Muse Dazzles at Stunning Summer Tour Kickoff in West Palm Beach

Danny Clinch
Muse

British arena rockers Muse unapologetically kicked off their summer North American tour at the Perfect Vodka Amphitheatre in West Palm Beach, Fla., with the brand-new song “Dig Down,” a track that explores the group’s perennial obsession with oppression and liberation. It was ballsy to launch the tour with something brand-new, and like everything Muse does on the stage, it was riveting and effective. 

While “Dig Down” obliquely references Trump and other global ills in its lyrics (“When hope and love has been lost / When God decides to look the other way and a clown takes the throne / Dig down and find faith”), in the end the social imagery and references -- and yes, there are plenty in Muse’s songs -- took second place to a show of crunching, precise hard rock, brilliantly performed. 

Traversing the whole of Muse’s discography (including some five tracks from their new album), this tour didn’t feature the drones or 360 stage of the 2015 world tour. But the stunning set design and some astounding animations playing on its movable stacks of LED screens (more below), plus the continuously impressive musicianship of Matt Bellamy, Dominic Howard and Chris Wolstenholme, once again cements Muse’s standing as today’s great arena rock band. 

Muse’s guest on this tour is 30 Seconds to Mars, and Jared Leto was up to the task after a long hiatus in an energetic, audience-interactive performance -- in the closer, he invited more than 20 fans onstage to jam along -- that also served as a reminder of how good his vocals are. Boston-based Pvris opened.

Muse is currently set to play 25 more summer dates, with the next stops being Tampa (May 21) and Nashville (June 3). 

Here are a few key moments to prepare your eyes -- and ears -- for:

Jared Leto does a lot of talking; Matt Bellamy and company, not so much. Actually, not at all, beyond a “great to be here.” There was no need for more. With several instrumental tracks added to the mix (Howard and Wolstenholme playing “The 2nd Law: Isolated System” over keyboards sans Bellamy was a musical tour de force), Muse’s show breathes on its own.

Yes, they’re musically that good. Recordings don't do them justice. The live arena is a better platform for this high level of musicianship, from all three members.

Those visuals: Playing on blocks of LED screens that morphed from cubes to stacks and moved around on the stage, the video component was seamlessly integrated into the music. Watch out for the puppet-manipulated hands that precisely match Bellamy’s guitar playing in “The Handler,” and the animated conductor that replicates Howard.

Bellamy breaks rank. For “Starlight,” he leaves the stage to perform in the middle of the audience. For “The Globalist,” he goes majestically soulful, singing at the piano. The chorale that immediately follows, amped by images of the cosmos on the screens, is one of the high points of the show.

Confetti and streamers: They’ll come down after “Mercy.” But no worries, it’s not the end of the show.

Bonus: Are you a fan of “Resistance”? Lucky for you (and me), it’s part of this tour’s set list

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