Muse in Chicago or How I almost Fainted during “Unsustainable”

2013-03-04_21-42-11_791United Center March 4th

I don’t know how I became so obsessed with Muse. Sure, I liked them well enough, but for some reason at the end of last year my love for them grew to obscene proportions. It was big enough to make me buy tickets to see them live. My desire to see them with my own eyes was almost as strong as my desire to see Green Day, who I’ve been waiting to see for 6 years. Either way March 4th will definitely be one of the best days of the year. Dead Sara. Muse. United Center. Fucking Epic.

The opening band Dead Sara really impressed me. In short, they’re girls who rock (well two of them are anyway) and I don’t mean rock out like Paramore. I mean hardcore rock. The singer Emily Armstrong has amazing, raspy vocals, sort of like a raging Janis Joplin. And her stage presence was bigger than her stature. She wasn’t afraid to thrash around, collapse to the ground, or even jump from the stack of amps on stage. If you love dirty riffs, insane energy, and Nirvana, then definitely check them out. They are rapidly becoming my new favorite band. And they seem cool in general. They hung around after the show to hand out free signed posters and take pictures. I’ve been to a lot of shows and so far they are the best opening band I’ve ever seen.

Then of course we get to Muse. Words can’t describe the tinging sensation, excitement, and overwhelming awe I felt when the opening strings to “Unsustainable” came on and they casually walked on stage before picking up their instruments to rock out. If you still think this track is awful, please check out a live version because it makes you appreciate it more. Hearing and seeing all those electronic sounds being made with Matt’s guitar is just amazing. I already liked the song well enough, but now it’s quickly becoming one of my favorites. Also, it’s just a great opener for the show; it gets you pumped, especially when you see the beginning of the pyramid descend from the ceiling. Yeah, my legs almost buckled when it came on. I felt myself moving backwards, but luckily I didn’t fall.

Then they launched into their new single “Supremacy,” which is even better in a live setting. In fact, it sounds like this song was written just to be played on stage. With it’s raging, booming guitar opening and the marching drums, it just really gets your energy going and it gets you excited for the rest of the show. Also, when Matt hits that note on the lyrics “You’re Suuuuuupremacy!!!!!!!” it gives you chills. He sounded so good during the entire concert that I could’ve just closed my eyes and just listened; I would still be happy. They didn’t waste anytime by saving the classics for the end of the show. After this track, they played the super sexy “Supermassive Black Hole.” This is when the visuals on the pyramid started going wild with random designs interspersed with the members faces on the big screen. Half the time you didn’t whether to look at the screens or the band!

The funktastic “Panic Station” was next with some weird visuals of purple aliens or robots dancing around on the screen. It really doesn’t matter; the point is it got the whole arena moving and grooving. Really, I was pretty satisfied with every song they played that night (I didn’t even mind “Explorers”). I felt they played the best songs from The 2nd Law and they mixed the playlist with new and old very well. Of course everyone freaked out during “Madness” otherwise known as the sexy song, especially when he embellished the lyrics with “What you fucking need.” Hey, it was hot. And “Follow Me” was basically a 4 minute laser light show. There were times where it looked like the green and purple lights were going to hit the crowd! But it was still stunning.

The highlights for me is when the piano came out of the floor and Matt sat down to play “Sunburn.” Also, the part where steel percussion drums were brought onstage and Dom walked over to them, I knew it was “Undisclosed Desires,” which I didn’t expect them to play. I’m not going to lie, I really wanted hear “Bliss,” but hearing two of my favorite songs, plus epic songs like “Knights of Cydonia” and “Time is Running Out” makes up for it. One of the coolest parts of the visuals were when they displayed a roulette table with the red and black spaces reading “New Born” and “Stockholm Syndrome.” The ball dropped from the top and the band stood aside as the graphics chose what song they would do next; it was “Stockholm Syndrome.” It was such a cool idea that I would love to go to a concert where the entire setlist is picked this way.

Aside from the visuals, how great they sounded, and how amazing Matt sounds live the guys being themselves made the show even better. I think one reason I fell in love with Muse is how humble they still seem. There was a moment during the show where Matt stopped and said “Oh, there’s people up there!” while pointing to the crowd in the nosebleeds. It’s like he didn’t expect people to actually pay money to be in shitty seats just to hear them play. And at the end Dom and Chris handed out picks and drumsticks to the crowd (I wasn’t close enough to partake). Also, at one point during a song Matt got in the crowd, started shaking hands, and played with the camera that followed him. It was beyond adorable. He also seemed to be taken aback by how much the crowd was singing along and he definitely encouraged us to do it more.

Overall, it was one of the best shows I’ve ever been to and when they come back here, I definitely want to see them again. It was my first Muse show and now I’m hooked! What makes the show so great is that you can tell they love playing for crowds both big and small. Their energy and the way Matt was jumping around onstage enjoying himself really showed that. When a band has passion like that you know they’re going to be awesome live and that they’re doing what they love for the right reasons. If you have the chance to see them this year, do it! It’s totally worth it and you’ll have a great time. Thanks again Muse for a memorable night.

Complete Setlist:

The 2nd Law: Unsustainable


Supermassive Black Hole

Panic Station




Knights of Cydonia

Monty Jam


Follow Me


Liquid State


Undisclosed Desires

Time is Running Out

Stockholm Syndrome

The 2nd Law: Isolated System







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