My son and I have just been to the best show, at least in the rock genre, that I’ve ever experienced. I got more than my money’s worth.
Why was it the best? You needed to be there, but here are some reasons:
Possibly the best performing band today. Matthew Bellamy was a concert pianist before he picked up a guitar. My untrained ears tell me he’s a very respectable pianist and I know he’s one of our top rock guitarists. Many rock artists with classical training give you rockified pop/classic, some sort of heavy-handed Kool-Aid which tells you they lack deep appreciation for either genre. But MB is straight-up rocker who just happens to have an incredible degree of musical understanding behind him. Several musical genres inform his work and make it rich.
They treat their audience well. There were mics set up at various points and MB and bassist Chris Wolstenhome rotated around to them to give a true in-the-round experience. Dom Howard on drums was at center stage. They must have done a couple miles on that stage. Matthew Bellamy is always moving, his performance is intense and physical, usually stalking the stage with his axe.
The stage rotated at times. There were lighted balloon drones doing synchronized movements above us. Explosions of person-shaped confetti. Black balloons (for Black Holes and Revelations) bouncing around the theater which, when popped by bassist Wolstenhome, spewed confetti. A light show I won’t try to describe. Several huge translucent panels were lowered and images were projected on them (remember the images had to work from all angles, as you could see through them).
And all the elements: music, lyrics, visuals combine to create a total experience. The vision is dark, that of a futuristic techno-totalitarian dystopia. Sometimes there’s a slim secret hope for the downtrodden. Sometimes there’s a lovely lyrical pause in the steady beat of downward control. And sometimes we fight back! Dystopia, but they make it fun.
I would like to go back and experience “The Globalist” again. It was the big finale. It’s a gorgeous and riveting 10 minute experience. The grand effects and sadly evocative music combined really worked on me and actually made me think. During the concert.
They made it easy for the fans to be up close. This is a band which makes a point of expressing appreciation to its fans. Because of the configuration of the stage, it was easy to be close. I was at two to three people deep. Matthew Bellamy and Chris Wolstenhome were at times ten to fifteen feet away. I could see the individual hairs on their heads. I just never thought I’d get such a great “seat” to such a big band.
We bought floor tickets in order to have the option to get to the front and be close to the action, but I was cautious. It’s never easy to size up the type of crowd will be there with you. This is a hugely popular band…will we be crushed against the barrier, should we hang back?
When we entered the stadium, we saw there was no option but to be close to the stage. The floor was almost filled with the center stage and two wings in either direction. So we picked a spot around the center stage with just a few people gathering. I was ready to back away lest the crowd start pushing forward when MUSE came out, but it turned out to be a genial crowd. My son Atlee and I had so much fun!
People-confetti, light show, person-sized drones. My camera is really awful and I apologize.