By Jennifer Chen
In the midst of exams last semester, I was asked to attend a concert by the band, Muse. I’ve never heard of them before, but hey, it’s a concert and I was stressed so of course I’d be down to go. No questions asked. As we lined up outside Bell Centre, I was both surprised and impressed at the age and ethnic diversity of the crowd that Muse had attracted. Once inside, I found that Muse took a different approach to the setup of the stage than most of the other concerts I’ve been to at Bell Centre. Instead of featuring a large stage at the end of the arena with extensions towards the middle of the crowd on the floor, Muse had a large rotating stage in the middle of the floor and had long extensions out the main stage towards the far corners of the arena, letting everyone in the crowd view the same angles regardless of seating arrangement.
We entered the arena later than initially planned and missed most of the opening act, the X Ambassadors. Luckily, we were able to catch “Renegades”, the only song by them I know of. With a loud, rock sound with subtler ethereal undertones, they had a distinct style comparable to that of Imagine Dragons or the recent Mumford and Sons album. Engrossing the crowd with their performance, X Ambassadors were able to hype them for when Muse finally hit the stage.
As a passionate emo-rock fan, Muse was right up my alley, with their very distinctly recognizable sound produced by Matthew Bellamy’s singing techniques and the driven, distorted bass. They brought more energy and connected to the audience in a way their recordings couldn’t possibly do, and I was blown away. Even for a concert of this large scale, the cinematography, lighting, props, etc. were so magnificent. If it was even possible, some of the effects that were used impressed me even more than the actual musical performance. For example, during their performance of “The Handler”, large translucent screens were used to project the image of two hands to make it seem like puppet masters were controlling the band members.
Given that Muse was such a long-standing figure in the music industry, many fans at the concert were long-time fans and when the band played their older classic songs, it was very heartwarming watching everyone stand up and sing along. I constantly replay the performance of “Starlight” through my head, just remembering everyone’s voices and the atmosphere in the venue.
Now, everyone reading this may not have heard of Muse (that’s me!), but those that do, know of the amazing music they put out. A rock band who’s been established as long as I’ve been alive, Muse has always been able to come up with new ideas to intrigue their listeners with. Their most recent album, Drones, captures a journey from the path of abandonment to proselytize as a “human drone” to rebellion. However, with this album they’ve gone back to a simpler rock sound emphasizing their instrumental skills.
Like the journeys experienced in their albums, I could tell the differences in style between each song, and they proved to me and all others at the Bell Centre why they’re such a prevalent name in the music industry. As I walked out, I was still caught up in the emotion of the concert. There were no regrets attending this concert whatsoever. I absolutely loved it.