By John Curley
Muse do not disappoint with their live shows. They pulled out all of the stops on Monday, April 15th, at a pretty amazing show at New York City’s Madison Square Garden. Their forward-sounding brand of loud rock was accompanied by a jaw-dropping stage set that featured numerous video screens and smoke machines as well as a quite innovative laser show. A lot of work and expense clearly went into creating the live experience for Muse’s tour behind their latest album, The 2nd Law. And the result is aurally and visually stunning.
Muse can now be considered a veteran band. Their years on the road have molded them into a ferocious live act. The crowd at the Garden roared throughout the show, and that ecstatic response seemed to push Muse to even greater heights. The trio, who hail from Teignmouth, England, are comprised of Matt Bellamy (lead vocals, guitar, piano, keyboards, synthesizers), Chris Wolstenholme (bass, Misa Kitara, vocals, harmonica), and Dominic Howard (drums, percussion, synthesizers). They are augmented live by a fourth musician, Morgan Nicholls (keyboards, synthesizers, percussion, guitar, backing vocals). While their music is at times bombastic—pompous, even—few bands can work an audience into a frenzy the way that Muse did at the Garden.
There were many highlights during Muse’s performance. Particular standouts were “Supermassive Black Hole,” “Panic Station” (which featured a Hendrixian take on “The Star-Spangled Banner” in the intro), and “Time Is Running Out,” which almost blew the roof off of the Garden. Bellamy dedicated the song “Starlight” to the people of Boston. (The bombing at the Boston Marathon had taken place earlier in the day.) Wolstenholme took lead vocal duties for the performance of the heavy “Liquid State” from the new album.
Muse played for one hour and 45 minutes, with a 17-song main set and two-song encore.
Opening the show was the Scottish band Biffy Clyro. While they are not very well known in America, the crowd warmed up to them quickly and gave them a good response. Of the nine songs in their 45-minute set, “Black Chandelier” got the biggest hand from the crowd. Seemingly pleased with the response from the audience, lead vocalist Simon Neil cracked, “Thank you, the Garden!”
Both bands also performed at the Garden the following night. This leg of Muse’s North American tour ends on Friday, April 26th in Quebec City. They go to Europe after that and return to North America in September.
Biffy Clyro’s setlist:
Sounds Like Balloons
That Golden Rule
Many Of Horror
Map Of The Problematique
Supermassive Black Hole
Knights Of Cydonia
United States Of Eurasia
Time Is Running Out
The 2nd Law: Unsustainable