– review of the show at the Perfect Vodka Amphitheater (Wellington).
On a warm summer night in late May, a supernova happened. It was anticipated in the forecasts, disbelieved by the researchers and exceeded expectations of those starry eyed wayfarers in West Palm Beach, those loyalists who never stop looking up. It is for those dreamers that a brave new world was created by Muse, 30 Seconds To Mars and PVRIS in three parts and will be told in a fashion best documenting it.
Perhaps one of the most interesting parts of PVRIS is how perfectly suited they are for this tour. Not your typical opener fare, nor are they overpowering, instead they are the most accurate embodiment of both main acts best traits. Possessing the youthful passion and vigor of Thirty Seconds To Mars, as well as Muse’s worthy confidence it’s an ultimately incredibly rare Cinderella fit and exactly what the Lowell, MA act needs for it’s eclectic sound.
Stepping often between rock and pop barriers with impressive balance, peppered just right with Lyndsey Gunnulfsen’s alluring and mysterious mix of Stevie Nicks and Hayley Williams vocal prowess and combined with the band’s chemistry in tracks such as You And I as well as Heaven, they rose to the more than daunting task of opening for rock staples without fear, as well as slyly slipping in their own card for the future and what it gladly holds for them.
Establishing barriers in a new land is tricky. Overstretch the borders and you’ll find pockets of land that don’t quite fit. Underutilize, and you’re left without breadth.
Here is where we find 30 Seconds To Mars, already equipped with a map of the world and courageously looking to widen it’s scope after their two year hiatus. In front of one of the band’s many symbols, the white Triad, Jared Leto arrived on the summer stage adorned in a red regal cloak and blue sneakers, alongside band and teammates, Tomo Milicevic on guitar and the elder Leto, Shannon, on drums. And here, it’s important to note something that should already be addressed.
Regardless of your opinion on the younger Leto outside of the sonic realm, it should disappear when entering the arena or sitting alongside your speaker of choice. Pop in and listen or watch as the Los Angeles trio and you can’t deny the power, scope and ambition the band possess, which could be deemed impossible, by those who don’t understand it. From tracks such as Kings & Queens to City of Angels, each is as dedicated to the listeners as much as it is autobiographical.
Explore each member’s background briefly, Milicevic coming from Croatia to Detroit as a child and both Jared and Shannon hailing primarily from Bossier City, LA, and you’ll find the exact origin of their revered and admirable passion: they have fought, bled, bloodied and bruised themselves for their dreams, which is a venture incredibly hard to do.
The band, who in addition to this have also fought their record label for unpaid royalties and ultimately, for every artist that’s been taken advantage of, continues regardless, evolving in different ways.
Throughout this, they remain themselves, Milicevic still a master of smiles and his craft of multitasking both in instruments (switching between drum, guitar and keys) Shannon L., who is still one of the greatest modern drummers out there and Jared who is very much like Prince. Not in the sense of the aforementioned robe, but in style, a sentiment which is perhaps shared throughout the band. Going back to those autobiographical tracks, even in This Is War and Do Or Die, there is an honesty to them that is unashamedly bare, evident in Prince’s Little Red Corvette, a pop ballad on the outside and bare knuckled honest to those that know it. Despite the eccentricities and the put-on, if you take a listen, it’s easy to see that beneath the persona, the band is as honest as it gets, not for vanity sake, but to inspire others as they were.
It’s one of the biggest reasons why their fan base, the Echelon, have never wavered even after the nearly 20 years and why their love for their fans has not abated either, going the extreme extra mile such as often including fans in music videos, if not entirely dedicating the videos themselves to the fan base.
One of the examples of this is Jared’s venture into the center of a crowd to play The Kill and Attack in a more intimate way, armed only with an acoustic guitar and microphone, often engaging in banter with fans around him or even at the finish, as they closed with Closer To The Edge, inviting fans from both the barrier and the lawn to come on stage, resulting in the biggest treat for a fan and the most dreaded nightmare of a venue security guard to ever exist (that, or when Jared decided climbing the amphitheater’s rafters during one of 103.1’s infamous Buzz Bake Sales was a good idea).
