Muse w/ The Zutons (Monday, November 15th, 2004, Quest Club, Minneapolis)
By Jesse Norell
Muse’s show w/ The Zutons at the Quest was one of the shows moved
from First Avenue during its temporary closing, so I can only imagine
how this show would have been at that venue (or in their homeland of the
U.K. for that matter). At the Quest, I heard the concert and I saw some
of it on the TV screens, but if I’d had a decent view it would have
been a whole different experience.
The Zutons opened up the show
with some uneventful Lynyrd-Skynyrd-plus-a-saxophone rock. In fairness
though, the band did have some fun vocal jams.
45 minutes later, Muse took the stage
and opened with an extended version of “Butterflies & Hurricanes.”
Singer/guitarist Matthew Bellamy moved to the back of the stage to play
the ostentatious classical interlude that finishes the song on the keyboard.
Bellamy stayed there to play the intro the next song, a personal favorite
of mine, “Newborn,” that begins with an evil circus-style
keyboard and bass line before the guitar and drums come thrashing in.
The energy for this song was amazing as it was for the entire show. Instead
of just playing the guitar solo for “Newborn,” for example,
Bellamy kicked on some crazy effect and went absolutely ape on it. There
were moments I would have liked it if Bellamy had stuck to the recorded
parts, as Muse concerts are so noisy and feedback-laden as it is. But
I guess when you have so many toys (Bellamy has some sort of touch-pad
effect built into the body of one of his guitars) you have to play with
The crowd really seemed to enjoy this show. There was a lot of crowd surfing
and hopping around, but not so much singing along that it drowned out
the band (as was the case when I saw them in Chicago in April).
It was about this time I decided to put in my earplugs as the highs in
the mix were hurting my ears. I’m convinced that the sound techs
at the Quest must also wear earplugs because everything sounded 10 times
better when I put mine in.
“Muscle Museum” was the only song Muse played off their first
album Showbiz. It sounds like a reggae remix of a Legend of Zelda (http://www.zelda.com/
) dungeon level with a fat, melodic chorus. Bellamy switched to a seven-string
guitar for “Citizen Erased.” On their last trip through the
U.S., he jumped, fell, and smashed his face on his guitar during this
song, which nearly canceled the Chicago show a few days later. It seemed
like Bellamy was even less reserved this time when they played this song.
It may be the only song worthy of smashing your face on something.
Muse seemed to make a set change and played the last track off their newest
album Absolution called “Ruled by Secrecy.” The beginning
was exaggeratedly quiet with just keyboard and vocals, then became ridiculously
loud with overdriven bass and drums---all with a waltz feel.
The concert had already been good so far, but Muse stepped it up to a
new level after ten songs. They played a short funk groove that served
as the intro to their most popular U.S. song, “Time Is Running Out.”
Chris Wolstenholme’s bass sounded like a distorted moog just like
on the CD, which means he was either faking it and Muse plays to a tape,
or he’s the greatest bass player in the world. The crowd loved it,
and Muse fed off the energy.
The band closed with “Bliss,” putting everything they had
into it. It featured Bellamy playing on the floor, swinging his guitar
around, digging into his guitar with his elbow locked like Green Day,
and doing a vocal freak-out over one entire chorus.
The band played two encores: “Plug in Baby” from Origin of
Symmetry (their second and, in my opinion, best album) and finally “Stockholm
Syndrome.” At the end of the final encore, latex bubbles filled
with confetti were dropped from the balcony. I jumped up and popped one
with my pen---such fun! In Chicago Muse did one post-ending jam. This
time, the pandemonium was such that they did three of them. It was obvious
they had lots of fun at this show.
Muse Setlist - The Quest, Minneapolis - 11/15/04
1. Butterflies and Hurricanes
3. The Small Print
4. Sing for Absolution
5. Muscle Museum
6. Citizen Erased
7. Ruled by Secrecy
8. Apocalypse Please
10. Thoughts of a Dying Atheist
- Groove Interlude
11. Time is Running Out
13. Plug in Baby
14. Stockholm Syndrome