Muse at Target Center, 3/7/13

Categories: Last Night
Photo by Tony Nelson
With Dead Sara
Target Center, Minneapolis
Thursday, March 7, 2013

When it came time for the finale last night at Target Center, Muse didn't leave anything to chance. Well, scratch that -- maybe a little bit: The high-definition LED screens that wrapped around the stage suddenly transformed into a giant roulette wheel, and -- whether it was scripted or not -- for a moment the set list hung in the balance. Then the ball landed: "Stockholm Syndrome."

As the band tore through "Stockholm's" nigh-on-metal riff, the Jumbotron-sized screens overhead began flashing and spinning, then rotating up and down with one another. Finally, as the Brits hit the song's climax, the screens lowered all the way down to the stage, until they'd surrounded the band and formed a pyramid, completely blocking them from view. The screens lit up with ominous images of eyes and men in suits.

And the song, with that, was over.

See Also:
Slideshow: Muse at Target Center, 3/7/13
Muse at Target Center, 10/5/10

Everything about Muse's show last night was played out on the largest of scales. The set -- as could be expected of an arena show -- was lavish, with not only the aforementioned LED screens, but also three separate stage levels that included a runway. Drummer Dominic Howard was set up right in the middle of it all, his kit set on risers at center stage, and throughout the night there were lasers and smoke at almost every turn. Even the endless series of guitars had lights on the necks that glowed in the dark every time the house lights went down.

(Did we forget the sunglasses with the song lyrics on them? There were those, too. Oh hell, yes, there were.)


Photos by Tony Nelson
And the band itself delivered in kind. There were moments of calm scattered among the set list, but for the most part, Muse went flat-out for the entire hour and 40 minutes that they played. Just about every song, one way or another, not only rocked, but did so on an anthemic scale -- with Matthew Bellamy's big, finger-tapped guitar solos full of screaming distortion and whammy bar dives, or huge drum flourishes that swarmed the room with the snaps of Howard's double-bass pedal. This was a band with everything, and lots of it.

Which is what made some of the show's themes feel a little incongruous -- namely, the political rabble-rousing (which, however vague the message may have been, there was nonetheless plenty of). That massive finale during "Stockholm," for instance? Once the pyramid had formed and the song was over, the screens cut to scenes of people running through what looked like a war zone, before the band reemerged and finished off the main set with the dystopian warnings of "Uprising." Set against the ostentatiousness of everything surrounding it, the Orwellian specter rang a little hollow.

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