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DIM THE LIGHTS: Muse - 2004/04/09

setlist: Hysteria/ New Born/ Butterflies & Hurricanes/ Thoughts of a Dying Atheist/ Citizen Erased (abandoned)

there are some things that you'll never let go... and this show is certainly one of them.

the stars were aligned on the evening of April 9th. UK rock sensations Muse were finally getting their chance in the American market after reaching massive successes overseas for years. Absolution was getting serious play on alternative radio and where-ever you went that spring, you could not escape the anthemic "Time Is Running Out". small shows (compared to the arenas they typically played in Europe) were booked, some in areas the band never explored previously.

you see, Muse had it all overseas. they had chart-topping albums, sold-out arena tours, fame, etc. in the early '00s, they started developing a cult following in the United States because of their inability to cross the ocean. most (including myself) thought they were a harder Radiohead, with Matthew Bellamy playing the role/voice of Thom Yorke almost naturally. some (including myself) knocked them for that and never gave them they chance they rightfully deserved. albums Showbiz and Origin of Symmetry have some ridiculously powerful tracks on them that I sadly cast aside due to my own stubborness.

so when a friend of mine (who introduced me to Muse when Showbiz was released) persisted with this new album of their's, I think my wall finally broke down. strong instrumentation, elaborate songwriting, power and fury along with some delicate simplicity - all of these contributed to why I finally started embracing Muse after all of these years. as a result, I dug into the records that I was missing and was getting it. take that musical epiphany, combined with a national tour of small venues for this high-octane band with a rabid following that finally got their moment to witness greatness - it was all set. a new obsession was about to take place and I was oh-so-willing to let it happen.

and then this happens:

all you really need in that video is the first 75 seconds or so to get the point. Muse were absolutely on fire that evening. they had it all in their court and they were running like mad. it was really unbelievable what we were taking in. those first four songs were probably the best four songs I ever saw live... perhaps. but to think that this show started off SO STRONG and SO INTENSE and ended so abruptly was disappointing beyond belief.

and there went my high point with Muse. after Matthew Bellamy busted his face to "Citizen Erased", I saw them later that month @ my first Coachella Festival trip and got into it as much as one could while dealing with 100+ degree California desert heat. and it was a festival set, so there was a sizable distance between myself and the band, something that was non-existent earlier in the month. my girlfriend and I attempted to see Muse months later when they returned to ATL and played the "bigger venue", the Tabernacle (the Cotton Club is more like the Tabernacle's basement). we decided to take in the show up in one of the balconies there and fandom just evaporated before our very eyes. we didn't understand the matching uniforms the band members had, thought some of the lights were cheesy, and we basically wrote off the entire experience.

it sure seems that that April evening didn't deter the band in North America as they are going stronger than ever and possibly headlining the next version of the Coachella Music and Arts Festival and releasing a couple of new albums in the years past to much fever and fervor. while I don't hold what happened that evening against Muse, it just happened @ a terrible time that could've changed a lot of feelings I had about the band.