Thursday, August 09, 2007

Muse electrifies the Garden

Not to knock the Triangle, but there's something about going to a concert in New York. So I was immediately excited when a recent trip to the city coincided with Muse's show at Madison Square Garden.

I had seen the group, who are from England and don’t get around this way much, once at Disco Rodeo when they were doing the MTVu college tour, but Monday's show at the Garden blew that one out of the water.

The group opened with "Knights of Cydonia," off their latest album, Black Holes and Revelations, and continued for more than an hour and a half playing songs off all four of their albums.

As sonically well put together as Muse’s albums are, it’s always impressive how they are able to match, and even best, that sound live.

Lead singer Matthew Bellamy’s operatic vocals soared through the Garden. Bellamy, to me, is a little bit of a musical savant. Brilliant songwriter, especially talented singer and guitarist (watching his fingers move on the jumbotron during one of the guitar solos was just perplexing) and also a ridiculously good pianist. (Check out this video for a bit of proof.)

As for bassist Chris Wolstenholme, his performance that night proved that it actually is possible to play the intro to their song “Hysteria” without missing a note. Brilliant. (I missed the solo, but check out a clip from the song here.)

Drummer Dominic Howard more than held his own, keeping the high energy level going. (Sorry, I know very little about drumming seeing as I have little rhythm myself.)

“Starlight,” one of my personal favorites got the entire Garden attempting to clap in unison (clap/clapclap/clap/clapclapclap—apparently harder than it sounds) while “Apocalypse Please” got them all attempting to mimic Bellamy’s vocal range (definitely harder than it sounds).

Muse also introduced me to a new group that night, Cold War Kids, who I’d heard of but hadn’t paid so much attention to. The band opened, playing a lively set from their debut album Robbers and Cowards. (Here's a clip.) Considering the group is still playing small clubs in the states, playing the Garden was a huge deal for them so they brought in some friends for reinforcement — Elvis Perkins in Dearland. Nice reinforcement, indeed.

But I’ll admit one of my favorite memories from the show (aside from singing along with thousands in the crowd to “Take a Bow,” which includes the lyrics “You will burn in hell, Yeah you’ll burn in hell.”) comes from the train ride out of Penn Station. For those of you who have spent any time in the city, you know that you don’t talk to people (look at people, breathe on them if you can help it, etc.) on the subway. Well, there was one particular guy, who yeah, had imbibed, who was extremely excited to recap the show and how “freaking amazing” it was. Even in a society where we all “need our space,” it’s nice that music, and uh, beer I suppose, can still bring us together.

What can I say, it was a New York moment.

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