Tuesday, October 26, 2010


I saw Muse a little over a year ago at Giants Stadium, opening for U2. It's not easy to open for U2, especially in a stadium.  I've seen Kings Of Leon, No Doubt, and two of my favorite artists ever, Primus and PJ Harvey, open for U2. No one owned the stage as much as Muse did.  I said that I had to see them headline on their own.

This weekend, I got my chance to do that.  I walked out of the show saying "If I were in high school or college today, they would be my favorite band. They'd be my band." The way Rush, Iron Maiden, Metallica, Public Enemy, Faith No More, Soundgarden or Jane's Addiction were my band when I was that age. There are very, very few bands out there today that I would say that about: The White Stripes, The Black Keys, The Gaslight Anthem, System Of A Down, maybe Arcade Fire.

Muse has often been compared to Radiohead, and I "get" that. They are just as artistic (and singer Matt Bellamy sounds like Thom Yorke) but more muscular, and their ambition is like U2's: they want to be the biggest band in the world, and this concert makes a good case for that. They don't seem to sweat being in a huge rock group, they're more worried about the state of the world, and their stage gives them a great platform to voice that (especially in songs like "United States of Eurasia"). Speaking of their stage, it was super modern a la U2's 360 stage (albeit on a slightly smaller scale). The show started with each of the three members atop a column - and each side of the column was a video screen.  There was a lot to look at, and like the 360 stage, Muse's stage was a work of art in itself. It didn't overpower the band at all though. They thundered through every song I wanted to hear "Uprising," "Resistance," "Supermassive Black Hole") and showed a sense of humor when their power went out three songs in (taking bows and leaving the stage, only to return minutes later and pick up at the exact spot in "New Born" - so as not to deprive fans of Matt's face-melting guitar solo).

I've heard that Muse wants to do a lower-key thing for their next tour and that's fine - they can go back and forth, just like U2 has done over the years.  I don't mean to keep comparing them to U2 - they are their own band.  But it is hard to imagine many other groups today playing arenas and stadiums in 20 years, but with Muse it's easy to picture.

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