Finally, the moment we’ve all been waiting for, after being sufficiently warmed up by PVRIS and Thirty Seconds to Mars, we’re ready for the stadium headliners, Muse. At this point, the sun has completely set on Budweiser Stage, and the audience brims with anticipation on this clear summer night.

Lead vocalist, Matt Bellamy, emerges on stage with his electric guitar and nonchalant swagger. They open the night with their new single, “Dig Down,” in a flash of blue lights and electric guitar riffs. A live Muse performance is as much a laser and lights show as it is a rock performance, taking their audience on a hypnotic space rock journey.

It’s immediately apparent that Muse feels most at home during live performances, where Bellamy can give riff after riff. He really makes a show of it – playing over his head, knocking over sound amps and even throwing his guitar across the stage. His power stances alone will make you feel as though you are in the presence of rock royalty.

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As much as Bellamy tries to steal the show, drummer Dominic Howard gives some epic drum solos while bassist Chris Wolstenholme gets his own riffs in there. As each song ended, they would continue with an electric riff solo, sometimes playing off one another, leading into the next song so that it becomes one never ending saga of songs. They essentially gave a two-hour rock opera.

When listening to their songs through headphones, they play their instruments with such intensity that the recording doesn’t quite pick up all the nuances of their music. After seeing the live performance, it’s evident that their raw sound has such an epic scope, it belongs entirely in the stadium.

Their showmanship is based purely on their music. Unlike Jared Leto’s opening act with Thirty Seconds to Mars, there wasn’t as much intimacy with the crowd. At one point, Bellamy did run through a row of seats giving high fives along the way. But, for the most part, they let their music do the talking, accompanied by a dazzling visual lights show.

In fact, these lights were so bright that many donned their sunglasses even though the sun had set long before. Bellamy also sported various sunglasses throughout the show, adding to the band’s progressive rock aesthetic. They looked as if they had stepped right out of the 1990s rock scene. The screens were full of extreme close-ups of Bellamy’s face as he belted into the microphone, reminiscent of an old Green Day music video.

It’s not surprising that this concert is packed with alternative rock nostalgia. Muse has been around since 1994. Over their twenty-three year career, they have released seven studio albums, earned two Grammys, and have embarked on ten tours. They know how to give a classic heavy rock show, and they do it with style.

They end the night with the Guitar Hero classic, “Knights of Cydonia,” inviting the audience for one final sing-along, lights flashing and lyrics moving rapidly across the screen. A muse-ical finale of epic proportions, after a two-hour performance we were still wanting more.


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