Saturday, February 06, 2010

MUSE - Live In Singapore Concert Review

What: Big Night Out! Singapore 2010
When: 3rd February 2010, 7pm
Where: Singapore Indoor Stadium

1. Uprising
2. Supermassive Black Hole
3. Map Of The Problematique
4. Resistance
5. Hysteria
6. Stockholm Syndrome
7. Nishe
8. United States Of Eurasia
9. Sunburn
10. Drum & Bass Jam
11. Undisclosed Desires
12. MK Ultra
13. Starlight
14. Time Is Running Out
15. Unnatural Selection

16. Exogenesis: Symphony: Part 1 (Overture)
17. Plug In Baby
18. Knights Of Cydonia

MUSE returned to Singapore for the second time on Wednesday, this time as the headlining act of the second installment of Big Night Out!, organised by LAMC Productions. Last year's edition featured The Ting Tings and Prodigy, but they were held on separate nights, both at Fort Canning Park. This year saw American bands Saosin and Rise Against taking the stage first, but it was clear everyone was there for MUSE.

Saosin started performing at about 7:15pm, which was very early for a weekday gig. Unfortunately for them, there weren't many people in the audience yet and it was especially glaring because Pen A was almost totally deserted. Pen A was the standing area right in front of the stage, and also the most expensive category.

I had some friends who were in the queue to get into Pen A but they couldn't manage to get in somehow. Seemed like there was a hold up from the Indoor Stadium staff, or they weren't allowed in. My friends only got into the stadium after Saosin finished their set. It was really weird because they paid the most money yet they were the last to enter, and missed one band's performance as a result. And it looked really bad for Saosin. Still not sure what the reason was.

And then Rise Against performed and finally MUSE were up next. By this time, the crowd had become very restless and perhaps hungry too. At 10pm sharp, the lights dimmed and the LCD screens came on. As the silhouettes of Matt Bellamy, Chris Wolstenholme and Dominic Howard appeared onstage, the roar of 11,000 fans went into overdrive.

They launched into Uprising, the lead single from their latest album The Resistance. The three LCD screens behind them displayed the graphics and lyrics to the song, while the two screens by the side blew up the three rock gods in action. It was a fantastic opening song, rousing the crowd nicely and inviting them to join in the uprising, with fist pumps in the air and shouts of "Come on!".

They then launched into another favourite, Supermassive Black Hole, and the crowd went delirious. They were bopping up and down and totally enjoying the experience. This was followed by Map Of The Problematique, another song from their previous album Black Holes And Revelations.

All in all, the setlist favoured their latest album, as they performed seven songs from it, while some personal favourites of mine like Invincible and Take A Bow were omitted. Still, they managed to satisfy most of their fans as they didn't neglect old crowd-pleasers like Plug In Baby, Hysteria, Knights Of Cydonia and of course Starlight.

While I still like the Black Holes album more than The Resistance, I must say that hearing the new songs live makes me appreciate them more. And I was quite surprised they performed Exogenesis. I thought it would be impossible to perform without a string section on tour, but never underestimate MUSE.

In fact, they often sounded bigger than they really were. Besides the three of them, they had a backing keyboard/guitarist on stage, and it is hard to believe the four of them could create such a wall of sound. They must have pre-programmed some stuff. But the musicianship of the individual members were astonishing.

Matt is truly a wonderful guitarist and it was evident during the occasions he had solos. It would have been great to see him do the Invincible solo. And he plays the piano well too. Pity he didn't do the Chopin outro on United States Of Eurasia.

Chris' bass is crazy. His basslines on songs like Hysteria are out of this world, and he's really tight. And Dom is a wonder to watch, mainly because he's so skinny and yet he can play so hard and be so precise. He's funny too.

I am hesitant to compare MUSE's gig to Green Day's because they're quite different in nature. I enjoyed both tremendously, but I think Green Day scored higher in terms of overall enjoyment and feelingness of "high". It's because Green Day were much more interactive, gimmicky and their songs were just so fun to sing, shout and jump along to. Whereas MUSE are definitely more talented musicians and their focus is on the music (awesome music). Nonetheless, both were great gigs.

2010 is off to a great start and I think the rest of the acts have a tough time trying to follow. The Killers might have added to a trio of great gigs in the first two months of the year, but unfortunately they had to pull out due to "unforeseen circumstances involving a serious illness of a close family member". I had my tickets for the show and like thousands of others who were anticipating the sold-out gig, I was a tad disappointed that they pulled out two days before the show. Still waiting for my refund.

Anyway, there are many gigs lined up - Kris Allen on 10th Feb, Paramore on 7th March, Kings Of Convenience on 18th & 19th March, Placebo on 18th March, the whole slew of Mosaic Music Festival performers, The Fray on 27th March and possibly more to come. Sounds exciting.

For now, here are my pictures of MUSE from the concert...

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