Muse @ Outside Lands, San Francisco Golden Gate Park ~ August 13, 2011


Bring it! The sound of air-raid sirens brought the masses to attention and drew them like an army to the source - Muse.

Tens of thousands of followers completely filled the San Francisco Polo fields to marvel in the wonderment that is Muse. I am not afraid to go out on a limb and qualify Muse as the best arena rock band of our generation (“our” being designated loosely as “mine” really). After the show they put on at Outside Lands, there’s no way anyone could dispute it.

The small English alternative rock band plummeted into hit after hit, bombarding the crowd like a small sonic army. Muse opened with “Uprising” leading straight into “Supermassive Black Hole” leading straight into “Hysteria.” The constant progression was only interpreted to make room for bits and pieces of classic guitar riffs leading into the next strike.

The crowd was separated into three waves: the front wave was the most aggressive, uprising in the pit; the mid wave was aggressively dancing but with respect for others' space; and the third wave was observing the movement from a safe distance. From my vantage point in the second wave I could easily see the sea of people moving in waves to the music, bodies jumping, fists pumping, as lasers shot over my head and smoke rolled over the crowd. It looked like a scene from a futuristic battle field. The use of lasers and smoke enforced their powerful sound, fueling the excitement of the masses. You were forced to keep up with the pace of the procession, even if it gave you a side ache (which it did).

And it just didn’t stop! There was no respite from their talent. Only taking a brief break before their encore, Muse hit us hard with yet another hit song, “Plug in Baby” and proceeded to roll out hundreds of giant balloons out over the crowd! From my post in the second wave, it all seemed really surreal, hundreds of five foot balloons bouncing over the crowd, and as they got closer I realized that they were eyeballs – eyeballs! Why?!

It didn’t matter. Muse ended the set with “Knight of Cydonia” sending all three sections into a frenzy. I was euphoric and ready to follow. And profoundly impressed.


photo by p.viani