12 July 2013, Cliff @ 6:35 am
Just In A Dream (Godfatherecords G.R. 815)
E-Werk, Cologne, Germany – 20 September, 2012
Supremacy, Interlude/Hysteria, Voodoo Child (Slight Return) riff/Panic Station, Resistance, Supermassive Black Hole, Animals, Madness, Uprising (extended), Follow Me, Plug In Baby, Man With A Harmonica/Knights Of Cydonia, Stockholm Syndrome/War Within A Breath riff, Starlight
Bonus Tracks: Studios de France Télévision, la Plaine Saint Denis, France – 19 September, 2012: Madness, Follow Me, Sign “☮” The Times
Muse’s performance at E-Werk was announced on the band’s website as “an intimate gig,” in a venue able to accommodate an audience of 2,000. The majority of the show was broadcast on Radio 1Live on September 27 between 9PM and 10PM.
The show was played just over a week before the release of the band’s latest album, The 2nd Law, which, despite reservations about, “bombast for bombast’s sake,” Alex Petridis of The Guardian reckons to be, “great rollicking fun…a hugely entertaining album.” The show kicks off with Supremacy, the opening track from the album. The New Musical Express album summary, compiled after an interview with the band describes the song as follows:
“‘Supremacy’ sees the band going to “absurd levels”, according to Matt. Spiralling swamp blues of the track builds to a climax of orchestral hysteria as Matt orates a terrifying scene of mankind losing its supremacy over the Earth as “the seas have risen up” and energy shortages cause global desperation.”
Mo 333, posting on the message board of the band’s website was clearly impressed with this performance, writing, “Supremacy Definitly a [sic] ace!! Riffage, falsetto, scream, guitar solo…awesome song, worked as opener.” Another poster, MusEEsuM, concurs, stating that: “Starting off with a new song was basically just saying…we’re cutting straight to the chase. Great song…not extremely surprising…but it doesn’t have to be just as long as that Muse sound we love so much is at least there…and it is! And how!” Remaining rather more down-to-earth, another poster, Florenceblue, states that of the new material, “I did like Supremacy the most.”
The next song is Hysteria, with Interlude acting, as it regularly does, as a prelude. Mo333 rightly states that the performance, ”had a lot of energy in it,” and the audience reaction at the end clearly demonstrates a high level of enjoyment of the performance.
Panic Station is the second song played here from The 2nd Law. It is prefaced with the Voodoo Child (Slight Return) riff (which has also served as an intro to Time Is Running Out), which is heard very briefly before Panic Station is introduced. MusEEsuM states that, ”Panic Station is definitely the most surprising of the new songs which, because of the ‘freshness,’ goes straight to the top of my list of ‘most favorite newbies’” and another poster, Enemy, considers that the song is, “very different, and all the better for it.” Mo333 calls it, “so funky,” and NME reviewer Dan Martin states that, ”‘Panic Station, is outrageous, taut funk – even tauter than ‘Supermassive Black Hole,’ with the slappy bass and saxophones of some of your camper ’80s discos.”
After this come splendid performances of Resistance and Supermassive Black Hole. Mo333 writes of the latter number: “New Intro Jam, was good!”
Animals is the third song we hear from the latest album. MusEEsuM writes that, ”another new personal favorite is Animals…WOW! This one swept me away and took me on a beautifully exciting spiritual roller coaster.” Similarly, Mo333 opines: “Wow…excellent guitar solo…nice chorus. Outro riff is ace!” Enemy agrees; “That riffage at the end – phwoar!”
After Animals the band played the classic Time Is Running Out and another new number from The 2nd Law, Save Me, two of the three songs omitted from the broadcast. Time Is Running Out is an unfortunate omission; Save Me, which features bassist Chris Wolstenholme, perhaps less so. MusEEsuM’s opinionis that, “the song really doesn’t do it for me…personally I think the singing should be left to Matt.” Florenceblue, agrees, writing, “Poor Chris, he looked absolutely terrified when it was his turn to sing!… I was stood below Chris and could just see his nerves…This song may grow on me yet but last night it was probably my least favourite.” However, Enemy is a dissenter, arguing that, “Chris’ voice is lovely.” Mo333 liked the song but not the vocals, stating that, “it proves that Chris is a quite good singer. The song itself: i’m [sic] not sure about.”
