It was clear from the first note that Fort Lauderdale was about to experience something like nothing before. Sure we've all heard it plenty of times, “Muse is one of the best live bands of our generation” and the gushing of praise that always follows a new tour. But to actually experience it, well that's an entirely different ballpark as the first-timers at the BB&T Center would find out.
WE ARE CAGED IN SIMULATIONS flashed across the screen as “Algorithm” began to flood the arena. A formation of brass playing Tron clones decked out in LED helmets and uniforms stalked the stage as Matthew Bellamy raised from the center of the catwalk with his fist raised – Miami Vice sci-fi lights sprouting from his gloved hand like an 80's Thanos gauntlet. His own LED glasses covering his face, Bellamy, armed with his guitar, set the standard for the night from the moment he made his appearance. Sure, every Muse show is awesome, but The Simulation Theory World Tour would turn out to be a whole new kind of beast.
The British trio has created an entire world encompassing their latest release, Simulation Theory, backing it up with spectacular light visuals, a giant Terminator monster, and lots of confetti. Between “Pressure” and “Psycho” the Tron brass band seemingly disappeared from the stage, only to be found moments later placed between the crowd sections around the arena yelling answers to “Drill Sargent” Bellamy. The fans nearest the clones (me) startled at their yelling, as the stage visuals had kept our attention eaten up. That little detail really brings to life the entire story of Simulation Theory and The Simulation Theory World Tour – don't divert your attention and miss what's going on behind the scenes.
The sci-fi rock-opera is a warning to the people; a warning against the rise of AI and being trapped into a simulation by the ruling class. Muse blended their older material, classics like “Supermassive Black Hole,” “Plug In Baby,” and “Hysteria” seamlessly into the newer tracks on the setlist. One of the highlights of the night was when the trio – Bellamy, Dominic Howard, and Chris Wolstenholme – joined each other at the end of the catwalk for an acoustic gospel version of “Dig Down” which is only available on Simulation Theory's Super Deluxe release. This version of the song, especially live, is a “come down” moment from the synth-pop hypeness going on, finding the crowd swaying along with their hands raised.
The sabbatical is short-lived through, 2015's “Mercy” culminates in confetti spewing from cannons and the epic old-school dance party continues with their mega-hit “Time Is Running Out.” Muse's encore included their trademark medley of “Stockholm Syndrome,” “Reapers,” and more, all while a massive skeleton marionette emerges from the back of the stage, haunting over it. The monster swiped its long claw towards the band and audience menacingly. The night concluded with “Knights of Cydonia” after a full two hours of a retro, yet future dystopian, neon wild ride.
Algorithm / Pressure / Psycho / Break It to Me /Uprising / Propaganda/ Plug In Baby / Pray (High Valyrian) / The Dark Side / Supermassive Black Hole / Thought Contagion / Interlude / Hysteria / The 2nd Law: Unsustainable / Dig Down / STT Interstitial 1 / Madness / Mercy / Time Is Running Out / Houston Jam / Take a Bow / Prelude / Starlight / STT Interstitial 2 / Algorithm / Stockholm Syndrome/Assassin/Reapers/The Handler/New Born (medley) / Knights of Cydonia