamy, like on all tonight's songs, delivering a note perfect vocal. It gets a reaction from the crowd only surpassed by that for subsequent single 'New Born' with its gentle introduction and crashing opening. Equally predictably we get both songs from the double 'A' sided single the band are currently promoting. Their excellent cover of 'Feeling Good' provides one of the nights least demanding tunes and Bellamy once again shows that he's equally at home behind piano or guitar. But the respite is merely temporary. 'Sunburn' from the bands debut album turns the heat up to boiling point again as the angst stakes are raised.

Sadly the band omit their cover of The Smith's 'Please Let Me Get What I Want' which resides on the current single as an extra track and which they have been airing live at some of their dates. The band's comparison with the Smiths is an interesting parallel to draw upon as Muse, like the Smiths, are a complete one-off. Currently going very much against the grain, it makes them equally as hard to pigeonhole. Tonight's concert is a complete celebration of music bordering on the hysteria, something akin to what was witnessed at Smiths gigs back in the 80's. After a set in excess of an hour they are gone, the audience is emotionally exhausted and the house lights are up. Muse don't do encores.

The bands next move will be an interesting one. Tonight there is no new material on show and next on the bands roster will be that difficult third album. Let's hope that Muse don't go the same way as fellow Goth rock icons Placebo have gone. With the genius of Matt Bellamy at the controls somehow you can't imagine this happening.

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Commenting On: Doncaster Dome, 10th November 2001 - Muse

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