Muse, Dublin Castle, 5th May, 2002
Heineken Green Energy Festival Day 2, with support: The Revs, The Hives
At last the time has come. I'm finally getting to shout abuse at the Revs! It's a moment I've been waiting for, ever since I first heard them and God, it feels good. They sound truly appalling up there and remind me exactly how dull this pop-punk thing is becoming. Just because they are home grown doesn't mean they are good and the insults fly long after they have left the stage. Not a great start to the day, but nothing that some beer won't cure.
And now back to objectivity. Like true royalty, the Hives make the crowd wait for quite a while. They know it's going to be worth it, and it most certainly is. From the moment they step on the stage their charisma is clear for all to see. Lead singer, Howlin' Pelle Almqvist, is the very epitome of cool as he leads his fantastically named band through such soon-to-be-classics as 'Supply and demand' and 'Main Offender'. Metronomic drumming precision is supplied by Chris Dangerous as the rest of the band conjure up the ghosts of the Rolling Stones, back when they were any use that is. Their lead singer should really check his birth certificate to see if Mick Jagger really isn't his dad. I guess it's a problem a lot of people have. Anyway, the crowd is suitably entertained and by now no one wants their money back, as the memory of the Revs is long gone.
And so on to Muse. What can you say about them? They might have the bass heavy might of Rage Against the Machine and keyboard nuances of Emerson Lake and Palmer coupled with the ability to provide a full, moving, audio-visual concert experience that only Tool can match, but comparisons aren't good enough. Muse have the sound of a band giving its all, body and mind. They credit both their fans' intelligence and their desire for something heavy to get rowdy to.
Despite some cleverly covered up technical hitches, songs such as 'Muscle museum' and 'Citizen erased' sound so much more vital than on record and there's nothing exactly wrong with them there anyway. An attentive crowd is treated to mighty versions of singles, 'Plug in baby' and 'New born', as well as the haunting 'Bliss' and their seductive cover of 'Feeling Good'. All the while, the screens behind them show images of flights over deserts and what look like supernovas exploding among other, equally weird sights. There's not a second for the mind to wander and who would have thought, after hearing their first album, that Matt Bellamy would become such a stage-commanding guitar hero? It doesn't matter, as, for a finale, the band let out huge balloons into the crowd, which bounce around as the last note rings in the air, as unwilling to leave as the fans.
For a day that started with the Revs, it ended pretty well. The disparities between the two bands serve as a reminder that Muse are one of the few bands that thinking rock fans can rely on today. Roll on that live album!