Muse and the Art of the Concert

I’ve been to a number of concerts put on by some of my favorite bands. Fall Out Boy, Panic! At the Disco, and PVRIS all performed amazingly. But last week, on April 10th, I saw Muse in concert for the first time, and it was unlike any concert I had ever been to in my entire life.

Let’s just start out with how skilled these three guys are. Matt Bellamy, Dominic Howard, and Chris Wolstenholme have to be some of the most talented musicians out there right now. Matt’s vocals are pretty much identical to how he sounds in studio recordings—that is to say, they’re incredible, and he often even plays guitar simultaneously while he sings his iconic melancholic rock jams. Then with Chris on bass and Dom on drums, this is an act that’s tough to top.

 

 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Aside from a powerful stage presence that commands the attention of audiences by themselves, the band also brought on backup dancers to this tour. And not just dancers made it better, but also vivid graphics on the giant screens behind the stage added a touch of narrative to the show. Muse is known for their highly conceptual albums with conspiratorial themes, so to add dancers and moments where it’s almost as if there’s a short film playing in the background of a performance made the experience unforgettable. They told a story that questions the reality it exists within.

 

 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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When Matt’s not playing guitar and simultaneously singing on stage, there are a few things he could be doing. Wearing glasses which flash the words to whatever song he’s singing along with a pixelated electric jacket, pulling the plug on an arcade game which held all the data for a simulation of life (the basis for their album “Simulation Theory”), or fighting off a giant skeleton robot dude with a guitar like it’s a sword are all equally possible. All of that actually happened.


It’s not just the performance itself which made this concert so great. You could tell that the band was truly having fun while playing. Matt turned the microphone over to a camera on more than one occasion, so his image was up on the huge screen behind the stage in real time as if he were holding the microphone out to the crowd. Our turn now.

We sometimes sang entire verses of their most loved songs; Knights of Cydonia being perhaps the most memorable since this is one the band always closes out the show with. Thousands of people all screaming at the top of their lungs: “No one’s gonna take me alive / Time has come to make things right / You and I must fight for our rights / You and I must fight to survive!”  It’s unifying and powerful. Total strangers all chanting our favorite lyrics we know by heart. The energy is unlike anything you’d find anywhere else.

Muse has always been one of my favorite bands, but this concert was truly life-changing. There’s never been a series of concerts this extravagant and ambitious before. If you ever have a chance to see Muse live, do yourself a favor and go.

 

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