on 8 November 2013
Went to see this in the cinema last night and it was mind blowing. Having seen them live numerous times I wasn't sure that this would really be able to capture the sheer amount of energy generated at a Muse show but I was proved completely and utterly wrong.
This is absolutely beautiful to watch, the 4K presentation may sound gimmiky but it captures every little detail and sucks you into the performance like you were there.
If you haven't been to a Muse concert before, I can guarantee that once you've watched this you'll be first in line for tickets when they tour again.
on 8 November 2013
Having just come back from the cinema seeing this film I can't really comment on the extra features, so I'll focus on the gig itself and hopefully go from there.
Visuals: Firstly I can safely say this film lived up to the hype presentationally. 4k sounds gimmicky, but looks beautiful, the panning camera shots capture the crowd's and Bellamy's movement like nothing I've seen on video before and for a band like Muse this is perfect. Each violent and emotive chord Matt grills into his guitar looks almost as if you were there and the ultra hd makes you really appreciate the visual work the likes of Tom Kirk and co have put into the set design. Stunning is the word I used and at times I was taken back to the experience of actually seeing them live at the Ricoh Arena. 5/5
Sound: Simply Epic. Each instrument sounds perfect, crisp and detailed and most of all immersing. During Hysteria you feel the low crackling bass right through the room and you can't help but lose yourself in some of the guitar riffs Matt produces: I lost count of how many times I ended up head-banging in the cinema or tapping my feet and clicking to Survival. The crowd noise also is controlled well; enough to make you feel the scale of the event, but not enough to drown out the music. What I would say though is that fans used to the festival reaction to Muse, might find certain parts quite muted, but nonetheless brilliant. Sound was obviously a really important factor, and I think they've nailed it here, Knights of Cydonia gave me chills. 5/5
Setlist: One of the key issues I've seen people highlight here is the omission of certain songs off the setlist, if you're worried don't be, it's not a major problem. What I would say is that the absence of Unsustainable from the dvd of the "Unsustainable tour" is slightly puzzling, but footage from another performance is included in the extras. I would also say that the gig itself didn't have the strongest setlist, at Ricoh I was lucky enough to get Sunburn and Dead Star, neither were played in Rome and likewise New Born which I would have liked to see. Like I say, however there is still a strong blend of new and old material delivered with typical perfection from Matt, Chris and Dom (and Morgan whose synths really add to the sound). So basically it's a typically strong Muse live set, although avid fans, particularly of the older material, will probably prefer Haarp because of the nods towards the first three albums (OOS in particular) throughout and what I feel is a generally more guitar driven vibe. Oh and I don't like Guiding Light. 4/5.
Performance: The performance itself was lauded by Matt via Twitter and you can understand why: the Italian crowd get really into it (Matt's ability to speak a few phrases is also quite impressive) and the general standard is high as ever. However, what I would highlight is that as a fan of older Muse, it is a bit disconcerting to see Matt put his guitar down so willingly, especially for such a talented musician. I can't help but feel that parts of Follow Me and Madness would have benefited from more guitar, and Matt without his signature Manson looks worryingly close to a pop singer, though normal service resumes with the likes of Supermassive Black Hole. Not wanting to overlook the contributions of Chris and Dom (as both are exceptionally talented) you really appreciate the amount of work each has to do with the cut camera style: Dom's talent and effort even where you wouldn't expect it in songs like Survival is impressive and we all know about the basslines in TIRO and Hysteria for Chris. Overall the good songs outweigh the less-good ones and since it is Muse we are talking about, it would have to be a serious off day for them to not produce a top-standard gig. 5/5.
Overall: In terms of a concert dvd, I would genuinely rank it amongst the world's finest, Muse are a band unlike any other that can take ludicrous and bombastic grandeur and perfect it like a subtle craft. Matt's ego needs a bigger stadium, but personally I enjoy watching him perform as it makes a change from the sultry Gallagher attitude of modern indie. Admittedly at times the absence of any instrument from Bellamy's grasp or the occasional choppy black and white filter on the camera detracts from the experience and the exclusion of Unsustainable remains puzzling, but there is no doubt that this is a highly accomplished dvd and considering how rare chances to see Muse live are, for the asking price it's brilliant. In a way it makes me sad that I know some media reviewers will take one look at this and remember their prejudice for Muse, then brand it 3 or 3.5/5... or 4.2/10 for Pitchfork, (who are pretty clueless) when it really deserves better. I have to say personally that I prefer HAARP, but bear in mind that's like saying I prefer Origin of Symmetry to OK Computer, both are undeniably incredible. I know that my title may draw criticism- I mean in terms of mastering the stadium sound/spectacle, not musically- but I truly believe that this film, far from the murmurs of a dying breed, is proof that Rock as a genre is still live and moshing. Muse are the live band of the 21st century and I truly hope efforts like this see more people embrace them with the praise that they deserve.
on 6 December 2013
Having been an actual member of the audience of this concert in Rome in July, I was dubious... My concern was that after being there in the flesh, this film would put a dampener on the whole experience and undermine the fantastic memories that I gained from attending the concert. However, I SO did not have to worry. Exhilerating, energetic and groundbreaking, this film has truly captured the essence of that day.
