Starlight started it all. I can remember the exact moment that I heard it for the first time. I was driving home from a birthday dinner and a friend had handed me a CD and told me that I HAD to listen to this band she had found. The first song I heard from Muse was Starlight. The second was Knights of Cydonia.
Muse was unlike any band I had heard before and I was hooked. Years later when I was living up north my friend and I had the opportunity to see them live in Baltimore. It was a Christmas present to ourselves. That first show was electric. A few years later we same them again in Orlando. The first show was better than the second.
Saturday night was the third round for us. We also travelled the furthest we've ever travelled for them. With me in the north part of the state and my friend in the central part, driving to West Palm Beach was a bit of a hike.
I had never been to the Perfect Vodka Amphitheater before so I wasn't sure what to expect. If you're familiar with the major Florida concert venues, it's a relatively large amphitheater and has a lawn like Tampa, but instead of having all of the concessions behind the lawn, everything is out front.
The first opening band was Pvris. It was a second time seeing them for us with the first being at a music festival in 2015. It was apparently the first night of the tour and it seemed as though the lead singer skipped the vocal warm up. After a lukewarm set, we were eagerly anticipating the second set.
The second opener was 30 Seconds to Mars. Flags were distributed amongst the audience but there was no explanation as to why. Leto came onto the stage in a red cape/drape that looked vaguely Pope-esque. He appears to thrive on audience participation and even had a small section set aside on stage for people to stand on the stage while he performed. At one point he came into the middle of the audience and performed an acoustic version of the Kill. It seemed as though he didn't know he wasn't the headliner.
At this point we're having a decent time but with Muse coming up I knew that a trip to the restroom was in order. This is where it gets a bit un-fun. I tried to go out of the closest exit but was thwarted by a venue staff member who literally saw me coming and spread herself out across the walkway like a starfish so that I could not pass. She said nothing to me at first and just stood there glaring at me. Apparently you were relegated to leaving and entering by the section you were in. There were no exceptions. I know this because I tried to come in that way after she rudely told me it was only an entrance. So despite the fact that I could literally see my seat I still had to go around. They checked your ticket every single time. I suppose this had to do with the fact that they had a lawn for general seating, but the attitude of the workers was simply rude.
Once Muse came on, it was magic. They performed just as incredibly as they always do. The visuals behind them were maybe not AS good as previous shows, but they were still pretty spectacular. I've included pictures below that should give you some idea. They played several of my old favorites and a lot of my new favorites too. Matt Bellamy also came into the audience and sang for a while. I also finally got a tour shirt. I've never really done the tour shirt thing before but this was the opening night and I felt compelled.
There's just something about being in the crowd while your favorite band plays. Standing with thousands of people who love them as much as you do, forgetting about any cares or worries. When that beat pulses through you it can obliterate everything else and clear your mind.
Luckily, Muse is moderately predictable and ends the show every time with Knights of Cydonia which is epic in its own right. Knowing this we didn't stand around waiting for a potential encore and managed to get to the car and out of the parking area in an incredibly efficient fashion. Then began the two hour drive home. Considering how late we could have arrived home, I'd say 1:30 was a decent time. Especially when we had left the Andrew McMahon show a few weeks back and it I arrived home at roughly the same time even though Orlando is closer than West Palm Beach.
If you're even slightly into Muse's music, I highly recommend seeing them if you can. It took four years for them to come back and hopefully it won't take four more for me to see them again. Such great night.
A few weeks ago I had the privilege of attending one of the final shows of the Bastille tour in St. Augustine. I had looked up some of the footage of the show online and was curious as to how they were going to adapt their show to an amphitheater setting. One of the first things I was struck by was the videos they played on the screen behind the instruments while there was no one on stage. There was a newscaster that spent a lot of time talking to himself. This combined with the metal/mesh statues sitting above the stage resulted in a lot of Googling to find out exactly what the heck was happening.
I found one article that talked itself in circles. I read it twice while waiting for the opening band and I couldn't tell you what I read or what these things were meant to signify.
The opening band was Mondo Cozmo, of whom I had heard nothing. They were what I like to call a "stand up and take notice" band. From the first note I was hooked even though I had never heard any of their music before. They played mostly their own songs including Shine (vaguely Bob Dylan-esque), but it was their cover of Bittersweet Symphony that grabbed everyone's attention.
Once Bastille took the stage, the audience was intense. There were some diehard fans near me including one pre-teen who looked as though she might lose her mind. As with most bands, Bastille had a great deal of energy. One thing they did that I've not seen before? The lead singer went out into the middle of the pit which wasn't too uncommon. The majority of singers go out, pop around for a while, then get back on stage. Instead, he ran half way up the stairs and came right down through the middle of the amphitheater. He ended up on a platform about 20 feet behind my seat. He sang his song and then made his way back down. He did this multiple times, each time upping the performance by drumming or bringing the guitar player with him.
One of the most charming things for me was that there was nothing usual about this band. Most bands say thank you and then come back for an encore. Bastille just told us that they were going to take a quick break and come back and play us a couple of more songs before they'd be through. I found that to be more refreshing than what appears to be a standard encore functionality. I vaguely remember a time when the encore was not a guarantee. What can I say, I'm old.
If you're not familiar with either of these bands, I've posted some of their YouTube links below. Check them out!