Updated: May 3
(Photo Credit: Nick Fincher)
It was my husband and I's first concert since COVID shut everything down. I think both of us didn't get overly excited about the concert because of the unspoken fear of everything shutting down again. I bought the tickets as a Christmas present for him, since Muse was the band that brought us together 15 years ago.
Remember MySpace? We'd spend hours adjusting our playlist, so when you'd pop on our personalized MySpace profile, you'd know exactly who you were meeting. Well, my now husband and I met through his cousin at a marching band competition in high school. Not much chatter, and so, thanks to social media, we were able to exchange information. Imagine my surprise when I went to his page and the first song to pop up "Knights of Cydonia". Muse was not a well-known band, and so, to go to a peer's profile and be greeted with this song, I knew he was something special.
My first message to him? "Hey - you like Muse, I like Muse. We should talk."
Smooth, I know. Haha.
Fast forward 15 years to the present, and the night of the concert took us by surprise. We found ourselves briskly walking up to the Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio, the air filled with excited chatter, bright lights, and smiling faces.
The location of the concert was clean, well-lit, and well-organized. We didn't struggle to find anything. Vendors and restrooms were well-situated throughout.
As we sat in our seats, I snorted in disbelief, I hadn't looked to see who the opening act was. As soon as I vocalized this - the lights dimmed and out walked Evanescence. If you have ever wondered if Amy Lee's vocals are as good as they are on the studio albums, I am here to testify, yes they are. The light show, and backup vocals -- the band shared the spotlight even though Amy Lee is their frontwoman.
The best performed song? My vote was for Lithium. Out of the middle of the stage, a grand piano rose up. Lee took a seat and poured her heart and soul into her performance. The band came back out to support the last portion -- all the music came together wonderfully.
Before she left stage, she reminded the audience that hope doesn't die. It takes every voice to rise up for what is right. We are hope.
In between Evanescence's inspiring performance and Muse's arrival, the audience had fun dancing to the music being blasted from speakers throughout the arena. For much of the time, audience members used the flashlights on their phones to add to the dances, connecting with complete strangers across the massive space. Honestly? It filled my heart with so much joy. I hadn't seen humans connecting so much since the pandemic, and it reminded me what a beautiful creation humans truly are.
To add to this, one of the sound crew walked the catwalk out to test lighting and sound -- the entire crowd started cheering for this gentleman. You could tell it was genuine love and support for this man's work for the performance.
Finally, MUSE arrived. I wish I could really properly describe it, but isn't that why we go to concerts? Because nothing can replace the feeling of being there, connecting with complete strangers over something we have in common -- music.
The opening notes of "Will of the People" blared as the band members walked out in their dystopian mirror masks and hooded appearances, starting this show off with pomp. Muse knows how to conduct a live performance, but throughout the entire thing, I could not help
but do a comparison.
In this day and age, there are two types of bands in live performances -- those like Jack White, who emphasize living in the moment and performances being "stripped down and real" and those like Muse, who embrace technology and use it to create a different type of memorable performance. I think both are quality and valuable in their own regards.
Muse had a backstory playing on the massive screens throughout their performance, warning the audience of what happens when governments are allowed to be corrupt. The music was real, interactive, and a wide variety of their career. Bellamy kept the audience engaged through sing-alongs, clapping, and his overall showmanship.
If ever given the chance to see this band live, take it. It is close to a week since we went, and my husband and I still look at each other, shake our heads and say -- what a show.