There’s not a lot that can match the intensity of a Muse show. Last night was no exception. From the opening symphonic crashes of “Supremacy” to the final pull out all the stops finale of “Survival”, there was not one weak moment in the nearly two hour show.
Before I get started, I have to give it up for the opening band Dead Sara. From the opening notes of “Sorry For It All” by lead vocalist Emily Armstrong, the band went from “who’s the opening band again?” to commanding our full undivided attention. These guys have power and fury behind their playing, and even though I was only familiar with one song before the show, I had goosebumps at times from some of the notes that were being hit. The last song “Weatherman” was intense, and when Emily climbed the stack of speakers to jump, I was afraid she was going to fall, but she launched up in the air towards the end in one extremely emotional moment. After the show I picked up their CD and got to meet the band who were all very cool to their fans who waited around. Oh yes. I will be back to see them again.
After about a half hour wait in which we watched stage workers frantically assembling and moving equipment, and two lighting guys rode ropes up to the ceiling, the lights went dark and the adrenaline was pumping. The setlist (below) was centered mainly on The 2nd Law and their better known songs from The Resistance, Black Holes and Revelations and Absolution. After a goosebumps-inducing “Supremacy” where Matt Bellamy hit the operatic chorus notes flawlessly, and an energetic soaring through “Map of The Promblematique”, the ceiling came to life and turned into a moving upside down staircase steps style mass of projection screens on which all kinds of images danced and lit up the rest of the show. One of the highlights where this came into play was “Panic Station” which involved dancing purple monsters as the band visibly were having a blast rocking out on that song. And then Matt broke into his own rendition of “The Star Spangled Banner, before bassist Chris Wolstenholme took center stage to perform “Liquid State”, one of the two songs on The 2nd Law on which he sings lead.
I have to say the amount of different gear the band has is impressive also. Chris had at least two or three bass guitars with flashy LED frets on them. During “Madness” drummer Dominic Howard had a small set of electronic drums that lit as he hit each one, and even the piano Matt played during “Explorers” had effects. But enough about the flash. A flashy show isn’t much without chops to back it. Whether it was a big emotional singalong like “Time Is Running Out”, the heavy electro crashes of “Unsustainable”, or the moment everyone goes wild in the break section of “Knights of Cydonia”, the show was charged with excitement. There was an interesting bit before where the stage visually became a roulette wheel and a ball was about to fall on either “Stockholm Syndrome” or “New Born” which has some fans yelling for their favorite before the ball landed on “Stockholm Syndrome”.
The end of the show was also quite a spectacle. After “Stockholm”, the screens lowered down to form a pyramid, obscuring the stage. While the band took a breather, the stage projected the film for “Isloated System”, before the band came back out for a fueled up version of “Uprising”. The band left the stage, then came back for an unforgettable encore, starting with a powerful performance of “Starlight” that involved the crowd singing along, and then my personal favorite of the night, “Survival”. Instead of having a choir, there were cartoon mouths and male choir singer cartoons (that almost resembled Mr. Pringle), and the solos and vocals were fiery and face-melting. And then cold steam blasts into the crowd from the steam jets, and with that we had all been shown how you move a crowd.
Map of the Problematique
Supermassive Black Hole
Knights of Cydonia
Man with a Harmonica intro
United States of Eurasia
The 2nd Law: Unsustainable
Time Is Running Out
The 2nd Law: Isolated System
Dead Sara‘s Setlist:
Sorry for It All
Test on My Patience
Face to Face
Blue Was the Feeling for You
Here’s some footage someone on YouTube shot of the finale:
Hey Rob – I’m an old geezer in his 60′ s that’s been rockin’ since I used to sneak and listen to my big brother’s Chuck Berry records. My wife and I flew to Chicago to see Dead Sara play at United Center the night before the show you attended. We live in L.A. but just got it into our heads to make the trip. We love the music of Dead Sara and have watched them develop over several years. We also know them personally (we are not relatives) and besides their playing the sound we love so much – you should know that they are really great people. I’m glad you liked their sound.