Things were a bit chaotic when I got to The Target Center on Sunday night. Apparently, doors were pushed back a little bit but an anxious crowd had already arrived making for a maze of bodies in the foyer of the arena. I have to be honest, I was a bit surprised. I knew that it was going to be a big show (I mean, it was at an arena) but I think I underestimated how excited people would be. I heard from staff that some people had been waiting since 6 AM which, again, blew my mind but had me more than excited to experience whatever the night would bring.
The last time I had the honor of catching Japanese rockers One OK Rock live was back in February of 2019 when they headlined at The Varsity Theater. I was absolutely stunned by the amount of power and energy that they brought to the stage that night and they have clearly been honing in on that power. Even though they were the first opener of a three-band arena show, One OK Rock refused to let anyone sleep through their set. With some songs that had a bit of a rap metal influence to more radio-ready rock anthems, this Japanese band knows what will sell but I truly think it’s more than that. With some lyrics in what I can only assume is Japanese (I’m so sorry if that’s not what it was) and a clear sense of passion with their performance, this band is not just doing it for the money or notoriety– they are doing it because they love it and that made their opening set almost as explosive as the rest of the night.
I’ll be honest, there were moments when vocalist Amy Lee’s vocals felt very flat and she seemed to struggle with some of the notes that she probably could have hit easily back in the day. Although this left me super disappointed with their performance of “Going Under”, I appreciated the fact that the band was actually playing live and will admit that Amy quickly redeemed herself and only had a few hiccups with her vocals throughout the track.
Sure, there was some theatrics to Evanescence’s live show. Dramatic lighting, a giant logo hanging as the backdrop, a dazzling sparkled sleeve on Amy Lee’s outfit, a grand piano that raised from the middle of the stage, really, their set felt understated for the powerhouse that this band is and I loved that. Just like they didn’t rely just on their hits (although they did close out their set with their megahits “My Immortal” and “Bring Me To Life”) to carry the set, Evanescence stayed true to the band that they have been for decades and, fan or not, that’s something that I absolutely admire and respect.
Whereas Evanescence’s set felt fairly understated, Muse’s set felt a bit over the top but in a good way. From a flaming logo being used at the backdrop at the beginning of the set to the light up star that illuminated the band is a super cool way, there may have been a lot going on visually but it still was not enough to distract from their powerful sound. Although the members are well known and have never tried to conceal their identities, the band kicked off their set with all four members wearing super cool masks that played off of the lights in a very dramatic way. What I’m trying to say is Muse kicked their set off with a sense of power and mystery that reigned supreme throughout the set.
Beyond that power and mystery was the true sense of playfulness that the band had on stage. From the way that vocalist Matt Bellamy pranced around the stage with his guitar to the video clips that would play between some of the songs, although a world-renowned band, Muse still knows how to have fun. I know that these arena shows are very planned out so the videos and the moments of banter were absolutely scripted but I truly felt like this band is one of the few that I’ve seen lately at an arena show who truly just seems to be enjoying themselves, not just going through the motions.
I was pleasantly surprised by Muse’s set. It’s not that I didn’t think they were going to give it their all but more that they performed every song with such a sense of ferocity and power that it left me, a non-obsessed Muse fan, completely enamored by the end (which was capitalized by loads of confetti and streamers). The band sounded absolutely flawless even with the over-the-top show and theatrics which speaks louder than my words will ever. Long story short, go see Muse. Even if they are not your typical jam, their live show is absolutely worth the ticket price and then some.