Muse blew the roof off of the Gwinnett Arena last night. The band is well known for their larger than life music. No matter how good your stereo system is, it cannot sufficiently prepare you for the true grandeur of their music.
It’s a colossal sound that is meant for the arena. Muse front man Matthew Bellamy is considered one of the best guitarists of all time and his reputation is well deserved. Bellamy wailed on his guitar showing his mastery of the instrument. He designs his own guitars and last night he had one loaded with electronics such as a MIDI pad where he modified and filtered sounds. A lot of that sonic effect and space rock sound comes from this arrangement of technology. But it isn’t just music built on technology; Bellamy’s virtuosity extends beyond the machinery.
The stage was fitted with three large rectangular platforms and three of the same rectangular fixtures suspended from the rafters all wrapped in LED video screens. Images of silhouetted figures walking up and down stairs filled the screens as the first song of the set began. A mid section of the platform fell away to reveal the band members. They launched into the epic “Uprising” from their latest album The Resistance. Bellamy projected his big voice; his vibrato sailed over the large arena. By the third song the platforms descended giving Bellamy and bassist Christopher Wolstenholme full run of the stage.
Their setup allowed for 360 degree views and they didn’t forgot to perform for the fans on the opposite side of the stage. The drumming platform spun around to reveal drummer Dominic Howard to the crowd. On “Supermassive Black Hole” Bellamy unleashed his beautiful falsetto voice hitting the high peaks with grace and precision. He made use of the MIDI pad with sounds like a DJ scratching on the turntables. He also created some massive feedback effects by getting up close with his Dickinson amplifier. On “Hysteria” Wolstenholme dropped heavy bass lines matched by lead-footed drum bass beats.
For “United States Of Eurasia” they rolled out a grand piano. The platforms rose again with the Bolero—esque melody playing as the LED screens showed images of war. They proceeded with “Feeling Good” with Bellamy still on the piano — towards the end he sang “it’s a new dawn / it’s a new day” into a megaphone. Drummer and bassist together careened into a cacophonous session as they spun around on the elevated platforms. Bellamy broke out the keytar for “Undisclosed Designers”. Then one of the most anticipated songs of the night “Starlight” electrified the crowd. Giant eyeball balloons were unleashed on the crowd during “Plug In Baby”.
The rendition of “Unnatural Selection” was super energetic and raucous. Bellamy tore it up on the guitar with screeching chords. The encore started with hauntingly somber instrumentals on a goose bump inducing “Exogenesis: Symphony, Part 1: Overture” with a slow build up to Bellamy’s operatic falsetto vocals. Here the sheer vastness of their sound was all encompassing. See the video below. The angelic vocals and somber mood gave way to “Stockholm Syndrome”. The last song “Knights of Cydonia” began with Wolstenholme playing the harmonica on this slow build up, then the crescendo leaving the crowd awe struck and elated. This was arena rock at its very best.
Map of the Problematique
Supermassive Black Hole
United States Of Eurasia
Plug In Baby
Time is Running Out
Exogenesis: Symphony, Part 1: Overture
Knights of Cydonia
Silversun Pickups put on a solid opening performance serving as a good prelude to the epic show we witnessed from Muse. They are often compared to The Smashing Pumpkins mostly because lead singer Brian Aubert’s voice is a dead ringer for Billy Corgan. But that doesn’t mean these guys are derivative. They have made a name for themselves with their edgy and distortion filled alt-rock music. Drummer Chris Guanlao killed it on drums. He pounded energetically with force and precision.