ACL Live Shots
Reviewed by Austin Powell, Fri., Oct. 15, 2010
MuseZilker Park, Oct. 9
Muse requires a certain suspension of disbelief. Over the course of a sci-fi album triptych – 2003's Absolution, 2006's Black Holes & Revelations, and last year's Resistance – the UK trio has established itself as defender of some lost order, pledging revolution through stadium epics that bridge pre-Kid A Radiohead and Queen's exaggerated pomposity, without the lyrical dexterity of either. While scaled down by its own standards, Muse's third and overall best ACL appearance still offered a full-blown laser spectacular, guided by 21st century guitar hero Matthew Bellamy and the rhythmic quasars of dry-suited drummer Dominic Howard in the soccer riot opener "Uprising" and hypercompact "New Born" from 2001's Origin of Symmetry. The bombastic drama strained toward the middle, when the piano ballad "United States of Eurasia" and token Anthony Newley/Leslie Bricusse cover "Feeling Good" led to the keytar cringe of "Undisclosed Desires." Yet when Chris Wolstenholme locked into the downward spiral bassline for the perfect "Hysteria," complete with an extended instrumental outro and chased by Absolution breakouts "Time Is Running Out" and "Stockholm Syndrome," Muse proved lean, cosmic, and fully capable of anchoring ACL. The encore pairing of "Plug In Baby" and "Knights of Cydonia" reiterated the old adage: One can shoot for the moon, miss, and still land among the stars.