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Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Muse: "Haarp" (CD/DVD)

The last time Muse toured the United States, they were the opening act for My Chemical Romance. Such a thing doesn't seem fair for a band that can sell out Wembley Stadium, one of the world's largest sports facilities, twice in two days. This CD/DVD set is from those two famous shows and contain almost every great song Muse has ever written.

Unfortunately, I've never been a fan of live CDs. Why pay money to hear a band perform something live when you can just pay the same amount and get a better, studio-quality recording? The same holds true for the CD in this set. Though the songs are performed greatly and it has one song that the DVD doesn't (boo), "Microcuts," it's just not the same experience as watching the DVD. A live show, especially one on this scale, is equally about visual stimulus as it is audio. That's why I'm focusing this review mainly on the DVD, because it's amazing, awe-inspiring, and it make me wish that I actually went to the Muse show the last time they came through my town.

In a word, this performance is massive. The band enters the stage from the middle of the stadium, rising up onto a platform, before making the long walk down to the absolutely gigantic stage. Once there, they embark on a nearly 2-hour long concert that is one of the most mind-blowing spectacles I have ever witnessed on a DVD. The set goes through different phases, opening with huge numbers like "Knights of Cydonia" and "Hysteria" and really pumping the crowd up. Matt eventually moves over to a grand piano where he plays "Apocalypse Please," "Hoodoo," and "Feeling Good." Things pick back up soon after and the band plays a couple of their more heavy tunes before leaving the stage for a brief intermission.

They reenter shortly after, Matt carrying an acoustic guitar on which he plays "Soldier's Poem" and "Unintended." This is really the most flawed portion of the act, as "Soldier's Poem" isn't really a crowd pleaser by any means. Fortunately, this section is followed by the performance of "Blackout" which is truly breathtaking. During this amazing number, there are actually trapeze artists suspended from gigantic orbs overing hundreds of feet over the crowd. It is worth buying this DVD to witness, as it"s probably the most beautiful thing I've ever seen at a concert.

Overall, I've found Haarp to be an awesome piece of media to add to my collection. Though the experience given on the CD is nowhere near as impressive as that found on the DVD, for the price, you really can't go wrong. Though I'm a little upset that "Citizen Erased" is nowhere to be found on this set, I'm more than happy with it. After seeing The Flaming Lips live, I was pretty much sure that I would never see a show quite as entertaining. After viewing this DVD, however, I can safely say that they have some stiff competition. If you call yourself a Muse fan, you owe it to yourself to pick up this set. Disappointment is not an option.

Key Tracks:
1. "Knights of Cydonia"
2. "Butterflies and Hurricanes"
3. "Invincible"
4. "Microcuts"
5. "Take a Bow"

CD: 7 out of 10 Stars
DVD: 9 out of 10 Stars

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