Last night, Muse took over Red Rocks Amphitheatre — exactly 10 years to the day since their last show at the historic venue. With that being said, it shouldn’t come to anyone’s surprise that the performance sold out fast — especially with PVRIS and Thirty Seconds to Mars opening the show. The English rock band has been making music since the ’90s but proved last night they’re still as relevant as ever.

PVRIS

PVRIS opened the evening with a great pop-infused alt-rock set. Vocalist Lynn Gunn nailed her soothing ambient vocals and was far from uncomfortable addressing the enormous crowd — a sold-out crowd that probably weren’t that familiar with the youngest group on the lineup. Regardless of her comfortability, Gunn maintained a mysterious persona — so much so that when she belted her falsettos it felt as if she was stepping out of her comfort zone and revealing intimate characteristics of herself.

Jared Leto, Thirty Seconds to Mars

Thirty Seconds to Mars was next — a performance that many Muse fans in the crowd seemed pumped for, including myself. What we thought would be an incredible opening set turned out to be an audacious, vain display of frontman and Hollywood star Jared Leto’s ambition. His attire was eccentric, to the point where it came off arrogant — furs, a neon pink beanie, a shirt that resembled some sort of Glass Animals album art, marching band pants and the occasional flag to wave around — a flag that seemingly replaced Leto’s guitar, because he only played guitar once. And why was Leto wearing sunglasses? Maybe it was because of the outrageously well-lit stage, which shined far too bright for the entirety of the band’s performance. A raised platform was set atop the middle of the stage for Leto’s constant shenanigans. He knew the crowd loved him and that was the fuel that powered his battery for the night. He was, for lack of a better word, a diva.

“Take a look around — Red Rocks, one of the best venues in the world with one of the best audiences in the world. I know, I’m having a bad hair day. Oh well. You should see what’s going on down there.” – Jared Leto

Though Leto was overly arrogant, he wasn’t neglectful of the crowd. He gave much love to the masses and even singled people out for talking during the performance — at Red Rocks. He also pulled some dedicated fans on stage for songs, snatched someone’s phone to film himself and relentlessly started chants throughout the night. The audience-involvement was heavy, almost relied upon, but was still a great way to pump up the crowd before Muse. Leto danced around the stage, energetically span in circles, ran through the audience to perform “Kill” with an acoustic guitar from the soundboard and more — we just couldn’t tell if he was doing it for the audience or to keep himself in the spotlight. I mean, the man is a great actor, but that’s what it felt like — acting. Leto was theatrical with both his gestures and expressions. “What took you so fuckin’ long?” Leto joked at the concert-goers that had never seen Thirty Seconds to Mars before.

We walked into Muse with high expectations, and it wasn’t long before those expectations were shattered. It was a cool night on the Rocks, but with the ferocious dancing and head-banging that ignited, I was tearing off my sweater after the first song. Vocalist and guitarist Matt Bellamy sported red pants, a guitar lined with neon-colored string lights and matching light-up sunglasses. Bellamy made use of his shades, though – at times they flashed lyrics to his vocals as he sang them.

Now, it always feels rude when musicians cover the rocks. And yes, Muse covered the rocks. But rather than masking them with a mediocre LED screen, they had several enormous screen columns lining the back of the stage that moved forward and backward throughout the show. These columns played live recordings of the band and crowd, all masked with some sort of filter. They were also reflective, often showing the band’s mirror images amidst the video. With the way the columns moved backward and forward, and the way the band still lit up the rocks behind the columns, it felt as if their light show was simply an extension of the rocks. At times they even blended the color of their lighting to match the beloved formations and in the end, the light show was incredible,

Muse at Red Rocks on Monday night.

The massive reflective light columns weren’t the only thing on wheels that moved around on stage — the drum set was rolled to the forefront at points, handing over the spotlight to percussionist Dominic Howard. At times that spotlight was shared with bassist Chris Wolstenholme which gave the entire band opportunities to shine. After Leto’s self-absorbed showcase, it was refreshing to see a frontman that shared the limelight. The band also took daring risks by igniting electronic intermissions. We all know that Muse is an alt-rock band, and sure, they have a lot of electronic influence, as well. But Muse fans don’t go to Muse shows for such electronica — they go for an awesome rock set. Regardless, Howard teamed up with Wolstenholme to create a couple danceable, trance-like intermissions that left some confused and others breaking a sweat. It was a risk well-worth taking that reminded everyone how diverse Muse’s sound really is.

