Opening band, Dead Sara, was pretty good. Their LA roots bled through with a sound that was equal parts 80s Sunset Strip cock rock and 90s alt rock. The band was tight and lead by a singer with a powerful voice that aroused me sexually.
Speaking of arousal, Muse gives me a (rock) hard-on. Matthew Bellamy basically stood next to the Amway Arena and chopped it down with the edge of his hand. His Thom Yorke-ish croon and effortless, Corgan-like avalanche of heavy, flailing guitar couples with a thunderous rhythm section and sounds like a prog-rock Queen on steroids. Christopher Wolstenholm crunched out distorted bass lines and drumming heavyweight, Dominic Howard, pummeled his left-handed kit ruthlessly. Clever left-handed drummers always seem a cut above.
I first saw Muse at Coachella in 2004. They played at about 3 o’clock in the afternoon, under a blazing sun to 200 lounging festival-goers and rocked like they were headlining MSG. It wasn’t the 120 degree heat that was melting faces. Muse brought the same intensity with a polished presentation in a top notch and a mildly subversive multimedia show. Scrolling images of banks, bankers, and stock tickers beamed across an elaborate collection of LED screens. Anthemic lyrics like, “Time has come to make things right / You and I must fight for our rights / You and I must fight to survive” blazed on the same screens. As the first set ended, a Q-bert-like levitating pyramid of televisions filled with MSM talking heads flickered and swirled, eventually swallowing the band as they worked in an outro that was the riff from Rage Against the Machine’s “Freedom.” It all seemed like a rallying cry for our leery zeitgeist. I wanted to scream, “I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore!”