Muse and the Concert Experience

Muse is a British band that is huge overseas but starting to get more of a following in the states. I recently saw them at the United Center (I saw them at Lollapalooza in the rain two years ago, a great show) and it was a very entertaining concert. Their set list from the show is here with links to the songs; someone updated this set list minutes after the show had ended.

I have seen a lot of concerts and the effects on the Muse show were top-rate. I have seen the band Tool which uses intense visuals & who put a lot of effort into their show and I did not see U2 but their last tour obviously looked state-of-the-art, as well.

Recently I saw a comedy special by Nick Swardson, who played “Terry” the roller-skating gay prostitute on the sadly canceled Reno 911! show. In this unlikeliest of places I heard something that made me think… the comedian was talking about how blase we are today, about the special effects for a movie like “Transformers”. He said that if people from the 1950’s saw that movie their heads would explode while today in the 21st century we just take it for granted.

As I watched the effects and sound on the Muse show I thought about how much the sound quality, visual effects and stage quality (the stage components rose and fell independently in synch with all the laser and light effects) and how they would just blow away anything from the 60’s – 80’s. If you brought in the top shows from those years the artists and fans would just stand there, mouth agape as they watched something like Muse, with their integrated lights / effects / and sounds.

As some people (generally baby boomers) talk about how rock music was better in different eras they obviously aren’t considering how much vastly improved the concert experience has been made by modern technology, when properly done. Not only are the visual effects better, but the performers have better microphones and monitors and supporting technicians on hand. The effects in those eras probably only were effective if you provided your own chemicals in the brain as enhancements.

Cross posted at LITGM

10 thoughts on “Muse and the Concert Experience”

  1. I am still a hot, nasty club type of guy. Just give me a band with standard instruments and talent who love the music and I will take that any day over the huge shows with the effects. Just my preference.

  2. I’m with Dan on this one. Barebones, small room, four piece rock band on stage, liquor very much present — lights, smoke. costumes, video screens … meh. Gime me the rock, the whole rock and nothing but the rock. Master the basics, kick out the jams, and I want nothing else. Buzzcocks, Cramps, Neighborhoods, La Peste, Ramones, Outlets, Blackjacks, The Sponge, Bhang Revival, Material Issue, Lyres, Prime Movers, Chesterfield Kings, Mission of Burma, Hives, Eyeliners, Nerf Herder, Cynics … Be still my heart, and recall anew the thrill, the blare of the guitars, the punch of the drums, the throat grown hoarse, the thrill of moment, the sweat the humidity steaming of massed human bodies, the smell of spilled beer, recall once more how simple yet how superb it is … the grandeur of rock … Yes we remember, yes we were there, yes we will speak forth again the long witholden thunder of their names!

  3. Muse is a fantastic band and I have been unable to determine why they have not taken off in the States until recently, given they’ve been so huge in Europe and elsewhere. Thanks for this post and I’m jealous you’ve seen them live. I hope to catch them this summer in DC if they come back!

  4. Barebones, small room, four piece rock band on stage…
    Earplugs is too much effort. I’ll stay home listening to quiet jazz (from the times it was an unpretentious dance music), thanks.

    Laser show, crowds on “high”, smoke and mirrors: ouch. Even circus is better.

  5. If you haven’t seen a band you like (I am a big fan of Muse) in a formal concert setting like this you are missing out. I’ve done a lot of club stuff and that’s fun too but it is also good to see state-of-the-art concert effects. Or you can just let your kids tell you about it…

  6. Carl [in case you were addressing me], since you mentioned kids:
    mine came to dinner few days ago and told me about this cool show he saw with his girl, FuerzaBruta. It had everything you probably find attractive – lasers, smoke, cool props, lots of movement, sex appeal, girl dancers sliding in ankle-deep water above audience’ heads (reaching out and touching is encouraged), it even has a plot (which band concert lack) – or something symbolic in its stead, anyway. He was very impressed. Even though he didn’t understand what it all meant (nobody do, it’s a feature), he wants to go again. With me. Despite the reviews.

    It’s coming to Chicago, too!

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