I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Muse is one of the best live acts today and even though this new CD/DVD set is great, it will never be the same as seeing them in person. Either way Muse’s latest live release is taken from their massive gig in Rome earlier this summer. As always they sound amazing and the setlist is pretty good, with a few exceptions. But what makes the set really great is that it has a number of songs from The 2nd Law and though it may not be their most popular album, hearing the best songs from the record live gives you a new appreciation for it.
Visuals and Muse go hand in hand, which is why the DVD is the better disc out of the two. It allows you to not only see their intense energy on stage, but also the crazy visuals that seem to come out of nowhere. This show is especially epic. For the outdoor performances, the band went bigger and better for the visuals and effects. Giant screens across the stage shows the band in their element along with odd images, such as a dancing Obama and Pope during the funky “Panic Station” or black and white lips flying at you replacing the choir on “Survival.” During “Guiding Light” while Matt croons on stage, acrobats spinning on the end of giant inflatable light bulbs hover across the audience. Another new element to the show is the addition of on stage actors interpreting the song, such as the business woman taking her own life during “Feeling Good.” Moments like this take your breath away and show just how far the band will go to leave the crowd in awe.
The DVD portion also shows how they are trying to connect with their fans. Even though they are performing in a massive stadium, Matt finds a way to make every person there feel special. During “Undisclosed Desires” Matt makes his way through the crowd, shaking hands and giving out hugs to shrieking fans. He also encourages crowd singing and other participation. Also, periodically there’ll be a camera on a crane that he has fun with and shows off his silly side. It may not be much, but it proves that they want to connect with their fans and they have the ability to reach out to every person in the arena. The addition of the show on CD is great because Muse sounds so good they manage to blow you away without their fantastical visuals in your face.
The set list is pretty solid covering the best songs from their last album, while throwing in their classic hits. “Plug in Baby” gets the crowd wild, while “Animals” provides a rare hushed moment. Matt even sits at the piano to play fan favorite “Feeling Good.” The moments I could’ve done without are “Guiding Light” and “Explorers.” The songs aren’t that bad and the guys sound great when performing them; they’re just not my favorite Muse tracks. The thing that’s really annoying about the set is how the CD portion excludes some of the tracks from the show. This also occurred on the HAARP release. I’m not sure why so many CD/DVD combos do this, but it’s kind of annoying. The CD leaves off a stellar version of “Survival” along with their classics “Plug in Baby” and “Time is Running Out.” I can understand leaving off some of the songs that have appeared on other live releases, but why “Survival?” I would rather hear that than another live version of “Hysteria.”
Overall, the release gets 8.5/10. As with the other Muse live albums, this one is great. The setlist is pretty good, the visuals are mind blowing, and as always they sound amazing. It doesn’t compare to seeing the band live for yourself, but this is a pretty good substitute. If you want to hear live renditions of the best songs from The 2nd Law, plus some of Muse’s big hits then this is the set for you. The band sweetens the deal by throwing in some additional behind the scenes footage, plus bonus performances from the tour of tracks not included in the initial show. It’s a great and worthwhile addition to your Muse collection.