Muse came to the Sleep Train Amphitheater in Sacramento Tuesday night to an almost sold out crowd. This was one of several stops in California to kick off their North American Tour.
Band of Skulls opened for Muse. They were a great compliment to the headliners. The same old school rock and roll music quality that Muse has in some of their songs is mirrored in this band. The songs focused on instrumental solos and well played transitions almost as much as the lyrics. While this is a relatively new band, having only formed in 2009, I don’t think it will be long before they are headlining their own show. They have a raw quality and a unity to their music that makes them special.
Muse has been known for taking risks with their stage set up and really providing a unique experience for their fans. Last night was no exception. The entire stage was a backdrop for one of the coolest audio visual experiments I have ever seen. Rather than use props, the stage housed screens that played videos that changed with each song they performed.
The lighting effects also helped create the mood for the show, alternately turning into a laser light show or plunging the entire stage into darkness before erupting into vibrant color. Having been to many concerts at Sleep Train in the past, I can say this was one of the most intricate light displays I have ever seen.
They started off with songs from some of their older albums including, Super Massive Black Hole. The thing that really strikes me most about Muse is that they regard their music and the way they play their instruments to be almost as important as the content of their song lyrics. They moved almost seamlessly from electric guitars, which were also outfitted with an impressive lighting system, to a grand piano.
In the middle of their show Bellamy starts a guitar solo of the Star Spangled Banner that seemed a tribute to the rock and roll of old. It was on a patriotic level that normally you see at sporting events. It was so well played and moving that I found myself, much to the chagrin of my neighbors, standing to my feet and belting out the anthem to the top of my lungs. The level of excitement rose to the point that I actually started getting goose bumps. Muse understands the power of music.
This transitioned perfectly into Muse playing songs from their album, The Second Law, which was released in October 2012. Madness, which is currently rated as their most popular song in iTunes, got the crowd to their feet. As it is also a personal favorite of mine my neighbor got further treated to my singing voice.
Towards the end of their show, they played a video of a group of people running away from what looked like sound waves that were slowly destroying everything in their path. Slowly one by one the members of the group succumbed to the waves without choice, the destruction taking them over until you were left with only one person. That person stopped suddenly, and instead of running from what chased her, she turned and ran into it.
This had a surprising effect on me. I did my research of the band before going to the show and what has stood out to me the most is that from the very beginning, when they were just a band starting out in a small town in England, they have remained true to who they are. When label companies tried to change them or adjust their sound they left rather than conform. The video represented to me the fear or doubt of the unknown that chases us all. What Muse chose to do and what they inspire us to do as well is to face the unknown head on and run towards it rather than away.
This makes their music transcend notes or beats and becomes more of a consciousness. The variety between their songs makes Muse a universal band. There is a truth for everyone.
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