Live Review: Muse – Budweiser Stage, Toronto, 18 July 2017
Live Review: Muse – Budweiser Stage, Toronto, 18 July 2017 by Mark Wong
This year I got the opportunity to go to Canada. However one of the reasons why I’m in Toronto this summer is because of one band: Muse. A lot of my friends called me ‘crazy’ for travelling across the world to watch the Teignmouth space-rock trio perform for the ninth time. Muse are one of the few bands that I will keep going to see every time they announce a tour. This is because of the monumental shows that they put on.
Live Review: Muse – Budweiser Stage, Toronto, 18 July 2017
PVRIS are the first band to come on. They’re all dressed exactly the same wearing black t-shirts and skinny jeans. While they have to dress professionally, I do feel sorry for them as Toronto’s weather is at a scorching 27 degrees tonight!
They open up with new song Half which pulses energy into the crowd. At the end of Half, lead singer Lyndsey Gunnulfsen picks up a set of drum sticks and hits the cymbals on drummer Brad Griffin’s kit. During most of PVRIS’ set, Gunnulfsen does struggle quite a bit in hitting some notes. However PVRIS pull it back in tracks like Heaven. They close with My House. The upbeat chorus has everyone jumping off their feet.
From the opening seconds of Up In The Air, Thirty Seconds to Mars lead singer Jared Leto has the crowd in the palm of his hand. Leto is dressed rather strangely, donning a red robe while wearing a cap backwards, rudeboy style. After fours years of not seeing them play live, I’ve forgotten how much I absolutely adore Leto as a frontman. The way he commands the stage is extraordinary. They play numbers such as This Is War, City of Angels and Kings & Queens where Leto gets every single person in the audience to participate.
Leto plays an acoustic version of The Kill but in the middle of the amphitheatre! He mentions how polite Canadian people are as a fan came up to him yesterday saying: “Way to go! Excellent show”. For the last song Closer to the Edge they invite fans to come up on stage. The highlight of their set is when Leto asked the audience if he could record them for their upcoming new album. Toronto has been the only city on this tour that has been recorded to sing on the new album. It’s not everyday you get to say that you sung on a Thirty Seconds To Mars record!
“Leto is dressed rather strangely, donning a red robe while wearing a cap backwards, rudeboy style. After fours years of not seeing them play live, I’ve forgotten how much I absolutely adore Leto as a frontman. The way he commands the stage is extraordinary…”
The sun finally sets and the tension is building in anticipation for Muse. It’s at this moment that I’m also very anxious as I’ve managed to secure a fantastic position in the crowd, being six rows from the front! The interval music cuts out and 16,000 fans begin to scream. Muse open with the dubstep inspired Dig Down. Matt Bellamy dons a flowery bomber jacket and illuminating shutter shades.
Bassist Chris Wolstenholme walks onto the mini catwalk and plays Hysteria’s fuzzy bassline effortlessly. Simultaneously Bellamy channels the spirit of Rage Against the Machine’s guitarist Tom Morello by scratching his hands against the strings of his guitar. Witnessing Wolstenholme’s hypnotising dexterity on the bass guitar always reminds me of how inspirational he is as a player. He is one of the very few bass players in today’s rock scene that still does something very innovative with it.
Before Plug In Baby Bellamy twists the knobs on his guitar in an attempt to get the audience to mimic the sound of these squealing noises. Just when the song is about to finish I look over my shoulder to find that someone is already trying to sing back the insanely high falsetto part. Trying to imitate Bellamy’s vocal range is possibly the hardest thing you’ll ever do at a Muse gig.
Munich Jam & Muse’s cover of The Cramps’ New Kind of Kick are segments in the night that give drummer Dominic Howard & Chris Wolstenholme to shine. Their magnetic chemistry is absolutely mesmerising to watch. However I do feel that New Kind of Kick was unnecessary as Bellamy’s vocal track is played back. Another song could have been played instead of this.
“There is a lot of love for rock pioneers Led Zeppelin tonight as their legendary riffs are jammed out at the end of songs, like Heartbreaker at the end of Time Is Running Out, for example. Even Thirty Seconds to Mars guitarist Tomo Miličević played a snippet of The Ocean!”
Madness & Dead Inside emphasises how hard Bellamy has to push his vocal range. Every time Bellamy sings “I need your love” in Madness I get goosebumps as he manages to hit the note even higher live than he does on record.
There is a lot of love for rock pioneers Led Zeppelin tonight as their legendary riffs are jammed out at the end of songs, like Heartbreaker at the end of Time Is Running Out, for example. Even Thirty Seconds to Mars guitarist Tomo Miličević played a snippet of The Ocean! Muse close with the epic Knights of Cydonia. Wolstenholme starts off by playing Ennio Morricone’s iconic theme from Once Upon A Time in the West: Man With Harmonica. It’s a perfect song to close any set as the massive riff at the end has everyone going absolutely ballistic.
While it may have been my ninth time seeing Muse live, tonight’s gig meant a lot to me. Getting the chance to see three of my favourite bands in one night has easily made this one of my top ten gigs of all time. I really couldn’t have asked for a better line-up.
Full Setlist from Live Review: Muse – Budweiser Stage, Toronto, 18 July 2017
1. Dig Down
5. Map of the Problematique
6. Plug In Baby
7. The 2nd Law: Isolated System
8. Stockholm Syndrome
9. Supermassive Black Hole
10. New Kind of Kick (The Cramps Cover)
12. Dead Inside
13. Munich Jam
15. Time Is Running Out
17. The Globalist
Encore from Live Review: Muse – Budweiser Stage, Toronto, 18 July 2017
2. Knights of Cydonia