It was with not a little trepidation I took on the weighty responsibility of covering a big band like Muse. It was especially terrifying because I’ve grown up with them on MTV, on the radio, on CDsーbut this was the first time to see them up close and in real life. Daunting as a fan, even more so as a writer. I worried the usual: what if they’re not as good as I’m expecting? What if I can’t see or hear anything? What on earth will I do if that tall guy stands in front of me the whole time: shove him aside, or wait it out?
The mind wanders when it anticipates something great.
All my worries (except the one about the tall guy-I ended up moving) proved unfounded. Muse were marvelous. Magical. Miraculous.
From the first bellows of the sergeant on the big screens for “Psycho” to the perfect falsetto and behind-the-head guitar playing antics of “Plug in Baby” and the solid arena rock anthem “Uprising”, Muse didn’t disappoint. They didn’t falter. They didn’t flinch. From beginning to end, it was absolute perfection. Matthew Bellamy’s vocals caressed the ears, while his fingers operated the guitar and the piano with surgical precision. Bassist Christopher Wolstenholme lay the foundation, steadily keeping the melodies in line, and breaking out the harmonica when called. Dominic Howard’s drums were so powerful, the sound hit my chest with such force that I briefly mistook it for my heartbeat.
Muse are well acquainted with Japan, and made use of their connectionーMatthew amused himself (and the rest of us English speakers) with the fact that the Japanese word for amazing/awesome, is saiko… and is pronounced exactly the same as Psycho, the opening song for the show. He seemed to enjoy this little pun, as he would chuckle a little every time he said it. Adorbs.
Taking advantage of their previous experiences at the fes, they pulled out all the stops to make their Fuji Rock the best show ever. Giant black balloons were sent out into the crowd and slowly bobbed up and down throughout the whole show. The distortion and effects on the big screens were equally fascinating, if not more than the stageーsniper viewfinders focusing in on the members and the crowd, a countdown timer for “Time is Running Out”, and various distortions and hallucinogenic images that made my skin crawl. Creepy, yet fascinating and beautiful visual displays. Nothing could beat the encore though, with its literal explosion of confetti shooting over the crowd during “Mercy”.
Nothing, except… was anyone else watching the screens during the last song, “Reapers”? Judging from what I heard from my friends closer to the stage at that time, Matthew held the guitar up, then put it down on the stage, letting it play a single, haunting note.
What I saw on the big screen was: Matthew held the guitar up, then threw it up into the air, where it sailed up and then was suddenly lying on the ground. Looking back, if that is actually what I saw, then it was a fantastic added visual effect for those of us who sat at the back. At the time though, it was a veritable mindfuck and I could barely concentrate on the craziness of the encore. If you saw what I saw, shoot us a message on Facebook, or tweet us at @fujirock_com! I’d love to know if I was imagining things or not!
Supermassive Black Hole
Plug in Baby
Time is Running Out
Knights of Cydonia
Photo by Yoshitaka Kogawa / Text by Lisa Wallin
Posted on 2015.7.26 02:30