I went to the MUSE concert in Toronto tonight. Wow. Without giving anything way, because I have many friends going to the Wednesday concert and I don’t want to spoil it for them, all I can say is their new album The 2nd Law is now on continuous repeat, either on my phone or in my head. I can’t make it stop. And I’m completely okay with that. It was a spectacular show to say the least, and it was only bolstered by great company.
There’s something about a stadium concert that just solidifies a musical preference right into your soul. I’ve always been a fan of MUSE, always appreciating their sound which can really be described as their own (though they’ve pulled a lot of Queen-inspired into their elements over their last two albums which is also something I feel completely okay about) and always loving and respecting their craftsmanship as musicians and writers. But seeing them for the first time live has pretty much guaranteed that I’ll rarely miss their concerts whenever they’re in town. There are very few bands to which I am that dedicated for life, so when a band makes a huge live impression on me, it really shows and even becomes a part of how I create and perform music. Call me a sponge or a Borg, but when I get that inspired by a band, I assimilate and soak-up everything I can about their creativity.
It’s so powerful of an effect that it can take me from being on the fence about them to completely diving into the pool in their yard. (Weird metaphor, but let’s roll with it.) That’s exactly what happened to me with progressive-metal band, Dream Theater. My brother became a big fan of them through his friends and our guitar teacher, and he needed someone to take him to Massey Hall to see them play their tour for their Train of Thought album. I thought what they did was pretty cool, but it wasn’t something that I was too interested in keeping on my playlist. Then I take my brother to their concert, and my whole perspective completely shifted.
For those who don’t know, progressive-metal can be sometimes hard to comprehend. It can change time signatures on a whim and can get really heavy at times. But it’s impressive as anything you can think of, particularly because those complicated riffs and solos that you heard recorded are actually pulled off perfectly on stage. Live. That’s right, the progressive-metal rosters are actually full of some of the most talented musicians you’ve ever heard. And Dream Theater is one of the best and longest-lasting. Yes, that is a completely biased statement, but as someone who believes in musicality and technical skill being the core of a good real live show, it’s the absolute truth. Watching them play was mind-boggling. I had never seen such skill on stage before, and little did I know that the second guitar I thought I was hearing on the CD was actually a keyboardist playing as fast, if not faster, than anyone I’ve ever seen on keys. (I’m talking about the wizard himself, Jordan Rudess, who is my personal hero on the keyboards.) Their skill cannot be denied. I highly recommend giving their stuff a listen, just keep a mind slightly more open than the norm. Believe me, it’s worth it. So is MUSE.
Maybe it’s the crowd. Maybe it’s the lights and lasers. Maybe it’s the crazy transforming stage and surprises. Maybe it’s just excellent musicianship and performance fundamentals. Maybe it’s all of that. Whatever it is, it’s an energy that you can only get from stadium shows like that. And if you stay open and let it in, it can be one of the biggest life-changing moments you’ve ever experienced.