At their March 12 concert in United Center, Muse definitely lived up to their reputation for being over the top. Columns that stretched from the stage to near the ceiling of the huge stadium parted to reveal Matt Bellamy (vocals/guitar), Dominic Howard (drums) and Chris Wolstenholme (bass/ backing vocals). The columns lit up with prerecorded animations mixed with live feed of Muse and the audience. The whole show was completely the show that you expect Muse to put on, right down to Bellamy, who seemed to be wearing a dark purple pleather suit.
During “Newborn” from Origin of Symmetry (2001), Bellamy hopped down from the column he was on (which had sunk to the stage) and proceeded to kneel on the stage, playing the nonstop from the column to the stage. Green strobe lights and dots also appeared during “Newborn.”
Bellamy stayed on the stage for about four songs. Even after the first full song on stage, “Map of the Problematique,” (Black Holes and Revelations, 2006) it was apparent that Bellamy could not stand still on stage. He jumped around in place, wandered around and was constantly moving even when standing at the microphone.
“Guiding Light”, (The Resistance, 2009) was received very positively by the audience who clapped most of the song, while Bellamy stayed still most of the song. The skill of the technology crew with Muse was truly impressive; after “Hysteria,” (Absolution) Bellamy waved his hands and exactly on cue the columns changed animation. “I’ll be back in a few minutes,” said Bellamy, who ran off stage and reappeared with a clear piano that rose from beneath the stage. The piano was used for “United States of Eurasia,” (The Resistance) and “Feeling Good,” (Origin of Symmetry).
“Starlight,” (Black Holes and Revelations) and “Time is Running Out,” (Absolution, 2003) received huge cheers and audience participation. Wolstenholme and Howard showed they are no backup musicians while Bellamy got ready for “Undisclosed Desires,” (The Resistance). Together they improvised for several minutes, standing on a revolving stage in one of the columns. Howard played the drums to their fullest.
Before going into “Plug in Baby,” (Origin of Symmetry) Bellamy displayed his talent by kneeling and making the guitar whine up and down the neck. Then, during the song, he spun himself and the guitar around while continuing to play.
As the show ended, huge eyeball beach balls fell into the audience. Of course, the crowd was not done with Muse, so the band obliged the audience chants of “encore” and “Muse” by performing a short encore. After two songs Wolstenholme played the harmonica theme song while Bellamy amused himself by spinning the spotlight in circles. Muse closed out the concert (for real this time) with “Knights of Cydonia,” (Black Holes and Revelations). On the last notes steam bursts erupted from the stage, emphasizing the over-the-top act that is Muse.
Muse set list
3. Newborn, Headup riff
4. Map of the Problematique, Who Knows Who riff
5. Supermassive Black Hole
6. Guiding Light
7. Interlude, People of the
Sun intro, Hysteria
9. United States of Eurasia
10. Take a Bow intro, Feeling
11. Helsinki jam
12. Undisclosed Desires
14. Unnatural Selection
15. Burning Bridges, Time is
16. Plug in Baby
17. Exogenisis: Symphony Part 1 (Overture)
18. Stockholm Syndrome, riff
19. Man With a Harmonica
intro, Knights of Cydonia