Muse is a band that requires no introduction. In a rock scene that, as of recent, has faded away from the commercial domination it once exhibited in the ’90s, these British rockers have enjoyed well over a decade of success with their orchestral sound and jaw-dropping live performances. Although I was admittedly not as fond of their most recent release, The 2nd Law, as I had been of Muse’s earlier work, having seen the band twice previously, I entered the Staples Center the night of January 24th thoroughly expecting to have my mind blown.
The night began with “The 2nd Law: Unsustainable,” a dubstep-tinged track from their newest release. Given that the presence of dubstep breakdowns in The 2nd Law is precisely what colored my lukewarm reception to Muse’s latest album, I was pleasantly surprised by how well it worked in a live setting. Still, I was undoubtedly partial to Muse’s older works. The seldom-played “Sunburn” sounded stunning live, and the driving guitar chords of “Knights of Cydonia” worked the crowd into a frenzy.
Photo by Jamie Mah
The set highlight for me, however, was undoubtedly The Origin of Symmetry’s “Plug In Baby.” With the track’s grinding guitar opening and unapologetically loud chorus, Muse had everyone in attendance in the palm of their proverbial hand. The unexpected cover of Prince’s “Sign o’ the Times” is more than deserving of an honorable mention, though.
And then there was the staging. Muse’s last Staples Center performance in 2010 boasted three rising screen-paneled “skyscrapers” from which each band member played their respective instrument(s) amid a flurry of green lasers. This iteration featured a humongous screen-paneled pyramid that retracted and shapeshifted at various points in the set, an LED floor that came to life with corresponding visuals pulsing in time to the music, and a flurry of multicolored lasers that made 2010’s light show look elementary in comparison. It was absolutely gorgeous to behold and more than met the unreasonably high expectations I had going into the show.
Despite being a band of only three members, Muse has a sound capable of filling every nook and cranny of even the largest arenas. Although I was admittedly tepid about the band’s newest release, I jumped at the chance to catch them for the third time, knowing full well that there was no conceivable way I could be disappointed by what I beheld, and I was right.
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