I remember running across “Sunburn” in 2000 and loving it, thinking to myself “This is like Radiohead…but intelligible and good!” Thus began a year long love affair with the band based off a few tracks I found on Napster (or Kazaa…not sure if Napster had folded by then). I may have gotten a track or two off of “Origin of Symmetry” but to be honest I never bothered to follow up with the band after that point.
Flash forward to “Black Holes and Revelations.” I finally caught up with the band and fell in love with that album….about one month after they had come here in support. Tis my luck with bands sometimes, and in the next few years I would have to deal with constantly kicking myself for not having kept up with the band and seen them live. Youtube provided me with a glimpse of the amazing live shows that I had been missing, and the fervent need to experience the insanity that was a Muse live show grew.
Flash forward once again to 2012. I found out Muse was coming again. To be perfectly honest though, I found myself in a completely un-Muse-loving mood as the ticket sale date came close. I’ve been pretty apathetic about concerts the last few years, particularly bigger shows like this. I knew I would really kick myself for missing this one though, so I did something I had never done before: I bought tickets to a show (expensive tickets, noneless) that I had very little active interest in going to. I just knew I would regret it incredibly if I missed it.
Even this week, leading up to the show I was not that excited for it. The last two Muse albums…meh. Some good stuff, particularly on The Resistance, but overall poor efforts compared to Black Holes and other previous offerings. As such, I never really got into the albums that much and am not as familiar with the songs. I was much more excited for the Coheed and Cambria concert in two weeks, and The Postal Service concert in July.
Cue last night…the show. I got there around 6 and got in line and waited for Carlos. The show had “paperless tickets” for the GA floor, supposedly to cut down on scalping. The procedure was this: show up, get in line, doors open, ticket takers scan credit card, print out a sticker, redeem sticker for a wristband. Took a quick last minute pee break, and headed to the floor. We were able to get pretty close to the stage on the left side. Opening act was Dead Sara. The band performed very well and were great musicians, but it was just such horrendous music! Very boring and just…no. I think the appropriate term to describe them is “no.” The guitar player had a really sweet semi hollow LP Custom though, and the bassist was using an Epiphone Jack Cassidy bass.
Overall I’d give the show 8/10. The stage setup and lighting design was phenomenal. Incredible. Amazing. THE BEST I have seen from anyone, even topping the NIN show I saw at the Miami Arena in the early 2000s. Performance wise, the band hit it’s high point at about halfway through the set…the first half was very strongly focused on the newer music, and it didn’t seem like they were as into it as the older stuff (or the better new music). For me, when you have so many samples and electronic bs going on that you can’t tell where the guitar/bass end and the digital begins, I start questioning the validity of what the band is playing and if they are actually playing it.
Second half was amazing though, they got more into the music and so did the audience. The inverted pyramid of screens that was above the band started moving around and doing tricks. The first encore came when the inverted pyramid came down on the band in an actual pyramid form and made them disappear. Fantastic. There were lazers galore throughout the show, and even a few smoke pillar blasts near the end. To be honest, I almost wish I had moved back at some points as I feel I didn’t get the full effect of the lighting show from so up close.
With the exception of the full on dubstep bass beats, the sound was at a pretty respectable volume. I didn’t need my earplugs at all (after the opening act, that is…heh) and the sound mix was pretty clear. Drums were my favorite part, clear and thumpy the whole time. In fact, the drummer was my favorite band member to focus on. Even with the triggers and electronic drums you could still hear him beating away at the kit. The lone semblance of analog beauty in a sea of digital insanity.
So in conclusion…fantastic show. Amazing second half. I wish they would have played some older stuff and more songs from Black Rainbow but getting upset at that is a losing battle, there’s no way for the band to make everyone happy. Lights and lazers were amazing and synced with the show seamlessly. Stage setup and production was impeccable. I am most definitely VERY happy with myself for getting these tickets even though I didn’t feel like it at the time!