Concert Review: Muse @ Sommet Center, Nashville, 15.March.2010

Melisa and I have been hitting concerts like there’s no tomorrow lately — on average, we’ve probably been seeing two-three a month,  and I’m pretty sure that if one of us had access to the Fountain of Neverending Wealth (I think I read about that in a Terry Pratchett novel, once), that number would increase greatly.

A good percentage of the shows are in Melisa’s ballpark, not mine, and so I’m going in blind to a lot of the material.  Not so with Muse, though — while I was late to discover them (not surprising, given the state of the Birmingham music scene, but surprising given the similarity to so much of what else I listen to and have discovered online, etc.), I’m a huge fan of their stuff.  Their music makes me think of the perfect cross between Queen, Radiohead, and a Broadway musical about laser guns and robots and over-the-top villains bent on destroying the universe.

This was the first show I’ve seen at the Sommet Center in Nashville — nothing too much to say about the place, good or bad. It’s a very typical arena/stadium with decent acoustics, miles upon miles of overpriced concessions and horribly cramped and uncomfortable seating.

The Silversun Pickups opened — another band with whose material I’m not terribly familiar.  There were a few things they did live that piqued my interest, although the sound mix was abysmal – I’ll even go so far as to say unforgivable.  I’m not sure if there were technical difficulties, or if the engineers were simply unemployably incompetent, but it wasn’t until the last half of the last song that it was even listenable, and even then I think only compared to the previous thirty minutes.  It was bad enough that I was genuinely concerned for the rest of the night’s outlook.

Fortuantely, whatever went wrong for the openers was corrected — from the prelude instrumental theme to the last note, it was everything you could expect or hope from a stadium show of hard rock.  The volume was loud but not overwhelming, and each instrument was audible in the mix (at least, considering the volume).

There was a really nice mix of material over the two hour set — leaning most heavily on the last disc, but with quite a good variety of old and newer material.  The visuals were impressive — not just reliant on lights and pyrotechnics, but also utilizing a series of three elevating platforms and video columns, showing both closeups of the band and abstract visualizations.  It was different and unique, reminiscent of U2’s ACHTUNG, BABY tour — and definitely provided a sensory feast for the evening.

Like every fan of a band with a decently-sized batch of material, there were songs I was disappointed not to hear — FALLING AWAY WITH YOU, ENDLESSLY, MAP OF THE PROBLEMATIQUE.  Worst of all was the brief tease of TAKE A BOW — a song I was incredibly excited to hear, but alas the intro (on piano, no less) was all we got.  Nonetheless, a phenomenal concert and show — anyone getting the chance to see Muse live is depriving themselves if they skip out on the opportunity.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tEgiU7wLIdc&feature=related]

SETLIST:

  1. Uprising
  2. Resistance
  3. New Born
  4. Supermassive Black Hole
  5. MK Ultra
  6. Interlude
  7. Hysteria w/ “Back In Black” outro
  8. Nishe
  9. United States Of Eurasia
  10. Feeling Good (Leslie Bricusse & Anthony Newley cover)
  11. Helsinki Jam
  12. Undisclosed Desires
  13. Starlight
  14. Unnatural Selection
  15. Time Is Running Out
  16. Plug In Baby

Encore:

  1. Exogenesis: Symphony, Part 1: Overture
  2. Stockholm Syndrome
  3. Knights of Cydonia
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