A musing to be remembered

The rock band MUSE rolled into Boca Raton for opening night of the 2005 mtvU Campus Invasion Tour. Excitement was in the air as the band took the stage inside Florida Atlantic University’s 2,400 seat auditorium. The band opened with “Apocalypse Please,” the same dramatic number that starts off their first major label release, Absolution. The album is fantastic. It is rich with pop-friendly hooks and occasionally dabbles into emotional piano fueled ballads. However, the thing you will take most from the record is the fact that MUSE is a breath of rock and roll fresh air.

I remember first seeing and hearing MUSE on mtvU when their video for “Hysteria” was in heavy rotation. I was floored by the sheer magnitude of the song. Nothing compares to seeing this band live, however, as MUSE provides one of the most sonically and visually exciting concerts ever.

The band tore through their set with reckless abandon. Outrageously loud volume and a fantastic light show provided an assault on the senses of all in attendance. Frontman Matthew Bellamy was a monster onstage, switching from guitar to piano without missing a note. Although Bellamy did not work the crowd, he really had no need to. The music speaks for itself. Songs like “Time Is Running Out” and “Thoughts of a Dying Atheist” rock harder than most anything from today’s young bands. The sound is unique, well-layered and fresh. It would be unfair to compare MUSE to any other band.

Bassist Chris Wolstenholme is astonishingly talented and has chops reminiscent of the great John Entwistle. His wicked bass lines hold the band together and allow Bellamy to go crazy with his guitar effects. Left-handed drummer Dominic Howard’s flawless play rounds out the most bountiful sounding three-piece act in modern rock.

The crowd shared in the bombast of the night and stayed standing from start to finish. Giant confetti-loaded balloons circled the stage and crowd at the close of the show. It was one of the coolest and most ingenious props I’ve ever encountered. When Bellamy smashed one balloon with the neck of his guitar on the band’s closing number, mesmerizing red confetti exploded out and flew over the crowd. As the house lights came up, bright red paper remained suspended high in the air. It was a fitting end to a set which left the crowd feeling high long after the music ceased.

John Heslin can be contacted at j.heslin@umiami.edu