Muse at Pepsi Center, 9/17/13

Muse at Pepsi Center, 9/17/13
Eric Gruniesen

MUSE at PEPSI CENTER | 9/17/13

A Muse show is never short on spectacle and stunning visuals, and this Pepsi Center date was no exception. One of the most impressive moments came at the beginning of "Sunburn" when a single turquoise beam came down from the ceiling to a sphere held by Matthew Bellamy, where it then seemed to split into multiple beams of light that streamed from a darkened stage out over the heads of the audience. As the song progressed, that lighting gave way to some of the most vivid and fluidly moving colors of the entire set. It was transporting and riveting at once.

See also: Muse dazzles crowd at Pepsi Center, 10/2/10

Muse at Pepsi Center, 9/17/13
Eric Gruneisen

The beginning of the Muse set was a production in itself with video screens extending across the base of the stage in a half circle around to the back with a pyramid-shaped structure bearing screens that showed black and white footage.

Muse at Pepsi Center, 9/17/13
Eric Gruneisen

As disembodied voices from some kind of radio broadcast flooded the room, the pyramid descended, and that's the last time it touched the stage until later in the set. From there, the band treated us to an extravaganza of light and sound, the likes of which rarely happen outside of a Radiohead or Nine Inch Nails concert.

Muse at Pepsi Center, 9/17/13
Eric Gruneisen

What was also interesting was how such a popular and mainstream band could take such clear shots at status-quo politics in its lyrics. While the band has always scrutinized society, seeing that kind of content delivered in such a grandiose manner was refreshing.

Muse at Pepsi Center, 9/17/13
Eric Gruneisen

Admirably, Muse hasn't toned down its populist rhetoric as it became more commercially successful and popular. But it wasn't just politicizing. On "Liquid State," which was sung by bassist Chris Wolstenholme on the platform jutting out from the stage, Wolstenholme struck a personal chord with the crowd, reflecting on his struggle with alcohol.

Muse at Pepsi Center, 9/17/13
Eric Gruneisen

Over the course of the show Bellamy had some obvious vocal inflections reminiscent of Bono, Thom Yorke or even Josh Homme, along with some of the music, but all in all, Muse took those elements and channeled it into a different direction, casting it in its own mold with music that is never short on vivid tones, visceral rhythms and atmospheres and projected emotional intensity.

Muse at Pepsi Center, 9/17/13
Eric Gruneisen

Continue on for more on Cage the Elephant's set, plus Setlist and Critic's Notebook

Muse at Pepsi Center, 9/17/13
Eric Gruneisen

Earlier in the evening, Cage the Elephant opened the show with a punk rock fervor playing fairly sophisticated and polished pop songs. Even when the songs hit meditative moments, there was a visceral quality to the performance that never really let up through to the end of the show.

Muse at Pepsi Center, 9/17/13
Eric Gruneisen

During "Come A Little Closer," Matt Shultz seemed to hold on to the mike like it was the only thing keeping him attached to the ground, and by the time the outfit went into "Shake Me Down," he took off his shirt. Running around and striking dramatic poses, he had charisma and swagger like Mick Jagger without actually miming the iconic Stones frontman -- which was impressive to see.

Muse at Pepsi Center, 9/17/13
Eric Gruneisen

At the end of the set, Shultz asked, "Are there any punk rockers out there? Prove it," and then the band switched into the decidedly darker and more aggressive territory and trotted out a powerful rendition of "Sabertooth Tiger."

Muse at Pepsi Center, 9/17/13
Eric Gruneisen

Toward the end of that tune, Shultz leapt forward into the crowd to surf for a few moments; before long, he had enough support to stand up straight and sing for a few beats before making his way back to the stage. It was like seeing something from another decade when huge rock concerts could be theatrical and intimate at the same time.



Pepsi Center - 9/17/13

Denver, CO

01. The 2nd Law: Isolated System

02. Supremacy

03. Supermassive Black Hole

04. Hysteria (Star Spangled Banner intro)

05. Panic Station

06. Resistance

07. Knights of Cydonia (Ennio Morricone's "Man With a Harmonica intro)

08. Monty Jam

09. Sunburn

10. Follow Me

11. Animals

12. Liquid State

12. Madness

13. Plug In Baby

14. Time is Running Out

15. Unnatural Selection (Rage Against the Machine's "Freedom" outro)

16. Uprising (extended ending)


17. The 2nd Law: Unsustainable

18. Starlight

19. Survival

Cage The Elephant

Pepsi Center - 9/17/13

Denver, CO

01. In One Ear

02. [new song]

03. Aberdeen

04. Tiny Little Robots

05. Back Against the Wall

06. [new song]

07. Ain't No Rest For the Wicked

08. Indy Kidz

09. Come a Little Closer

10. Shake Me Down

11. Sabertooth Tiger


Personal Bias: I became a bit more of a fan of Cage the Elephant with Melophobia. It's a great balance of pop and rock with thoughtful lyrics. I've been wanting to see the Muse live show for years, and the presentation didn't disappoint.

Random Detail: Spotted Alan Andrews of the Photo Atlas at the show.

By the Way: This show sounded great beginning to end.

Use Current Location

Related Location

Pepsi Center

1000 Chopper Circle
Denver, CO 80204


Sponsor Content