Concert review by Jimmy Alvarez
In 1972 Led Zeppelin embarked on an ambitious North American Tour that in the end catapulted them into the pantheon of Rock God Legends. In 2013, history may be repeating itself. Eager to get into performance mode, the firm of Bellamy, Wolstenholme and Howard had a lot of hype to live up to. Coming off what seems like one successful campaign after another, the English trio are now victims of their own success. They now have the realization that they are “that band” that is the measurement for “making it.”
MUSE kicked off their 2013 North American Tour at Valley View Casino Center in San Diego, California. Albeit a smaller venue for a band of this caliber, their fans were eager to hear the songs they have come to love off their latest album, THE 2ND LAW.
Band of Skulls opened the show. They did ok, they did their job and entertained the crow. However, for most fans, it was apparent that the wait and anticipation for MUSE to take the stage seemed like an eternity. Finally, after a brief break to set up the stage, the lights dimmed and the roar of the crowd was almost deafening. Coming out to wonderous screams Mathew and Chris were sportin’ some very cool black leather jackets, there was even a Morgan Nicholls sighting on Keys, he too had the Johnny Cash Black going on. Meanwhile, Dominic was sportin’ a way cool Kill Bill-esque jumpsuit.
The lights dimmed, and they didn’t pull any punches, it was an in your face assault on your musical senses. Their opening was eye popping and jaw dropping. They came out with Unsastainable and Supremacy. Bellamy then went into his very dynamic version of the Star Spangled Banner. His performance was impressive, so much so I am sure it would have gotten a nod of approval from Jimi Hendrix and Bellamy’s true Guitar Hero-Hero… Tom Morello. They segwayed into a highly amped and enthusiatic rendition of Hysteria.
MUSE had a good balance of older and new songs from THE 2ND LAW. They played combo tunes like Panic Station followed by Super Massive Black Hole. The upbeat and fresh sound of Knights of Cydonia and Time Is Running Out also had the crowd screaming at the top of their lungs; especially when Bellamy merged into the crowd or when he slid across the stage on his knees.
MUSE took the show to an even higher level when they belted out their current alternative hit Madness. It was at that time the light and video program was taking full affect. The visual program was so in sync with the music, it was like the show was in 4D. The graphics and the delivery were absolutely mesmerizing. It was clear by the looks on the faces of the concertgoers that they didn’t know which was cooler to watch, the band… or the light and video program. The last time I saw MUSE was at the L.A. Rising show at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. They played along side Rise Against and Rage Against The Machine. Honestly, I didn’t think that stage show could ever be outdone, MUSE proved me wrong.
The crowd got to witness a spectacle of video art I haven’t seen since Depeche Mode was killing it in their hay day. Dave Gahan and Martin Gore couldn’t have programmed a better visual program. The concertgoers got to hear ever more of the songs they have grown to love. Songs like Undisclosed Desires, Plug In Baby and Stockholm Syndrome, which had a very cool outro of Rage Against the Machine’s, Freedom!
The show ended by the monolithic video program coming down on the stage and engulfing the band. The cheers of the crowd was deafening. MUSE came out to two encores, which featured Uprising, Starlight and Survival.
In the end, the boys from Devon, England lived up to the hype. There were only a few downsides to the show. I understand this was their first show and the venues will only get bigger. Truth be told, MUSE is simply too loud and grandiose a band for that small a venue.
Now, before we crown MUSE as the new Rock Gods of the music world, they are relatively young, and their on-stage performance will only get better. So to that extent, again, they’re victims to criticism due to their own success. Other than these two small considerations, the show proved to be epic, and a sign that a shifting of the Pantheon of Rock Gods may be in the works. Although, I ‘m fairly certain that Jimmy Page, Robert Plant and John Paul Jones would have approved of their performance.
Paying no disrespect to the Foo Fighters, for now, let’s just say MUSE has a solid place as the new END-ALL, BE-ALL and Bee’s Knees of the alternative music scene. As Sting laid it out in Love Is The Seventh Wave, these Englishmen are the Kings of ALL they survey.
MUSE is currently engaged in their North American Tour supporting their latest release THE 2ND LAW. For more information on the band, the tour and all that is MUSE, go to www.muse.mu. Catch them while you can on this tour, you might just be seeing history in the making, these cats are that good!