Muse Show Review


Venue: Pepsi Center

Location: Denver, Colorado

Date: 09/17/13

Inebriation Level: Sober

Every once in awhile, the tables turn, and I’ll have some of my peeps ask me to go to a concert with them. They know I don’t have the Bieber Fever, yet the keep on asking.

Anyway, my friend Aaron gave me a holler because he had heard the Muse concert experience was something to be had. Not being a fan myself, but always up for a rocking good time, I decided to join in on the rocktivities (I just made that word up).

In preparation for the show, I checked out reviews, and the band had gotten nearly unanimous praise. People were saying Muse was the best show they’d ever seen, so amidst the hype, I started to get pretty stoked. I decided to forgo familiarizing myself with any of their music, mainly because I thought it would add to the experience. It was a rare moment I’d be checking out a new band live and seeing their music from a different perspective, or something rational like that.

I was planning on meeting my friend Aaron at the venue, so I ditched work early and hopped on the light rail. If you’ve read any of my previous show reviews, you know that I had to once again skip my favorite pre-concert of doing some car drinking. Well, I suppose I could have brought some booze with me, knocked on someone’s window, and asked to enjoy my booze in their car. Generally that’s frowned upon, so I took my sober self into the Pepsi Center. Immediately upon entering, I was shocked to enter a Hipster-free zone. Literally no plaid shirts, skinny jeans, beards, PBR’s, or huge glasses anywhere. This might have been my first Hipster-free concert. Well, minus ZZ Top, that was more of a biker crowd, but that’s a story for another day.

I tripped over people and into my seat amidst the brutal sounds of Cage the Elephant, a band I did know, and had also heard good things about their live show. I was in about half-way through their set, in time to catch their biggest hit, “Ain’t No Rest For The Wicked.” From my not-too-bad nosebleed seats, frontman Matthew Shultz was a spitting image of Iggy Pop. He did the seizure-like gyrating  across the stage, screaming into the mic, jumping on amps, and rolling around the stage. The show turned pretty loud and brutal, with Shultz screaming into the mic amidst wild distortion. I didn’t know Cage The Elephant could rock so heavy, so I was pleased. However, the Pop-friendly crowd was not. Pissing off the audience, just like Iggy. Awesome.

Their set wound to a close with some crowd surfing and standing on the hands of the audience, more Iggy staples. Did you know Iggy Pop invented crowd surfing? Well now you do. Knowledge.

Aaron showed up just as their set ended, then we kicked it with some brews for a solid 45 minutes while the Muse stage was being set up. This thing was looking elaborate, and the Pepsi Center was filling up surprisingly full. The lights kicked off and “The 2nd Law: Isolated System” kicked through the speakers. A pyramid of video screens dropped down, the tension grew, and then the screens lifted, revealing the three band members, who then launched into “Supremacy.”

The show went off strong, with high-energy, striking visuals, and loud tunes. I was surprised at the number of songs I recognized, but I couldn’t beat the crowd around us, who were singing along to every word of every song, very unfortunately for us.

Other than the visuals, the show impressed with the energy level. Even though I was way at the top and everyone was sitting down, it was hard to ignore the vibe. For two hours they kept coming, one after another, nonstop Arena Rock. The slower moments with frontman Matt Bellamy at the piano didn’t seem slow or quiet at all. His voice was reminiscent of Thom Yorke, echoing through the arena, and his guitar work at times was pretty shred-worthy. Muse brought the noise, the energy, and the action for the entire show.

I mean, these guys came out with all the stops. They were surrounded by video screens, had a whole camera crew filming them, the crazy video pyramid, and of course, we had to get some laser action going down. They were playing one of the biggest venues in town, so they rose to the challenge.

The show was heavy on “2nd Law,” a more dance-style album of theirs (yes, now I’m familiar with their music), which left something to be desired. I’ve never been the biggest Muse fan, but it was hard to not get into it for the huge intro, outro, and encore.

Was this the best show I’ve ever seen? No, because the live experience is more than just energy. They played their big songs, loud, proud, and with a visual experience none had ever seen. But the greatest live bands turn their songs into something more. Listen to some of the live bands from the 70’s, and compare their live songs to their studio releases. You hear longer versions of the songs, they play their instruments with more force, and they feed off the energy of the crowd. Frank Zappa hated recording guitar solos in the studio. He needed the crowd to help him create some energy. The live show is a shared experience, not just a visual show.

Having said that, when we headed out of the venue, having entered the Pepsi Center not being a fan of Muse, I left the place very impressed. They play loud Alternative Rock, but it’s Pop and Dance oriented enough to appeal to a very wide audience. They put on a strikingly brilliant show, sparing no expense, and bring 100% energy the entire time. They’ve got it pretty well figured out. British people are so damn clever.

4/5: Awesome

4 Records

Set List: 

The 2nd Law: Isolated System (Pre-Concert Intro)
Supermassive Black Hole
Hysteria (Star-Spangled Banner Intro)
Panic Station
Knights of Cydonia (Ennio Morricone Intro)
Monty Jam
Follow Me
Liquid State
Plug In Baby
Time Is Running Out
Unnatural Selection (RATM Outro)


The 2nd Law: Unsustainable

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