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The Vine - Live Review, Photos - Muse, Brisbane, 5th December 2010

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Brisbane Entertainment Centre

Sunday 5 December 2010

 

The UK trio open with ‘Uprising’, and one thing is immediately clear: this is music made to pump fists to. Moments ago, canvas sheets had formed gradually-lit "skyscrapers", each filled with ghostly figures ascending staircases. As the projected figures domino’d down, the canvases were dropped to reveal the members of Muse stood high on platforms. The sight was gasp-inducing, but if so it couldn’t be heard above the sonic onslaught. Peacocking singer Matt Bellamy immediately pulled focus in his silver suit, matching guitar, and blue shuttered shades. The eye was thrilled by the spectacle; the skin crawled with goosebumps; the face grinned unreservedly, and a high percentage of those present cheered themselves hoarse. As far as modern concert reveals go, the opening of Muse’s 2010 tour is right up there with Metallica’s timeless walk-on to ‘The Ecstasy Of Gold’ (recently noted on TheVine as one of the live music sights you must see before you die). Except that, where Metallica’s entrance is shrouded in darkness and dignity, Muse’s is its shimmering, neon opposite.

 

After the zero-to-100 sensory suckerpunch of ‘Uprising’, there’s an uphill battle to be fought. That turn of phrase is entirely apt, as the band’s more recent material – 2003’s Absolution onward – saw a lyrical shift from the introverted self, to the us-versus-them, stadium mentality. It's blatant and overt and both self-parodying yet earnest. (Tellingly, only a handful of tunes from 2001’s Origin Of Symmetry are aired, and none from their 1999 debut Showbiz). Watching Bellamy prance around on stage, cutting shapes with his body and his instrument, his self-awareness and self-belief is striking. He and his bandmates have spent years honing their ability to write ridiculous anthems that sound best sung thousands-strong. It is bravado and pomp and absurdity all rolled into one. Like final encore ‘Knights Of Cydonia’, their stupid, genre-traversing hit that was never-gonna-not-be-a-hit. Every second of the song seems crafted to be performed in monstrous hulls like this (and bigger), yet despite the brazen ambition, it’s still an utter thrill to hear. Half the fun is watching fans lose their minds to lines like “No-one’s going to take me alive / The time has come to make things right”. Indeed. How could you argue against such statements? Your brain resists. But the moment is addictive, you want to be a part of this rebellion somehow. Nameless foe must be conquered! Cerebral lyricism this is not, but by tapping into the primal urge to oppose someone, something, anything – as in ‘Uprising’ (“They will not control us / We will be victorious”), and ‘Resistance’ (“They’ll keep us apart / They won’t stop breaking us down”) – Bellamy et al thereby manage to convert most anyone who hears their transmission into followers. If only because they, too, wish to oppose something; anything.

 

All this talk and these gestures of conflict are very entertaining, especially when the execution involves: lasers, megaphones, moving platforms, a keytar, gigantic (and glitter-filled) eyeballs dropped from the ceiling, and a double-necked guitar, which Bellamy uses to reflect light into the audience. The tower sections both above and below the band members constantly project live footage and CGI throughout the show. After a while, it all becomes a bit overwhelming. Bassist Christopher Wolstenholme looks surly throughout the evening; he smokes the occasional cigarette, and trots to centre-stage for a few moments to introduce ‘Hysteria’, whose rhythmic backbone is one of the finest basslines of this decade. Hey may be a bassist of rare talent, but his stage presence is near nil, despite the gaudy red-and-black striped suit. When Wolstenholme and drummer Dominic Howard partake in a mid-set rhythmic interlude atop a slowly-twirling, ascending platform, the absence of charisma from either player is dismaying. This is the band who took the piss out of themselves on Italian TV by swapping instruments and miming badly, yet you wouldn’t pick the playfulness after witnessing the utter lack of humour on display tonight.

 

But for Howard’s fleeting address to the crowd toward the end – to summarise: “Good to see you Brisbane. We last played here in 2007. We missed you.” – there’d be a strong case to be made for a lack of humanity with Muse. Ironically. As the general admission punters grope at the giant eyeballs released into their midst during set closer ‘Plug In Baby’, I reflect on the fact that they’ve been touring this same show – or similar – across the world since October 2009. And they could probably do with some time off. Or perhaps it’s another of Bellamy’s self-aware irony-upon-ironies; to pursue aloofness despite his status as figurehead of the so-called ‘resistance’. But it’s more than a little funny how a band whose music gives "voice to the oppressed", can remain so dissociated from the power of what they’ve created. The fists will keep pumping no matter what, but one wonders if the band's passion has been long since knocked out.

 

 

The Link:

http://www.thevine.com.au/music/live-reviews/live-review,-photos-_-muse,-brisbane-201020101206.aspx

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Didn't agree with the stuff said about Dom and Chris. I don't think that's really fair.

 

Not everyone wants to strut around like Matt. I actually think their different on stage personas are pretty refreshing.

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Didn't agree with the stuff said about Dom and Chris. I don't think that's really fair.

 

Not everyone wants to strut around like Matt. I actually think their different on stage personas are pretty refreshing.

 

same :wtf:

 

Thanks for posting! :)

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Chris looked utterly bored for the duration of the show last night, apart from Hysteria/Helsinki Jam. I think about 20 words were said the entire night between all 3 members.

 

The rest of the show was fantastic however.

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I would agree with Chris, he has almost no crowd interaction at all, although he does look badass from time to time. Dom on the otherhand, considering he is a drummer does everything he can, talks more than Matt sometimes, and claps at every opportunity and generally looks like he is enjoying it etc.

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I would agree with Chris, he has almost no crowd interaction at all, although he does look badass from time to time.

 

But I mean Chris has never spoken on stage, he just doesn't do it, it's not him. What can you do about that?

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there are nights when chris is def more subdued than others. as the man complains of jetlag being hard on him perhaps that's a factor. even though he doesn't talk to the crowd though, there are nights when he's clearly enjoying himself and full of energy. would be nice if that were every night but then the setlist hardly inspires :p

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there are nights when chris is def more subdued than others. as the man complains of jetlag being hard on him perhaps that's a factor. even though he doesn't talk to the crowd though, there are nights when he's clearly enjoying himself and full of energy. would be nice if that were every night but then the setlist hardly inspires :p

 

This!

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Who cares if he doesn't talk? His bass playing is amazing, jizz worthy etc. and anytime I've seen him at a gig, he look's happy. He just has sad looking eyes imo.

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:eek:...its well known and documented that they are not a crowd interactive band..and if you do get 20 words out of a gig then you're one of the lucky ones...but wtf does he expect Dom and Chris to do....spin through the air a la Tommy Lee with Chris strapped on for good measure....:stunned:

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I would agree with Chris, he has almost no crowd interaction at all, although he does look badass from time to time. Dom on the otherhand, considering he is a drummer does everything he can, talks more than Matt sometimes, and claps at every opportunity and generally looks like he is enjoying it etc.

 

I agree. Dom is the most into-it of the lot, consistently. I respect that.

 

Chris delivers the goods big time, is badass sometimes, but most times looks bored. Can't say if he is really bored, but sure looks it 90% of the time.

 

Thanks for posting this rather verbose, eloquent review.

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