Concert Review

Muse Brings The Madness To Consol Energy Center In Pittsburgh

It had been some time since Pittsburgh had seen the likes of Muse visit, the last time only witnessed by the “in the know” and hip crowd that latched onto the mighty sound from the English trio at Mr. Smalls.  The band wasted little time in making a grand entrance with a stunning yet not overpowering stage set to “Isolated System” as the box, within box, within box, within box visual screens spilled from the ceiling like an accordion to cover the stage in what you just knew would eventually open up to the three of them blasting away into “Supremacy”.

Having never witnessed Muse in person, I was unaware of what to expect.  Many of those hipster fans were now too cool to go see them since Muse had hit mainstream popularity.  I had only really caught the wave when my wife started playing “Knights of Cydonia” (definitely the highlight song of the evening) around me, a song that had such an awesome blend of rock, metal, and opera, it was like the rebirth of Queen for me.  I was immediately impressed and delved further into their catalog that showed what diverse and impressive musicians they are, especially leader Matt Bellamy.  Matt was on fire last night in Pittsburgh, jamming, dancing, singing, doing all that an enigmatic leader should for a capacity crowd. He was mesmerizing and soulful, fully passionate and clearly enjoying himself thoroughly. Matt spoke rarely, and instead let his guitar project the prose, proving himself in the ranks of guitar gods; something I was not expecting but was all the more elated to witness, a true genius with his instrument.

The crowd was full throttle from start to finish, completely amped and ready for action even when openers Cage the Elephant started up the event. But certain songs really brought out the electricity such as “Time Is Running Out” which turned into a full force sing a long as hands held aloft and the sea of bodies on the floor bouncing in unison became one.  On one of their most impressive songs of the evening, both visually and musically was “Madness”.  Matt wore special glasses that displayed lyrics as his mic/cam dropped from the rafters to focus up close and Wolstenholme (bassist) played the beats from his guitar’s implanted device, lasers billowing into the crowd, punctuating the rhythm as Bellamy’s soul filled guitar ripped through the electro beat; the live scene actually turned into an MTV video right before our eyes. And as the crowds psychs took control and their kush kicked in (for those so inclined), the drums pounded by Dominic Howard drove the crowd further and further into a hypnotic haze of beautiful tones that somehow juxtaposed a myriad of styles into the Muse blender to become a unison of unique musicianship.

Some of the  really cool things that occurred last night in Pittsburgh were some fillers and a special song for a fan.  When my fellow photographers and backstage handlers came out to the front of the stage we quickly saw numerous fans with signs that asked the band to play “Fury”, a song rarely played in the States.  As a special tribute to Kathyrn, a fan who was seeing her 100th show, Muse made good on her and many others request of playing the song, making her and many others night.  But, for this fan my fave moments were the little punctuation slipped in of playing “House of the Rising Sun” and after playing the very punk-like “Agitated”, dropping into Rage Against The Machine’s “Freedom” as the box within box contraption took them in again just as it unveiled them in the beginning.

The band quickly returned, since they were against the clock and the union overtimes on a Sunday night at Consol, and flew into their encore of “Unsustainable” as Bellamy laid on the front of the catwalk and held out the mic, reaching out to the audience to sing.
“Uprising” was definitively punctuated by Matt spearing his amp with his guitar and repeatedly throwing it into the air, much to the crowds chagrin.  All in all it was an evening not to be missed for one never knows when Muse will bless us with their presence again.

All photos © 2013 AWeldingphoto and Pittsburgh Music Magazine

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