And as the band exited, Thanking the crowd once again for their patience and teasing a very brief snippet of the 2017 return of the band, it’s good to know that dreamers still exist, still believe and that that philosophy will never die.
Just as with the forming of the aforementioned, seeing Muse in and of itself is a life-changing experience. Seeing them in a venue half the size of the arenas the three piece can sell in the US and a quarter of the size of the venues that they regularly sell out in their homeland of the UK, it’s a safe assumption that this may never actually happen again. It’s because in this instance, much like the Nine Inch Nails/Jane’s Addiction NINJA tour, their usual elaborate and pure edge candy visuals had to be miniaturized to fit the modest stage, which makes the experience all the more special.
And though West Palm’s audience is and always will be made of music loyalists, this small chance of uncertainty preempted the crowd to turn it up further, taking the appreciation level up to Spinal Tap levels.
Opening with newest single Dig Down, Muse wasted no time and flourishing the way only they can, already hyping the crowd to fevered levels and cranking it once more, starting Psycho with a digitized drill sergeant and his private, surrendering to power. One of the more awe-inspiring elements of the act is their supremacy, more than deserved due to the unparalleled synchronicity of their best abilities between members.
Whether you play drums, bass, guitar or piano, a good chunk will say that a Muse is sitting in their tabs or perhaps that, Hysteria or Stockholm Syndrome (the latter unfortunately not being played this night) in particular, were one of the first pieces they wanted to learn, not only due to their layering, but the speed in which they’re done. It is an exercise in mastery and talent, one which the band are so deliciously brilliant at.
Look no further than Matt Bellamy’s incredible vocal range and sonic guitar fingering, Dom Howard’s ability to play hard, but make it look as easy and cool as Jason Bonham or Chris Wolstenholme’s underappreciated bass beauty, further exemplified in his LED fretboard.
This extends even further in their more than unrecognized field of progressive rock, done in The Globalist, a 10 plus minute Bohemian Rhapsody like rock opera narrated on the video screens by an apocalyptic war, and the ending cataclysm of space age peace at a cost, a beautiful array of stars and cosmos bedazzling the screen.
The band’s longtime passion for the final frontiers drips like stardust into their storytelling, ranging from dystopianism in Uprising, sincerity and technological ingenuity in Madness and all out celebration in Starlight, with Bellamy walking throughout the venue, from the edge of the lawn and all the way back to the front, as paper men shaped confetti, streamers and Hullabaloons raining down from the rafters, Bellamy also high-fiving any and all fans on the way back.
It’s this, and so much more, that Muse is the definition of a stadium band. This is an act that consistently delivers a show that is unprecedented, unparalleled and most importantly, different every time.
From the uniqueness of the visuals (covering New Kind of Kick, Bellamy’s face and visuals covering the platforms as Wolstenholme and Howard kept their beautiful momentum) to the rebellion in their lyrics, infamous in Uprising and Time is Running Out, in just 2 hours, all of the amphitheater became Reading, Glastonbury, the O2 Arena and a taste of what passion feels like, as the crowd reflected what the band brought: chaos and a never-ending charge of wonder, with no official breaks or intermissions, disguised with lengthened intros or visuals.
The climax of all this coming in Knights of Cydonia, an electronic/rock western that is the perfect rallying cry for the current climate, as the lyrics of the chorus flashed on screen and all caught up in the hurricane that is the Devon trio, singing along to it.
And as we conclude this journey, passion is an important thing to go back to. In the creation of a city, country or world, it is an essential and vital element. Fire can ravage the land, but it is the passion of the wind that decides which direction it shapes.
A single skyscraper is a monument to architecture, but it’s passion that brings it’s creator the incentive to not just climb higher, but further into the unknown.
Yes, the world belongs to dreamers, the eccentric, odd and head-bangers. And Thanks to the acts of the bands this night, that sentiment is not forgotten.
Regardless of when you hear a supernova burst, it’s where you hear it that counts. And the galaxy just happened to be at the right place, at the right time, for a ripple effect that will shape the cosmos.