Madness, also from the new album is described by the NME as, “An electronic cross between [Queen's] ’I Want To Break Free’ and [George Michael's] ’Faith.’” Petridis considers that the song bucks the band’s trend for bombast, describing it as follows:
“The understated single Madness suggested a new stripped-back approach: there’s not much to it beyond an electronic bassline, a decent pop song and Bellamy’s vocal, which declines to unexpectedly burst into an ear-splitting falsetto (or scream), or proclaim the imminent arrival of the apocalypse, or indeed do any of the things he usually does within seconds of getting near a microphone.”
What Mo333 rightly calls a ”fantastic” performance of Uprising is followed by the final song we hear from The 2nd Law, Follow Me. Some reviewers have noted the influence of dubstep on the new album and Martin argues that, “‘Follow Me’ is ‘Map Of The Problematique’ reimagined as a love song with dubstep wobbles.” Gregory Heaney, reviewing the album on allmusic.com is rather dubious about this new direction:
“The album certainly succeeds in feeling different from Muse’s previous work. While this certainly keeps with their tradition of always pushing their sound in new directions, their excursions into dubstep and dance music on tracks like ‘Madness’ and ‘Follow Me’ feel more like remixes than original songs. Songs like these definitely have the spine of Muse tracks, but the production that’s built up around them feels almost alien.”
Petridis is a little more positive:
“The most obvious sign of change on The 2nd Law is its incorporation of the kind of dubstep produced by Skrillex and dismissed by its detractors as ‘brostep.’ It actually meshes with Muse’s existing style remarkably well, perhaps because Muse and your average brostep producer are cut from the same cloth in at least one sense: neither of them has much interest in subtlety.”
Enemy was more impressed, arguing that, ”the dubstep elements worked, bizarrely, and [Follow Me] sounds like a properly uplifting song.”
Plug In Baby is introduce as, “a very old song,” and the audience, which sings along at appropriate moments, is clearly very happy to hear it. The main set then ends, unsurprisingly and on a high, with Man With A Harmonica/Knights Of Cydonia.
The encore began with Stockholm Syndrome (which ended with a crunching riff derived from Rage Against The Machine’s War Within A Breath) and took in Starlight before ending with Survival, also included on The 2nd Law, but previously released as a single. This song, which was the official song of the London 2012 Olympic Games, is the last of the three songs performed but not included in the broadcast, and it was perhaps another sensible omission as it does not seem to be a particular favourite of Muse fans. Even Mo333, who is otherwise very complimentary about the song admits that, “it’s not a good choice as a closer.”
Overall, the performance has garnered many compliments. MusEEsuM contends that, “now THAT was how a gig is supposed to be! What an awesome night!…It was a very special evening in an awesome venue, nice mix of brand new beauties and all-time mind blowers.” “This concert was absolutly [sic] stunning!” agrees Mo333. “I had such a fantastic time,” enthuses Enemy, ”all the new songs sounded brilliant…Awesome gig” On the Tour Dates page of the Muse website, nightbird states that, “this was one of the best nights ever,” and crmuser calls it an, “unforgettable, epic evening.”
The E-Werk show is supplemented with three songs performed in Saint-Denis, France, for the Taratata TV show. These are additional performances of Madness and Follow Me, in both cases even better than those from E-Werk, together with the band’s first live rendition of the Prince number Sign “☮” the Times.
This release boasts excellent sound taken from the hour-long radio broadcast of the E-Werk show and the soundtrack of the TV broadcast for the bonus tracks, the latter being particularly impressive. The artwork on the tri-fold sleeve features onstage and posed shots of the band an utilizes the design of The 2nd Law. Overall, this is another excellent Muse title from Godfather.
If you liked this review, buy me a cup of joe. (Suggested: $3 a shot or $7.5 for a double)
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]Muse - Just In A Dream (Godfatherecords G.R. 815),