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Muse in Calgary!

March 31, 2010

Last night, I was fortunate enough to fulfill a goal many years in the making: seeing Muse live in concert. The verdict is in, and it was awesome.

Although not quite as close as I would have liked, our spot just above the rail of the first balcony gave an ideal vantage point to observe every detail of the band’s performance, including the lights, the moving set, the lit up towers, the lasers… believe me, it was a show (Disclaimer: I did not bring a camera, and apologize for the sub-par picture quality from my phone).

During the show, I was that guy who kept pulling out his phone in frequent intervals in order to record the set list. Voila!

Muse Set List (March 30, 2010 @ Pengrowth Saddledome)

New Born
Supermassive Black Hole
Jam Break (Interlude)
MK Ultra
Jam Break
United States Of Eurasia / Collateral Damage
Feeling Good
Jam Break (Drum & Bass)
Undisclosed Desires
Unnatural Selection
Time is Running Out
Plug in Baby

Exogenesis: Symphony Part 1
Stockholm Syndrome
Jam Break
Knights of Cydonia (With harmonica intro)

The set as a whole gets two thumbs up and half a thumbs down from me. I am obsessed with Muse and they could have played virtually anything to appease me, so I will try to be as objective as possible here.

For starters, I think they did a good job at covering a lot of material, obviously focusing on their most recent release Resistance, but making sure to play an even spread of songs from Black Holes and Revelations, Absolution, and Origin of Symmetry; since I believe that these latter three albums are Muse at their absolute best, I was very pleased that they didn’t solely include their latest hits (or dive too deep into the history books, for that matter). Streaks of old favourites such as the Supermassive Black Hole – Hysteria – MK Ultra run had me nothing short of ecstatic, and closing with the most impressive Exogenesis symphony movement and a harmonica-introduced Knights of Cydonia set a perfect mood to leave with.

Accompanying their show from start to finish was an impressive visual display that met every expectation the audience could possibly have without producing a live giant robot fight. The semi-circular stage found its focal point in three floor-to-ceiling rectangular pillars with full projections on all four of their sides; one pillar to showcase each of the three band members. From scrolling code and a realistic looking tank of water (complete with drowning man!) to political imagery (wouldn’t be a Muse concert without it), falling people, and a cascading universe, the pillars offered never-ending eye candy overlaid with close-ups of the band. Not to mention the fact that the pillars could raise or lower to allow the band to walk around the rest of the stage, and that Dominic’s drum kit could rotate atop its half of the glowing pillar (as it did during Dominic and Chris’ extensive drum and base solo). Then there were the lasers. Somehow, they managed to cover the entire Saddledome in flashing, flailing, freaking out bands of uber lasers from China (see picture), especially during songs such as Hysteria and Undisclosed Desires (Yeah Keytar!).

As another quirk that I thought was a nice touch, the crowd was bombarded with a series of giant eye balloons filled with confetti during the final moments of Plug In Baby (before the encore), thrown from the rafters, that made the place look like it was the love child of a rave and a beach party. Nothing like a reminder that “the man” is always watching you. Or something.

All of that said, I think that they missed a lot of gems that would have been a great addition. Songs like Map of the Problematique, Sing for Absolution, Muscle Museum, City of Delusion, or Hyper Music would have pushed the crowd from amped to a roaring moshpit.  Although absolutely powerful from beginning to end, the show itself was relatively short (about 1:30-1:45 I believe), and they likely could have rocked a few extra songs such as these without sacrificing anything (except maybe Matt’s voice). Additionally, it all felt a bit too much like an album sometimes; Matt loved inserting feedback and distorted slides, but many of the songs did not deviate from their expected format. Finally, all members combined said no more than five sentences to the crowd, three of which were along the lines of “How’re you feeling, Calgary?!?”

Despite its few failings and slightly too general set list, Muse played an unreal show, and I would buy tickets again in a heartbeat. If you have not experienced Muse live, do yourself a favour: go see them. Trust me.

One Comment leave one →
  1. Emma permalink
    April 1, 2010 11:06 pm

    I definitely agree – the effects were so wonderful, but the band wasn’t very personable and sometimes there wasn’t much distinguishing the live tracks from the studio versions. Overall it was still super awesome…I would go again for sure!

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