Do yourself a favor. Click the video embedded above. Listen to it while you read this article. But I warn you. It’s so good, you’ll probably just want to watch and not read. Which is ok. That’s the point of this article, to make you a fan of Muse. Also, you should make sure your schedule is clear for the next hour and a half. Cause the video, embedded above, is their entire show from the iTunes festival. Just be aware, that no matter how awesome the embedded video above is, it doesn’t compare to actually being at a live show. Which I was just at last week. And it was incredible. But, we’re getting ahead of ourselves…
October 10 2009 was the first time I ever saw Muse live. It was at a giant football stadium here in Tampa. They were well on there way to being one of my favorite bands. Honestly, they probably were already on top. But, that night, they played second fiddle. See, they were a supporting act for the biggest band in the world, u2. And while u2 is not in my top 5 bands of all time, they are probably in my top 10. And if you know anything about them, you know that their live shows are the stuff of legend. How those old farts bring the heat, night in and night out, I will never know. But they crush it. Bono’s vocals are perfect, The Edge plays with the passion of someone who’s playing his favorite song, and Adam Clayton and Larry Mullen, Jr. form the backbone for this truly special band. The other thing that’s amazing, is how much Bono cares. He pours his heart out on to the stage, right there in front of the audience, and all 60,000 of us slurped it up that night in Tampa. As I mentioned, Muse opened for them, and played great. In fact, they played so well, if you had your eyes closed, you may think that they performed better than u2. But, I paid a lot of money for my ticket, so my eyes were open. Again, Muse was great, but they couldn’t compare with what u2 was doing production wise. See, this was the 360 tour. This was the most massive stage ever built… By humans. u2 absolutely crushed that night, and after Muse played their 9 songs as a support group, I think they must have been backstage watching. And they must have been taking notes.
February 27 2010 was the second time I saw Muse live. My friends and I drove to Atlanta, Georgia, because that’s the closest they were coming to Florida. We got a hotel for a few nights, and prepared for what was sure to be an epic night. I have fond memories of this trip. We found a really cool dive bar to hang out at, and the bartender took an immediate shine to us and served us very well. I’ll never forget, the morning we drove home, we drove past the bar, and there was our favorite barkeep, outside taking the trash out. We rolled our windows down and screamed hello to him, as he happily waved back, sorry to see us go I’m sure. Also, this was the weekend I began to get really close with my now fiancee, The Tiff. We had hung out one time before my friends and I left for the show, and on this trip I spent hours texting her from the backseat of the car. Laid some really good ground work, I did. But obviously, the best thing about that trip was Muse. They had grown so mush as a band! Or, more realistically, I was just now experiencing what they were actually like live. This was The Resistance Tour. You know, the one with the cool towers? And the show was just as impressive as the music. Which is saying a lot, because the three members of Muse are experts at their instruments and crafts. This show was basically perfect. The setlist was chock-full of basically every song I wanted to hear. And the coups-de-gras? Seeing Knights of Cydonia live with the Harmonica intro. A friend and I had just shot a short film, and we were using that music for a scene in it as an homage to “Once Upon a Time In The West” (No joke. As I’m typing this, it shows up in the video that I have playing on my tv. Ha ha, life is funny) I was very happy to see this, because I was pretty sure I would never see it again live. That’s what they closed the set with, and I could not have been happier. I left a fulfilled person.
February 25 2013 was the third time I saw Muse live. Almost three years to the date since the last time we “hung out” that night in Georgia. A lot has changed. I’m engaged to The Tiff now. Actually, that’s almost all that has changed. I said almost, because I can think of one more thing. Muse, as a live act, has gotten even more stupefyingly awesome. See, I was nervous about this show. I don’t particularly love the new album, “The 2nd Law“. It’s ok, but it’s not great. It doesn’t rock hard enough. I’m fine with bands experimenting and broadening their sounds. In fact, I love “The Resistance“, which is the first Muse record to really try some strange, new things. But the 2nd Law just hasn’t connected with me yet. All that being said, after seeing this tour, I had nothing to be worried about. IF, and that’s a very big if, Muse is not as good as it once was in the studio, they are certainly even better live. And, they have taken a cue from u2. The staging was incredible. There was a giant led video pyramid hanging upside down in space over the stage. And towards the end of the set, it began to morph, flipped right-side up and floated down to rest on top of the band. I saw this same trick at the u2 show in Tampa, only with a flying saucer. What followed next was one of the most fun songs I’ve seen live. The band played “Uprising” with lead singer and guitarist Matt Bellamy and bassist Chris Wolstenholme standing on either end of the stage. The drummer, Dominic Howard, played the drums from inside the pyramid. On the video wall was a hilarious montage of ninjas attacking the drummer while he played, simultaneously fending off the baddies. It was awesome. Then halfway through, the pyramid rose and the band played the last song of their set with urgency and tons of energy. I’ll never understand how rock stars can “get up” in that way night after night. But God bless them. The best part about this show was, I now have an appreciation for about half of the new album. It was much better live than I anticipated, and I’ve found myself wanting to hear a few of the tunes pretty frequently these last few days. As an added bonus, the band once again played Knights of Cydonia with the harmonica intro. I did not expect that. And the boys closed their encore with a rendition of “Survival” that has to be seen to be believed. Bottom lime, if Muse comes near you, go see them. They truly are the best show in town.