The first thing that I must get out of the way is that my expectations prior to this concert were impossibly high, and here’s why: having already seen them perform at the Bell Center the last time around on what easily was the most outrageous stage set-up I had ever seen, I couldn’t help but wonder how they could possibly top that. Add to that the months of hype in the media revolving around this tour, where the band revealed it would pay some sort of tribute to Pink Floyd’s The Wall Tour and that aliens and pyramids were to fall from the sky and it definitely goes without saying that my expectations became out of reach. Having said that, the band should be commended for the type of act they’ve become over the years, especially after last night’s show. Oh and pyramids and dancing aliens falling from sky were delivered as promised (just not literally).
The opening act of the night had Dead Sara dish out an unexpected performance that ultimately won the crowd over, which is something I always love to see and be a part of. The lead singer Emily Armstrong delivered a solid performance with an in-your-face type of personality and displayed impressive vocals. The only thought I had through some of their more intense verses is that she sings like she’s definitely been through some shit.
The wait for Muse in between acts was quickly forgotten when the first keyboard notes of The 2nd Law: Isolated System were heard. Before ever showing their faces, the trio had the crowd going when the overhead contraption began to descend and form a pyramid invoking an extraterrestrial spacecraft landing what with the lights all around it and those aimed at its base. Upon landing, this pyramid reveals itself to be covered in LED screens which give way to visuals from the music video for the song. By the time the intro ends, the crowd roars and the pyramid ascends to reveal the band as they tackle Supremacy (one of my personal favorites, which I always felt belonged in the opening credits of a James Bond movie). At that point, it was clear that we were in for an electrifying show, which involved a shape-shifting pyramid and, I reiterate, dancing aliens.
To avoid giving a play-by-play, the other highlights for me were the much-anticipated performance of Madness, showcasing Matthew Bellamy’s vocal prowess and guitar finesse, not to mention what I like to call bassist Christopher Wolstenholme’s iPad-guitar, providing the electric backdrop to the song. I was also surprised to see them perform Liquid State, and pleasantly so, where Wolstenholme takes on the role of lead singer with a metal attitude.
For those who might have been tough on the British trio for wandering into dubstep territory, I actually choose to include their performance of The 2nd Law: Unsustainable in my list of highlights. Not only did I never expect to see dubstep performed on your typical rock band instruments, but I believe they “dropped the beat” better than a DJ would at a dubstep concert. This song was a perfect example of why experimenting with all genres has been an asset for their live act, and seeing it performed in conjunction with the visual set-up definitely justified its place in the show. The moment “the drop” hits in their performance of Follow Me was equally if not more intense and satisfying. Saving Survival for last was a very wise choice and an awesome way to end the show.
For someone with general admission tickets like myself, as Bellamy and Wolstenholme would sometimes stand on opposite sides of the stage, the band gave off a sense of dissociation within the members of the group. Also, some of the visuals for their older hits like Knights of Cydonia were accompanied by re-used visuals from their previous North American tour, which is not something you’d expect to see. As for the sound, the venue might be to blame on this one (it definitely wouldn’t be the first time…), but Bellamy’s singing would tend to get lost in the loud instrumentation of certain songs. On another note, not that it’s necessarily a bad thing, but Bellamy’s vest reminded me strangely of Beetle Juice.
Although my ridiculous expectations weren’t surpassed, Muse still delivered a hell of a concert. They drew mostly out of their latest albums (The 2nd Law and Resistance), but when they did, they made sure to give it their all, which helped bring their recent concepts to life. If there’s one thing I am more sure of now, it’s that this band should never quit exploring and reinventing its musical repertoire, because it provides them with ammunition to offer shows on an intergalactic level.