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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, January 1, 2016 - Volume 44 Issue 01
Muse delivers otherwordly, sharp performance at Key Arena
Arts & Entertainment
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Muse delivers otherwordly, sharp performance at Key Arena

by Albert Rodriguez - SGN A&E Writer

MUSE
KEY ARENA
December 12


One thing is guaranteed when you have tickets to a Muse concert: you're going to see a damn good show. Having seen them now four times, I can truthfully say that they don't disappoint. The British band appeared to a filled Key Arena on December 12, as part of its 'Drones World Tour' that kicked off in May 2015 and continues through June 2016.

This was an in-the-round performance, which gave the entire audience a great view, as the group stood in the middle of the venue on a rotating stage with catwalks on either side of them. The show began with a series of empty, almost creepy-like drones flying around the arena when the lights dimmed, and then the trio - Matthew Bellamy, Chris Wolstenholme, Dominic Howard - ripped into three songs from their newest album, the Grammy-nominated Drones, 'Psycho,' 'Reapers,' and 'Dead Inside.' On the latter of these three numbers, floor-to-ceiling transparent curtains on both shoulders of the stage doubled as LED screens that flashed colorful, wild images.

During 'Hysteria,' way back from 2004's Absolution record, Bellamy played guitar while on his knees to the adoration of screaming fans, as the stage was bathed in green lighting and polka dots. Reaching even further back, Muse unleashed 'Citizen Erased' from 2001's Origin of Symmetry album. 'Supermassive Black Hole' included a cool intro, a snippet from Jimi Hendrix Experience's 'Voodoo Child.' The crowd sang along and clapped their hands at its intended parts for 'Starlight,' one of the three-piece's most familiar hits.

On 'Feeling Good,' Bellamy sang part of the lyrics through a bullhorn, then wailed on the high notes, as Wolstenholme entertained the audience at the opposite end of the stage with his cool guitar chops. 'Munich Jam,' an instrumental piece, featured Wolstenholme and Howard performing a blistering duo as a blood red-illuminated stage circled around and around. Images of flames and some keyboard trickery from Wolstenholme highlighted 'Madness,' while real time images of the band members were displayed on the LED curtain screens and candy corn-colored lights ran up and down a cylinder-shaped stage prop for 'Time is Running Out.'

The audience, primarily those standing on the floor level, on two different sides of the stage, bounced energetically and shouted out the chorus to 'Uprising.' The main set concluded with 'The Globalist' and a reprise of 'Drones,' and for an encore, Muse performed 'Mercy' plus a super-fueled version of 'Knights of Cydonia' that featured an intro of Ennio Morricone's 'Man with a Harmonica' and a blizzard of confetti showering the heads of those on the floor and 100 levels of the arena.

Interestingly, and disappointedly, this was the second concert in a row that the rock trio omitted 'Map of the Problematique' from a Seattle set list, one of their biggest hit singles. But overall, this was a show that was visually captivating with state-of-the art technology built into the set design and props; at one point, a large drone or mysterious aircraft made its way around the venue, then quickly went into hiding and we never saw it again. I wasn't as impressed with the music selection as I was with the group's concert at Key Arena two years ago, but as a complete package it was a doozy and very entertaining, a show consistent with the force that is Muse.

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