Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Muse at Staples Center, 9/25/10

While my personal life (school, moving, work, etc.) have kept me from writing anything here for a couple weeks, it hasn't stopped me from going to concerts.  Though, since this blog is really just a hobby, one that doesn't pay me anything beyond the satisfaction of knowing that literally more than ten people read it, I guess this, too, is part of my personal life, so maybe I've just been lazy?  Wait, where was I?  Ah, yes.  Muse.

I've liked Muse for a long time.  My fan level is somewhere between "Track 3 on Showbiz is clearly their best song ever, though I suppose I wouldn't hate you for going with Track 6 on Origin of Symmetry" and "You mean they had songs before that 'Time is Running Out' song?"  I've seen them a handful of times since 2004, and their live show has gotten more elaborate as their songs have become more grandiose, for better or worse.  If the Viggo Mortenesen wannabe from the DirecTV ads had a concert tour, it would be this one.  Opulence: they has it.  It was only a matter of time, as their popularity grew, before they started playing enormous arenas like Staples, but after seeing them at Coachella I knew they could handle it.

I won't bore you with minute details of the setup, but suffice it to say it was a spectacle, a non-stop barrage of video screens, lights, lasers, smoke and sparkle.  More importantly, they're ridiculously talented musicians, and frontman Matthew Bellamy seems to have a never-ending well of energy.  They opened with the one-two punch of "Uprising" and "Resistance" from last year's The Resistance, and while I don't love that whole record, I do enjoy those songs, and it made for a great start.  The set overall focused very heavily on newer material, never touching Showbiz and only choosing well-known tracks off anything before The Resistance.  This is my only complaint, really: when a band becomes so popular, they inevitably play the hits and squeeze in some deep cuts from their latest where they can.  This meant we got some new songs I quite like, such as "MK Ultra" and "Guiding Light," but it would have been nice to get a more balanced attack from some of the old records.  (Note: the next night they did exactly that, playing "Bliss" and "Ruled By Secrecy."  Not that I was there to hear it.  Oh well.)

Playing for two hours with nary a break--though Bellamy did get a reprieve when bassist Chris Wolstenholme and drummer Dominic Howard strutted their stuff alone on the awesome "Helsinki Jam"--Muse accomplished what it set out to do, taking their big moment on the road to many more big moments and blowing us away.  Even though I know the ticket prices will rise inexorably, as will the capacity of the venues they play, I'll keep going.  I wouldn't want to miss how they plan to top this.

Set List: Uprising / Resistance / New Born / Supermassive Black Hole / MK Ultra / Hysteria / Nishe / United States of Eurasia / Feeling Good / Guiding Light / Helsinki Jam / Undisclosed Desires / Starlight / Plug In Baby / Time is Running Out / Unnatural Selection

Encore: Exogenesis: Symphony, Part 1: Overture / Stockholm Syndrome / Knights of Cydonia

Photos by Timothy Norris, LA Weekly

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