Muse and Silversun Pickups at US Airways Center: Minds Blown, Lives Changed

You guys saw that, right? You watched the veils drop on the three towers revealing all three members of British arena rockers Muse as they ripped into "Uprising"? You saw them perched over 20 feet high on their respective stages, the lights shining bright on them as the crowd went absolutely bonkers? That was, for lack of a better term, pretty fucking insane.

Hyperbole knows no bounds when Muse is in town. The band, knocking around since the mid-1990s, is unabashedly an arena rock band, if 2009's The Resistance is to be their barometer. Last night, however, wasn't just three dudes playing loud music in front of a "MUSE" banner. No -- last night was a spectacle of what arena rock should be. Muse is signed to Warner Bros., for fuck's sake, they have some extra cash to throw around -- a little extra something to make sure no one in attendance at their shows is going to leave without just a bit of their mind having been blown. That is most likely the overwhelming consensus for those lucky fans in attendance Friday night.

Silversun Pickups had the (understandably) unenviable task of opening for Muse. The L.A. foursome held it down quite well, starting their set promptly at 7:30 PM, as was scheduled. Lead singer Brian Aubert had quite a rapport with the crowd, effectively talking up the night's featured band and their soon-to-be amazing set. Near the end of Silversun Pickups' set, Aubert asked the crowd, "Do you give a rat's ass about your brain?" knowing full well what was about to be unleashed on the crowd in less than an hour. His intention, in asking the question, was to foreshadow Muse's elaborate stage show -- indicating that it just might fry everyone's circuits. There crowd had a sense, then, of what was to come -- but nothing, not even a warning from the opening band, could prepare them for Muse.

Let's get back to those veils -- curtains, if you will -- dropping off the tower right around 8:50 PM, revealing Matthew Bellamy, Christopher Wolstenholme, and Dominic Howard. It was the only appropriate way to introduce Muse, as grandiose and over-the-top an entrance as you'll see at a rock concert these days. Playing somewhere like US Airways Center demands that a band fill out the arena -- not just with their sound. No one's arguing that the band's sound can't fill a arena, but with live shows being as innovative as they are these days, the visual element has to be in full force, and Muse knows this. The smoke, the lasers, the video cameras projecting each band member onto their respective tower -- it all worked, and it was quite a sight to behold.

Whatever words I can muster to try to convey what occurred last night simply cannot do it justice. The pictures will illustrate far better the spectacle that is Muse than I ever can. One thing I can say, though, is that the biggest reaction out of the crowd (other than when the band first "took" the stage) was the immediately after the first chorus of "Time Is Running Out," the band's 12th song of the evening. Not a single person wasn't losing their mind for a cloud of smoke or the green lasers. It was Wolstenholme's bass, Howard's drumming and Bellamy's guitar that took the reins, and that's all the crowd needed. Sure, Muse's live performances are soon to be the stuff of legend -- mind-blowing, life-altering experiences. For all the grandeur, all the hoopla, the ineffective hyperbole, Muse can still play a loud, ass-kicking rock show, one that reminds fans why they fell in love with the band in the first place. 

Not a single person in attendance (even Chester Bennington!) Friday night will ever, ever forget what they witnessed. Love the band or hate them, they are professional entertainers, and calling what Muse did last night "entertainment" doesn't at all do it justice. 

It's safe to say that last night's crowd got their money's worth -- and then some. The bar has been permanently raised for arena rock spectacles, and we all have Muse to thank for that.

Last Night: Muse and Silversun Pickups at US Airways Center (Centre if you're fancy).

Better Than: Possibly a multitude of previous shows that took place at US Airways (USAC if you're hip). People say Pink's show was great, but Muse's performance is going to be hard to beat.

Personal Bias: I once owned a shirt with Muse's logo on it -- in 2005. However, I will always have a soft spot for 2006's Black Holes and Revelations. That album always sounds fantastic.

By The Way: Muse gets extra bonus points for playing "Supermassive Black Hole" as their 4th song right as I was thinking, "Hell, 'Black Hole' would kick some serious ass right now." Following that with "Hysteria" was transcending.

One More Thing: Jacking up the beer prices by a whole dollar is nonsense, US Airways Center. Now I can't even get two bottled beers for $20. Not cool.

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