I haven't checked this forum or posted anything since before the ST Tour began. Even though I had tickets, I was not THAT stoked to see the show because I'm not really a fan of the new album and I felt let down by their performance on the Drones Tour. I figured that I would go into the show fresh and hope to be pleasantly surprised. Beyond a couple Twitter pics of the robot suit, the metal medley and talk of on-stage performers, I really didn't know a thing about the show before attending their gig in Detroit last week. To be honest, I was anticipating a bit of a disaster of excess and overkill. That said, it was kind of exciting going to a concert without knowing the set-list or seeing the visuals in advance for a change.
At the end of the day, "pleasantly surprised" was a massive understatement! I thought that the concert was really great, in fact. The set-list was naturally quite predictable anyway but I was hyped when I heard the opening to Take A Bow. Was not expecting that at all after not personally hearing it even once over the past 3 tours. I was also totally caught off guard by the massive on-stage visitor during the metal medley which was actually really cool in itself. I mean, my Drones concert completely ignored Origin of Symmetry while this concert had Plug In Baby, and portions of Micro Cuts and New Born. That alone made it a better set-list, not to mention the fact that Undisclosed Desires and Resistance were finally put to bed. Mercy lives on but whatever.
I can't say that the show changed my opinion much of the new album but it still was not what I had expected. My favorite song on ST has always been The Dark Side which I thought was pretty lacklustre live. On the other hand, I'm don't care for Propaganda nor Dig Down at all but I thought that they both came off nicely. The choice to perform the intimate gospel version of DD at the center stage was definitely the way to go. Algorithm was easily the best ST song for me with respect to the performance and impact of the visuals. Pressure was peppy enough, Break It To Me still does not do much for me and Thought Contagion was, well, Thought Contagion. I don't know that the choreographed performers added much to the show beyond the Algorithm routine but they didn't really detract either or look as corny as they could have.
All the expected Muse standards sounded really good, in my opinion, and the pacing of the show was SO much better than the Drones concert that I attended. The crowd seemed more engaged and lively as well considering that the arena was only 2/3 full. The upper bowl was completely blacked out with curtains. As far as I'm concerned, it only meant that several thousand people missed their chance to catch a really awesome concert. Even though Muse didn't quite convince me that Simulation Theory is anything approaching a good album, they did restore my faith in them as a live act. Colour me impressed.