Muse at the Pageant w/ Razorlight: Bliss
By
J. Gordon
4/29/2005 8:22:06 AM

Mea culpa. Almost exactly a year ago, I reviewed Muse’s Absolution CD and pegged them as another Radiohead. I repent. Yeah, there’s a little of that Radiohead stuff going on (which can only be a great thing)—but one just has to witness them live to understand the depth and breadth of this young band. St. Louis was lucky enough to be graced with them for the second time in six months at the Pageant.

Openers Razorlight, also from the UK, started the festivities with a messy, enthusiastic, optimistically-moody, and very well-received set, especially given the audience’s anticipation for the headliner, Muse. Razorlight’s high-energy, creative song-structure and harmonious backing vocals well-complement their lead singer, Johnny Borrell’s young, post-grunge showmanship. It’s obvious that there’s a lot going on in this music, even if some of it was lost in the sound mix of this live show. The Razorlight debut album Up All Night [Universal] is one that will definitely be investigated here at NT HQ.

After what seemed like an eternal delay, Muse took the stage at 9:30 p.m (OK, so we were just over-anxious!). With the same stage set they had in November, flashing 88 colored panels in a synchronized dance with the keyboard keys, keyboardist/lead singer/guitarist/ showman extraordinaire Matthew Bellamy opened the show with the amazing song, “Apocalypse.” Dressed in a dapper black button-down shirt with thin red stripes, black slacks and white running shoes, Bellamy was dressed for both style and action--accomodating the high kicks and deep squats he pulled off throughout the evening. For the second track, “Hysteria,” Bellamy picked up the guitar and this gig quickly evolved into a full-on rock show. With his trademark perfect pitch, his astounding range, and his ability to thrash on multi-instruments and still hold it together vocally, Bellamy positively reeks of talent. Really, it’s insane that one young guy should be capable of so much power and beauty.

The other guys in the band Muse were tight, too. They have to be. Bellamy casts such a huge shadow over most musicians that only the best can keep up. Some sound problems affected the theater’s stage left but they were quickly resolved. When Bellamy’s smooth and gentle vocals weren’t caressing the crowd, he was inciting a riot of ecstasy with building sonic fury. He played with radio frequency during “Newborn” and added a considerable amount of electronics and distortion to “Citizen Erased”—reminding us that this was indeed a live show to shake up the album-perfect vocal rendition. Save for a few brief moments of crowd-surfing, the audience for the most part, stood mesmerized, gently swaying, or occasionally caught up in some fist-pumping energy. “Time is Running Out” was a high point, both energetically and artistically. The audience was singing so loud that Bellamy gave them the job of the chorus—and they pulled it off. The last song was “Bliss”, followed by an encore of “Plug In Baby” and “Dealer’s Choice,” complete with their signature giant balloons filled with confetti bouncing around the crowd. As is Muse’s style, there was very little stage banter beyond a hello and goodnight to St. Louis, but the small talk wasn’t missed as Muse gave us much, much more.

Photo credit: Sam Gordon

 

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