By Matthew Winer (@larrydavidbowie)
You may remember them as the captivating opening act that toured stadiums with U2 in 2009. More likely, you're a rabid and passionate citizen of their massive global following.
Now in their second year supporting 2012's "The 2nd Law," Muse brought a tsunami of energy to Verizon Center Wednesday night, the sixth show of their fall 2013 North American tour.
Cage the Elephant led things off playing hits from their eclectic repertoire. Bluesy alt rock tunes "Back Against the Wall" and "Ain't No Rest of the Wicked" intertwined with distortion-filled punk tune "Indie Kidz" and set closer "Shake Me Down." Lead singer Matthew Schultz bounced across the stage, fully utilizing every inch of Muse's extravagant set, at one point crowd-surfing into the audience before catapulting back onto stage. Cage the Elephant’s masterfully-crafted set list exponentially built the arena’s energy, appropriately setting the tone for the exhilarating spectacle to follow.
As the lights went down for Muse, a dazzling array of moving video monitors and powerful spotlights swallowed every inch of the arena. A video montage, displayed on a set of horizontal monitors, were positioned to resemble a pyramid, seguing into the opening bass line of "The 2nd Law's" opening track "Supremacy." Lead singer Matthew Bellamy's signature voice led the band and crowd through the song's intense peaks and soulful valleys, eventually climaxing and sending the crowd into a collective frenzy.
Drawing a diverse array of influences from '70s progressive rock pioneers King Crimson, Queen, Pink Floyd, Rush, electronic pop stalwarts such as Depeche Mode and Justice, and hard rock legends Led Zeppelin, among many others, Muse led the audience through old songs and new from the band’s 19-year-old genre-eclectic repertoire.
'80s funk-inspired songs "Supermassive Black Hole" and "Panic Station" were flawlessly interlaced with alternative rock tunes "Resistance," "Plug In Baby" and Prog Rock anthems "Resistance," “Knights of Cydonia” and "Hysteria." “Hysteria” was even complete with a Jimi Hendrix-inspired electric guitar rendition of the "Star Spangled Banner" as its intro.
The band's unrelenting drive was supplemented by one of the most exhilarating stage productions on tour today. Lights, smoke, lasers and projections encapsulated the audience through each and every vibration.
Following the set’s powerful conclusion "Uprising" from 2009’s "The Resistance," the encore proceeded further intogenre-bending territory. “The 2 nd Law: Unsustainable” seamlessly meshed Skrillex-inspired dubstep beats with progressive elements, setting the tone for alt rock hit “Starlight” and show concluding “Survival,” a rock anthem written as the featured song for the 2012 Olympic Games in London.
A worldwide rock stalwart now for almost 20 years, Muse continues to thrill arenas and stadiums across the globe with their eclectic repertoire, passionate performances and awe-inspiring production. On Wednesday night, as each and every Verizon Center attendee was transfixed and inspired, Muse left their fans hungry for more. Luckily, the power trio will continue to quench this hunger with their thrill-woven, genre-bending progressive brand for decades to come, keeping audiences on their toes through every turn.
Supermassive Black Hole
Hysteria (Star Spangled Banner intro)
Knights of Cydonia (Ennio Morricone's Man with a Harmonica intro)
Follow Me (Leslie Bricusse & Anthony Newley cover)
Plug In Baby
Time Is Running Out
Unnatural Selection (Rage Against the Machine's Freedom outro)
The 2nd Law: Unsustainable