Muse and the Art of Performance

I have been to many concerts in my lifetime. I have seen some truly incredible shows, some that were pretty good, and some that I would rather forget. However, regardless of how amazing the show was, I have never before left a concert with the overwhelming desire to see the show again. Yet this was precisely my reaction when I recently saw Muse on their 2nd Law Tour, because the moment the show was over I was online looking up the rest of their tour schedule in the hopes that there would be another date nearby. This reaction surprised me, but it really shouldn’t have because the show was just that good.

I had actually seen Muse live once before when they performed “Survival” at the Closing Ceremonies of the 2012 London Olympics, but that was hardly an indication of their talents as a live band. Just to be clear, the Closing Ceremonies of the London Games was an incredible experience and one of my fondest memories of that Olympics, but one song slotted into another show didn’t do this band justice. It was, however, enough to pique my interest, and that coupled with the rave word of mouth reviews that I have been hearing for years convinced me that Muse was a band I needed to check out in person. I went into the show only really familiar with their previous album, The Resistance, but I have since downloaded all of their albums, and I have listened to little else since. This is because Muse managed to do what few other bands achieve. Their live performance enhanced their music to such an extent that songs I would have previously skipped over are now mandatory listening, while others that were already favourites are quickly rising on my itunes most played list.

More than the songs, Muse excelled in their sheer performance. The show may have been big, flashy, and full of special effects, all of which were incredibly well done, but when it came right down to it, Muse was about a group of guys who were clearly having a great time just playing music. Their enthusiasm was infectious and reached all the way up to the rafters from where I was watching. With his illuminated fretboard, bassist Chris Wolstenholme played with a fevered intensity, while drummer Dominic Howard somehow managed to project a simultaneously relaxed but impassioned rhythm. Tying it all together was guitarist and lead singer, Matt Bellamy, who is clearly doing exactly what he was born to do, playing guitar in one of the most unique and impressive styles I’ve ever seen or heard.┬áThe pure joy of performance that radiated from this band was an incredible concert experience, but with the remainder of their tour dates nowhere near me, the quest to see them again may take awhile. Until then, I will be continuously playing their music for the foreseeable future, remembering how good it was live, and waiting for Muse to come through town again. However long that wait may be.


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