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Muse serve ‘2nd Law’ with smoke and laser in Phoenix


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Muse serve ‘2nd Law’ with smoke and laser in Phoenix

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by Barbara VanDenburgh

 

It’s been well over a decade since British rock trio Muse introduced the world to their bombastic brand of progressive space rock with debut album “Showbiz.” It’s been a long road, five albums and a Grammy win for best rock album since then. The years have seen Muse set aside their lush symphonic overtures to dip a toe into dubstep, transitioning from the impending apocalypse and sci-fi-opera soundscapes to fist-raising anthems to overthrow a regime to.

 

And if those last two politically tinged albums didn’t work for you, well, that’s probably because you listened to them on your iPod. “The Resistance” and “The 2nd Law,” it turns out, go down a lot smoother with beer and lasers.

 

The arena appeal of “The 2nd Law” was apparent from the start when Muse exploded onto Phoenix’s US Airways Center stage on Saturday, March 16, in a hail of spotlights and lasers with album-starter “Supremacy,” lead singer and guitarist Matthew Bellamy a whirlwind of squealing solos and falsetto in skinny jeans and a patterned jacket.

 

When the band dug into super sexy electro-jam “Supermassive Black Hole,” an enormous inverted pyramid of video screens descended over the trio, expanding the sonic spectacle into a visual one as well. It segued nicely into a rousing “Resistance,” a fight-the-man track that gave way to Bellamy shredding a Hendrix-esque version of “The Star Spangled Banner.”

 

It was a good warm-up for an absolutely killer “Knights of Cydonia.” This was Muse at their rocking best. It’s always a little awe-inspiring, how three diminutive British blokes can manage to command a stage so big and fill so large a room with that much noise. Whatever one thinks of that noise, they’re all top-rate musicians with stamina and technical virtuosity to burn, and on no song is that more apparent than “Cydonia.”

 

As great as it was, it drew a harsh line in the sand between 2006’s “Black Holes and Revelations” and the albums that followed. Next came “Explorers” and “Follow Me,” the two most overwrought songs from “The 2nd Law,” with lyrics that sound most likely to have been lifted from an eighth grader’s diary. “Free me from this world/I don’t belong here/It was a mistake imprisoning my soul,” Bellamy wailed in a singing voice so affected and exaggerated, he sounded like Danny Elfman singing as Jack Skellington in “The Nightmare Before Christmas.” Hard to take an environmentalist message to heart when it’s coming from the Pumpkin King.

 

And when they followed up with “Liquid State” with Christopher Wolstenholme at the mike, the pit all but took a nap. His voice is fine in a ’90s Top 40 alt-rock sort of way. But he’s no Bellamy.

 

They found their groove again with “Madness,” Bellamy reclaiming the mic in a pair of sunglasses, his face looming large on the inverted pyramid of screens, lasers shooting out over the crowd to a stripped-down beat until Bellamy’s guitar ripped the song, and its emotions, wide open. It was a good primer for a face-melting “Time Is Running Out.”

 

They closed their regular set with an audience sing-along on “Uprising,” and reclaimed the stage for an encore with another sing-along on a stunning “Starlight.” The audience favorite would have been the perfect note to end on, but Muse have long given up grace for bombast, and instead capped a night of excess with “Survival.”

 

“Yes, I’m gonna win,” Bellamy trilled, on his knees before the crowd, enveloped in the fog of spotlights and exploding steam jets.

 

When in doubt, add more lasers

 

Set list:

 

1. “Supremacy”

 

2. “Map of the Problematique”

 

3. “Supermassive Black Hole”

 

4. “Resistance”

 

5. “Star Spangled Banner”

 

6. “Panic Station”

 

7. “Knights of Cydonia”

 

8. “Monty Jam”

 

9. “Explorers”

 

10. “Follow Me”

 

11. “United States of Eurasia”

 

12. “Liquid State”

 

13. “Madness”

 

14. “Time Is Running Out”

 

15. “Undisclosed Desires”

 

16. “New Born”

 

17. “The 2nd Law: Unsustainable”

 

18. “Uprising”

 

Encore:

 

19. “Starlight”

 

20. “Survival”

 

:noey:

 

This quote though

a whirlwind of squealing solos and falsetto in skinny jeans and a patterned jacket
:LOL:
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I actually don't mind Starlight in the encore. It being followed by Survival is a bit weird (Starlight > Survival). I think Starlight works well right before TiRO (or after).

 

No man, it sucks there. Crowd pleasing sing-along songs fit after the piano section. I'd totally wipe it off the set, but if I have to I'd go Madness > Starlight > TiRO > Liquid State > Stockholm

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No man, it sucks there. Crowd pleasing sing-along songs fit after the piano section. I'd totally wipe it off the set, but if I have to I'd go Madness > Starlight > TiRO > Liquid State > Stockholm

 

Why do singalongs go after the piano section? They work fine in the encore. Plenty of bands have their biggest singalongs in encores. I'd wipe Survival off the set. Niall was right. Damn that guy is smart. He's like a wizard that can predict the future.

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Why do singalongs go after the piano section? They work fine in the encore. Plenty of bands have their biggest singalongs in encores. I'd wipe Survival off the set. Niall was right. Damn that guy is smart. He's like a wizard that can predict the future.

 

You better be joking

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I bet 10 € that you'll change your mind after your gig.

 

Your money is no good here Fabri.

 

Ya but it would be unfair because if I get to experience all the songs (that I will never experience live) from my previous perfect setlist than I probably would change my mind back.

 

Survival would have tough competition to break into my perfect setlist. It's an elite company of Muse songs.

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Your money is no good here Fabri.

 

Ya but it would be unfair because if I get to experience all the songs (that I will never experience live) from my previous perfect setlist than I probably would change my mind back.

 

Survival would have tough competition to break into my perfect setlist. It's an elite company of Muse songs.

 

But it deserves it. So good. Probably the highlight of my gigs, with Sunburn and Bliss. Best live song Muse have written since Take a Bow.

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