Live at Scotiabank Saddledome, Calgary, Canada, February 4, 2013
richardcharlton, on december 20, 2013 2 of 2 people found this review helpful
Sound: Muse have been a long time favourite commercial band in the music scene and their most recent album, "The 2nd Law" and its coinciding tour have certainly solidify that popularity. Over the last decade the band has constantly pushed the envelope of experimentation and diversity in their music, "The 2nd Law" being vast arrangement of genres packed into one LP. This diversity causes for somewhat demanding repertoire that the band performs without breaking a sweat. There were, however, members of the audience (myself included) who weren't quite sold that all the music performed that night was live and actually being performed. The opening song in particular, "Unsustainable," caused me to raise question. Although it was understandable much off the opening string riffs were looped or prerecorded, Matt's dive bombing dubstep guitar seemed simply too fake to accept as a live performance (even with Matt's guitar tech operating Matt's pedals for him offstage). This prerecording suspicion was further solidified as the band begun their next song and the mix suddenly became louder, and more realistic for a live show. That aside, Matt Bellamy's vocals soared and were as powerful as they were on the record. Both bass and guitar were amplified through direct to sound board technique which although took some of the beef of the classic live guitar sound, created a pleasant clear mix which was easily audible even in the echo-ey cement sports arena. Instrument-wise, the band used many of it's gimmicky guitars they have become known for including Chris' double neck Status Kitara bass along with various other Fender and Status basses. Matt exclusively used his signature Manson guitars, with or without built in Kaoss pads. // 8
Perfomance: As musicians, Muse is undoubtedly competent. Unfortunately, Muse fails to translate that talent into an entertaining performance, strictly speaking about the band of course. As expected in a Muse concert came complete with all the stage eye candy imaginable including an armada of lasers, steam cannons, large LCD screens lining the background of the stage for an amphitheatre look and a fully mobile lighting rig which would descend onto the stage, enveloping drummer Dom to form a pyramid of screens. However, with all all of these breathtaking visuals, the band has seemed to have adopted this technology as crutch to compromise for their very static and unpersonable stage presence. The front man simply addressed the crowd once with a rehearsed "Hello, Calgary." Other than this the only crowd interaction that occurred was during one of the band's more sensual tracks (possibly either "Madness" or "Undisclosed Desires") when Matt left the stage to shake the hands of a small number of audience members in the front being crushed against the gate. As far as setlist goes, nothing unique popped out from the songs, a large fraction of them coming from the new album. Most songs were performed relatively identical to the original recordings with occasional extended intros our outros.
1. "The 2nd Law: Unsustainable" - one of the first tracks unveiled before the release of "The 2nd Law," the song served as an effective exciter for the crowd as the mesmerizing string riff looped while the band swaggered on stage to "drop da bass" in this dubstep to rock hybrid. As previously mentioned, it's potential prerecorded nature served as a disappointing way to start the concert for the live music savvy fans.
2. "Supremacy" - a personal favourite, this James Bond-esque track served as the true opener for the evening.
3. "Time Is Running Out" - a well known radio and fan favourite.
4. "Panic Station" - This track brought some fun to the show as on screen monsters grooved to Chris' funky slap bass line.
5. "Resistance" - the first track of the evening from "The Resistance" performed.
6. "Interlude/Hysteria" - I enjoyed the band's addition of the "Interlude" intro to "Hysteria" to help continuance of the original song order on their "Absolution" album.
7. "Animals" - not one of my favourites off the new album, regardless a strong performance.
8. "Knights of Cydonia" - the long time closer for Muse concerts, fans have come to enjoy the dramatic "Man with a Harmonica" intro as much as the song itself.
9. "Explorers" - widely regarded as a filler track on "The 2nd Law," the band received less feedback from the audience when the song was performed.
10. "Follow Me" - an emotional dubstep infused track dedicated to Matt Bellamy's son, Matt gave a dramatic and over the top vocal performance.
11. "Liquid State" - a heavy as f#ck song about the trial of alcohol addiction, Chris steals the spotlight with a surprising and rare lead vocal performance.
12. "Madness" - arguably one of Muse's sexiest tracks, Matt made love to the camera with his eyes, or rather, specially designed sunglasses that displayed the lyrics of the song in time with the music.
13. "Undisclosed Desires" - another sexy, urban ballad, it has become clear Matt has begun to enjoy setting the guitar aside to focus on sweet sultry vocals.
14. "Supermassive Black Hole" - a track made well known by a certain movie that will not be discussed, a notably higher fraction of females in the crowd began singing along to the pop rocker.
15. "New Born" - Unfortunately the only "Origin of Symmetry" song performed in the evening, Matt performed the keyboard intro on the grand piano versus the more customary Rhoads style piano.
16. "Uprising" - after a lengthy interlude featuring a prerecording of "The 2nd Law: Isolated System," the lighting rig descended upon the stage displaying political and environmental issues. The band returned to the stage to perform the closer inside, beside and on top of the massive lighting rig pyramid.
17. "Starlight" - the first of two encore songs, Muse performed arguably one of their.
18. "Survival" - the final song of the evening, the band took this Queen-esque song to epic proportions complete with multi story steam cannons. // 6
Overall Impression: The gig happened in Calgary, Alberta, Canada at the Scotiabank Saddledome. I greatly enjoyed the opener of the evening, the up and coming trio Band Of Skulls. When reflecting on the concert, it's very hard to simply account for the positives when the band came across many times as pretentious, or just with a general disrespect for the audience. With next to no audience interaction, lengthy wait times between songs and nearly 10 minute wait time for an encore, the concert still only amounted to a mere hour and twenty five minutes. It came across very clear Muse was there to do what they wanted and simply go through the motions. That being said, I feel very fortunate I had free tickets to the show via a radio contest. That being said, unless I won tickets to a future Muse concert again I likely wouldn't pay money to go again. To those who are contemplating investing in a future Muse concert, I would instead recommend buying the "Live at Rome Olympic Stadium" DVD instead. You'll get virtually the same experience at a fraction of the cost. // 6