Staples Center – Los Angeles, CA
Words/Photos by Reverend Justito/concertconfessions.com
Over the past 15 years, I can think of a few times when I had an extra ticket to a sold out show and I gave that ticket to a random stranger for free. In certain circles, this is called a miracle. This week, karma came full circle and I got my miracle. Although the show had been sold out for weeks, a good friend and a real big supporter of Concert Confessions asked me if I wanted to see Muse. The best part of the offer was that our seat location would be one of the venues swank luxury boxes. That’s right, open bar, questionable sushi and a desert cart of decedent treats while I watched Muse melt faces on a Saturday night. Truly grateful, this was hands down the best time I’ve ever had at Staples Center. A big thank you goes out to everyone who made it possible.
Let’s begin with the nights opening act Passion Pit. For those who are not aware, I fucking hate this band. Just listening to them while in line waiting to enter the 2010 KROQ Weenie Roast made me want to climb the venue’s chain link fence and slice my wrists open with the barbed wire on top. It is not often that I am thankful for traffic, yet I found myself stoked that the average speed on Interstate 10 was well below the posted limit. You see, Passion Pit is so bad I would rather look at break lights than have my ears tortured by the Massachusetts “musicians.” Those in the box who did catch the band — well lets just say I heard the following:
“My ears have been raped and I want to cry”
“How much did these guys pay to get on this tour?”
“That shit made me want to abuse puppies and beat babies”
So there you have it folks, Passion Pit still fucking sucks. But enough with the negativity, let’s talk about Muse.
When it comes to Muse, I must be honest and confess that I gave up on the band last year. At the time of it’s release, Absolution became one of those perfect records and, truthfully, the band had no chance to surpass it. I found Black Holes and Revelations to be a disappointment, and I also failed to make any connections with The Resistance. I then heard that God-awful Twilight number and decided I was done wasting my time with Muse. And yet, a rock show is a rock show, and when that rock show in in a suite for the low, low price of free, you know Reverend Justito will go with an empty belly and open mind.
The band opened the show with the powerful 1-2 punch of “Uprising” and “Resistance.” The energy in the large arena was an insane level of intense devotion. Fans on both the main floor as well as the seats bounced up and down in unison as the three main band members performed on large platforms elevated above the stage. The trio continued to keep the energy high by performing rock radio hits “Hysteria” and “Supermassive Black Hole” early on.
While the band teased classic songs by everyone from Rage Against The Machine to The Turtles in their set, one of the evening many highlights was a cover of the Leslie Bricusse & Anthony Newley cover, “Feeling Good.” With lead vocalist/guitarist Matthew Bellamy tickling the ivory on a grand piano covered in lights, the sold out crowd swayed together to the often covered classic. Another amazing moment was the bass and drum jam between Christopher Wolstenholme and Dominic Howard that lead into a powerful version of “Undisclosed Desires.”
What was most impressive on a Saturday night in September was the sound the band made. As far as arenas go, Staples Center is one of the larger ponds out there. The group’s sound was so large and so overpowering that the cavernous room felt like an intimate club. These three could no doubt make the Los Angeles Coliseum feel like The Roxy. In reflecting upon the show, this is what truly stands out in my mind. From Metallica to Phish, I have never seen a band overpower a large venue so easily.
With fan favorites “Starlight” and “Time is Running Out” helping to close out the set, the energy inside the arena managed to grow during the lengthy encore break. When the band did return, the loyal fans were treated to a three song encore. I found myself more focused on the video screen visuals during “Exogenesis Symphony Pt 1 (Overture)” than the music. My mind wandered, lost in the moment which, really, live music is all about. The following songs were arguably the bands biggest hits. “Stockholm Syndrome” took me back to the days where Muse could do no wrong and the song helped me survive the crazy roads of Los Angeles during rush hour. The band then closed the night with easily their biggest stateside hit, “Knighs in Cydonia.” With its futuristic wild west sounds, the rocking number gave the crowd one last chance to get down downtown on a Saturday night. For me, it was the icing on the cake. I attended this concert hoping for a free meal as the highlight of the evening. Little did I know that the show would be an all out sonic assault upon my senses and my faith in Muse would be fully restored. I may not put The Resistance on during Thursday night rush hour, but you can bet your backside that I will see Muse again in my lifetime.