24 September 2010

Knights of Cydonia

So, the spouse wanted to go see Muse. I didn't raise any objections; I like them well enough. Then the daughter really started listening to them, and liked "Uprising" so much that she made her own music video (stop motion, with GI Joes. It's pretty hilarious). Anyway, they've gotten all popular in the US, so I had to do a bit of moving heaven and earth to get tickets for last night's show (not that I lack experience in that), but we had very good seats off the floor (GA floor? NO WAY).

My kids are so spoiled in the realm of concert-going. They are used to the "evening with" format (both Rush and Genesis), and have no love of opening acts. It's one thing if you know the opening bands, too. Back in the days of seeing REM and The Police, I was as familiar with the openers as I was the headliners, so it was all fine. In this case, Passion Pit sort of lived up to its name: they were the pits. I mean, fine, if you like synth-driven dance pop, and I don't, really. The son and I were joking they should be renamed Five Guys with Four Synths and One Very Reedy Falsetto. Anyway, they did have some fans in the audience. I always feel a little sad for openers who have to face a hostile audience, and I've seen a few of those.

The wait for Muse seemed to be interminable. I think the intermission was 45 minutes (yes, I'm spoiled, too), and the intro was way too long (yeah, the lights and graphics were cool, but come on! I can watch videos at home, kids. I'm there for the live experience. I know this is heresy, but this tour, I'm even finding Rush's video intros too damn long. I'm not there to watch you cut up on a screen, my boyos).

Anyway, finally, the lower half of the "skyscrapers" fell away, and there was the band on lighted pedestals, tearing into "Uprising." They get props for that stage set up, which was music even to my "seen a thousand concerts; what have you got?" eyes. I'm not sure the "in-the-round" concept worked overly well, but the rest was fairly spectacular, along with fun lights and about a billion lasers. And giant "eyeballs" filled with red confetti coming out of the ceiling ("Their version of 'Yellow,'" the son grinned at me, referring to all the yellow balloons released at the Coldplay show.) The music was on, good and loud, but the set was short (yes, I'm spoiled, too), though I could only name one or two other songs I would have really liked to hear that weren't included in the set they played.

Of course, there's always danger and opportunity in seeing a unknown quantity: They could be terrible live. There's a certain band that I like quite a lot that I've shyed away from seeing because I've seen video of their live performances and I think I'd go to sleep. But Muse really delivered, and we laughed and counted off different rock influences (Led Zeppelin, Jimi Hendrix, AC/DC, and what even sounded like a bit of "YYZ" on the drums) that showed up in various codas. Rather than a drum solo, there was a fun drum/bass jam on the revolving drum riser, which was rising and revolving. Poor guys have been called the next U2 (isn't everybody?) and the next Radiohead, but they are a pretty unabashed force of their own, silver spaceman pants and Beetlejuice suits and all.

Go listen to some good music: "Knights of Cydonia" from the album Black Holes and Revelations by Muse. The audience was pretty diverse, I have to say. There were the hipsters, the emo kids, the old guys who looked like they'd be happier watching AC/DC, and some folks who didn't appear to know why they were there. And I was grinning ear to ear, singing along, and spoiling the whole effect thinking about where I was a week previous. Which was why I was grinning.

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