Dominic Howard of Muse

Muse performed all of the hits and then some, often taking small detours from the recorded tracks to present the audience with variations of guitar solos or extended instrumental segments. Bellamy has mastered his guitar playing, excelling in form without ever breaking from his slick and composed vibe. At one point in the show, he even performed “Starlight” from the middle of the crowd while the venue projected stars onto the rocks in a breathtaking experience. Not only was it one hell of a performance, it was a celebration of Muse’s return to Red Rocks exactly one decade later and still selling it out, regardless of the time gap. It showed that Muse is still significant and probably won’t lose such significance anytime soon. The best part of it all — you could tell that they loved the show as much as we did.

 

All photography by Kyle Cooper.

Matt Bellamy of Muse

12 Responses

  1. Geoff and Jen

    My wife and I have been enjoying Mars shows together for 12 years and a big part of that enjoyment is Leto’s energy and cameraderie with the crowd. We’ve been up close and personal many times, always laughing along with him. It takes work to do that every night, too much to be passed off as arrogance or a preening desperation to stay in the limelight. What a grossly unfair review.

    We had a great night watching both bands. It’s a shame you didn’t.

    Reply
    • cAT

      I came here to Red rocks from California, specifically to see MUSE,
      as they as they are one of my favorite bands .
      And I wanted to see them in a smaller venue than Rome, or?
      The entire experience at Red Rocks
      concert was amazing, including the 2 front bands- it was something close to why we have a reason for living…..
      I talked to a lady next to me from Nebraska-
      She said, it is only 3 states away-
      Then there were the 2 young kids-next to me that showed up
      right before they took the stage!
      I told them I would see who could be the best at singing all the words
      and then when Matt said / who was here 10 years ago-I looked at those kids, and said’ were you in like 3rd grade?
      he looked back after he did the math and said,
      no, 5th.
      Totoaallycool

      Reply
  2. Imke Braselmann

    Well, I’m bot sure how to reply to this. …
    The writer seems to be pretty biased. YES, it IS an awesome venue! BUT: Mostly, people buy the tickets to enjoy the music of their favourite band.
    Thirty Seconds To Mars is well loved all over the planet. I myself am from Germany. Do yourself a favour and don’t aggevate the Echelon. You’ve got NO idea, what kind of a force you’re batteling with… 😤

    Reply
  3. Trish

    The author criticizes Jared Leto for wearing sunglasses on stage but praises Bellamy for the same thing? I’d think an editor would notice this kind of bias and try to tone it down. They’re different artists, it’s okay to prefer one over the other but this is a disappointing stance.

    Reply
  4. Valerie

    I thought 30 Seconds to Mars was amazing! Jared Leto is the frontman so yes he will be center of attention and given how entertaining and interactive he was with the audience, I think that is perfectly fine! I love all of the audience participation, and many of their songs are anthemic lending itself to being sung by the audience as well. Mars and Muse are both very different bands but they both put on one hell of a show! The author of this review seems a bit biased and unprofessional , maybe someone else should review next time!

    Reply
  5. Mona

    If someone judges the performance of Bands mainly accordingly of what they wear, it is a review I cannot take seriously. Echelon go to a Mars concert for the Music, the love, the energy and the interaction. If the author thinks, this is all a Display of Jared’s arrogance, he should sit down and think a good while over his own attitude.

    Reply
  6. Kori

    I recently saw muse and thought it so boring I left after three songs. After watching 30 seconds muse seemed dull! I like their music but move around a little!! Absolutely no energy! Your article is purely biased and seems like you had your mind made up before seeing the show! If you want to be a journalist, you need to be open to new things.

    Reply
    • Joe Dirt

      Muse boring? You left after 3 songs? 30 second to mars made muse look dull? WTF???? Muse has multiple platinum albums dude…Jared Leto is not even the pink of Matt. YOU HAVE NO CLUE ABOUT MUSIC

      Reply
  7. Sarah Benham

    It’s okay, Echelon, it’s only for those who understand. Stinky cheese, you know. This reviewer clearly does not understand nor do they know the Jared we know and love. I saw the Mountain View show and left two songs into Muse as I found them very anticlimactic after 30STM.

    Reply
  8. Sarah

    I agree with the reviewer. I was excited for 30 Seconds to Mars and was hugely disappointed. I was hoping to hear a lot more of Jared’s voice, not just the crowd singing his songs for him. Muse had an incredible stage presence, great vocals, and creative effects.

    Reply
  9. Matt

    Muse phoned it in. I have seen them about a half dozen times, and this show was flat, boring and lazy. The set list was meh, and Matt said all of about 4 words to the crowd all night. This is Red Rocks – at least pretend like you want to be there. So, as a Muse fan, I have to agree, 30 Seconds to Mars was exciting, fun, and as much as I hate to say it, upstaged Muse. This author must have been at a different show. Or he is mad his girlfriend drooled over Jared all night.

    Reply

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