This past weekend, we attended our first concert of 2016: Muse!
I’ve been a fan of Muse since high school – this was the third time I’ve seen them, and their shows have only become more elaborate and gorgeously done as the years go by. This time around, the stage was set up in the middle of the arena for a 360 effect so that no matter where you were sitting, you had a decent view of the band.
The opening band was X-Ambassadors. I’ve seen them twice before (opening for Panic! at the Disco and then opening for Imagine Dragons a month later), but I haven’t really listened to them. They put on an interesting show: they have a bit of a Kings of Leon vibe and you have to respect any band that includes a saxaphone solo from their frontman in a couple of songs. You may have heard them before – their song “Renegades” is on a commercial for like a truck or a car or something (I can’t remember which one)…you’ll know it when you hear it.
Muse came on just after nine. This tour is in support of their most recent album, 2015’s Drones, so they kicked off the show with back-to-back singles: “Psycho” and “Dead Inside”.
The rest of the set was made up of classics, from “Hysteria” to my favourite Muse song, “Starlight” and the sexy “Time is Running Out” not to mention an unexpected rendition of “Citizen Erased” (before which, frontman Matt Bellamy joked that only “about ten people” in the crowd would recognize it), and, of course, “Supermassive Black Hole”, which is the song that seemed to really get the audience excited. I was also surprised that they ended with “Knights of Cydonia”, but it didn’t stop it from being epic!
Because of the stage’s set up, Bellamy and bassist Chris Wolstenholme were able to run around the circular mainstage and up along the two arms that jutted out, allowing them to face different parts of the crowd. We were lucky to be on the side where the piano was, so that anytime Bellamy sat still long enough to play, he was in front of us. Meanwhile, drummer Dominic Howard was in the centre of the stage which rotated so that he faced a different direction for just about every song. It was wonderfully constructed and the production was so seamless, it sometimes took me a moment or two to realize something had changed, whether it was the descent of the transparent banners that acted as screens on either side of the stage or the clear floating ball things that swung around during certain songs.
Not only is their music unique and bold, but their live shows are more like a theatrical event than a standard concert. I highly recommend catching a Muse show if you’re able to.