Concert Review: Muse @ Air Canada Centre, Toronto ON 3/8/10

Holy. Shit.

It has been a very long time since a stadium show blew my mind so thoroughly.  You must understand, dear readers, that I have seen a lot of show by a lot of bands.  I’ve seen Tool in the intimacy of the Hummingbird Centre.  I’ve seen Nine Inch Nails in a small GA pit.  I’ve witnessed the spectacle that was the Spice Girls reunion tour (I took my much younger sister, and won lifetime brownie points).  I’ve seen Tori Amos in her Pip persona (utter pwnage of all the world, in one live form).

Muse easily slammed into my top ten concerts by the third song of the set.

For the Resistance tour, the band utilizes a stage in the round, allowing rearview seating to still be worth the price of a ticket.  Three large towers on stage, draped in black dropcloths with brick-like designs, await concert-goers.  For those in the rear, video feeds of openers Silversun Pickups are projected on said towers, a cool courtesy I appreciated.

Speaking of Silversun Pickups, they were decent as an opener, with potential.  The best way I managed to describe them was thus:  if Muse is the Heinz ketchup of their niche, Silversun Pickups are a decent store brand ketchup.  It’s not quite the same, but tasty still.  I kept finding myself drawn to the chick strumming away, looking like the strange lesbian-magic child of Maggie Gyllenhaal and Lily Tomlin.  It was eerie.  I’d definitely suggest giving them a fair shake.

But Muse…  Jesus Christ!  The stage show is utterly mesmerizing, from the marching figures moving down the towers, to the upper third of said towers lifting up to reveal the band, playing set opener Uprising with fervour while images of the band and key lyrics flash on the surface of the tower structures.  Newborn brought a laser show so dramatic, I felt like I was having an acid trip – without the drugs.

The band manages to jam as the towers rise and fall, with built-in platforms spinning even, without missing a beat.  They sound better live, even, with a raw fierceness that shocked me so much, I forgot to start applauding a few times.  The set spanned their discography, mostly fan favourites, although heavily peppered with the new album.

Glaring set omissions:  Butterflies and Hurricanes, Sing For Absolution, Shrinking Universe, I Belong To You, MK Ultra (which had been a tour staple).

Highlights:  Uprising, Resistance, Newborn, Supermassive Black Hole, United States of Eurasia, Time Is Running Out, Stockholm Syndrome, Hysteria.  The whole show was solid, really;  the only songs I could have done without were Guiding Light and Plug In Baby.

I truly cannot stress this enough:  see this band live.  Make it a priority.  They know how to kick ass and take names, Chuck Norris style.

SETLIST:  Muse @ ACC, Toronto ON 3/8/10

Map of the Problematique
Supermassive Black Hole
Guiding Light
United States of Eurasia
Take A Bow > Feeling Good (Leslie Bricusse and Anthony Newley cover)
Helsinki jam
Undisclosed Desires
Plug In Baby (w/ YYZ (Rush) outro)
Time Is Running Out
Unnatural Selection

Exogenesis Symphony, Part I: Overture
Stockholm Syndrome
Knights of Cydonia (w/ Man With Harmonica intro)

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