Put it this way, if it didn't disappoint me, having been at the live concert, it won't disappoint any Muse-lover. EPIC!!!!
on 13 November 2013
Massive muse fan, saw this tour live at coventry in the summer and it was phenomenal even at a smaller stadium and i was standing. Judging from the trailer they did pretty much an identical show in terms of the stage props and stuff so i imagine it will be a lot better from a stadium like rome. Great setlist, great performance, great atmosphere.im sure any muse fan will love this cant wait to see them again live at some point. just to note apparently unsustainable was cut from this which i can understand as although it featured an on stage fire breathing robot, the song itself was a bit crap tbh and didnt go with the rest of the show at all. not just 2nd law songs either.this is the setlist (not in order) that i remember when i saw them live and will likely be in the rome dvd:
knights of cydonia (harmonica intro)
supermassive black hole
stockholm syndrome/new born (random roulette decided)
plug in baby
time is running out
there was some i didnt recognise at the time which may have been b-sides i havent heard or much earlier stuff
on 15 January 2014
There is no doubt in my mind that Muse are still the best live band at the moment and offer something completely different and alternative to the dross that makes up the popular music charts.
What so many people, especially musicians like myself, love about Muse is their attention to detail, their audacity and their musicianship. There is no doubt that Matthew Bellamy is one of the most talented individuals British music has ever seen, Dom Howard one of the most underrated rock drummers ever and of course the bass player who is, well a good bass player I guess (kind of like the John Deacon argument). Then there is the mysterious fourth musketeer embellishing the epic sounds who has to be candidate for unsung hero of live music.
Onto the review - Muse as ever give a wonderful performance. It has all the power and bombast, all the weird and wonderful and all the stirring majesty of their previous outings. They are still top notch in their musicianship. The biggest leap here is the visuals - the stage and setting is more impressive than previous concerts (even HAARP) and they make use of live actors in two of the songs. The set is huge and makes full use of a popular new trend to have a catwalk thrusting out from the main stage into the crowd with a small stage at the end. They make full use of this at times careful not to overuse it and make it a gimmick whilst using it well to engage with the audience.
The live actors are a nice touch as is the occasional use of black and white. There is a megalomaniac banker in the great track `Animals' who struts down the catwalk to the small stage thrust into the audience to drown himself to death in hundreds of bank notes. There is then the femme fatale who douses herself in petrol in `Feeling Good'. I can't quite get the message with this one and it appears to be no more than a desperate attempt to make their performance raunchy rather than make a clever point like they did with `Animals'.
Where this suffers, and why it has 4-stars, is based mainly on the setlist. There is no doubt in most Muse fans minds that their last 2 albums are incomparable to their first 4. Don't get me wrong 2nd Law has some great tracks; Supremacy, Madness, Panic Station and Animals are amongst my all time favourites already. Personally The Resistance is probably their worst. The issue here is that much of their more recent material doesn't, in my opinion, translate to the live stage as well due to it being more studio based. Of the 19 songs in this concert 12 are from either 2nd Law or The Resistance. This results in only 7 tracks coming from their first four (best) albums. There is nothing whatsoever from Showbiz and only 2 tracks from arguably their finest hour - Origin of Symmetry.
All in all the occasional way in which Bellamy uses the microphone without playing an instrument makes the musicality of the performance (something that always made Muse a cut above the rest) lose some of its impressiveness. If you couple this with some of the suspect song choices it all makes this outing very musically accomplished but far too commercial for my liking, rather like their more recent albums. There is no New Born, Butterflies & Hurricanes, Citizen Erased, Stockholm Syndrome, Space Dementia, Take a Bow - all those epic tracks that made their previous live shows explode with sound and virtuosity. Ending on Starlight is such a shame and very underwhelming - one of their most overrated and over-commercial tracks in my opinion. Still 100% better than any other live act you will see but just not quite as well crafted as some of their previous efforts and treading dangerously close to the 'all style/no substance' boundary if they aren't too careful next time - mainly let down by their choice of material and their desire to commercialise themselves.
on 29 October 2013
Firstly let me say how much I enjoyed the DVD. It had good quality and it had Muse so by default that makes it good anyway. Now the bad points. Okay firstly as much as the DVD did flow well, they shouldn't have cut songs from the main setlist from Rome. That was wrong. I mean look, it's the Unsustainable Tour and they cut Unsustainable. I really don't get why. Anyway second point. The black and white scenes really pissed me off. Muse put on such a colourful show with loads of coloured lights and lots of fire so this was ruined by the black and white scenes. And also why bother filming it in 4K Ultra HD resolution if you are going to make loads of it black and white. But apart from that it was good apart from the CD not having many songs on it. Oh and one final thing that irritated me. The cardboard packaging. Why? Because it damages so easily. I have other CD's that are are only a few years old in cardboard packaging and they tend to be very tatty looking and fraying at the edges.
on 4 December 2013
Prior to purchase I had similar reservations with this live release as its predecessor HAARP, namely that the audio-only CD is severely truncated compared to the live footage DVD/BD. In the case of HAARP this was especially damaging as to my mind the DVD suffered from gimmicky editorial choices and great songs like Apocalypse Please and Plug in Baby were not included on the audio version of the concert, making me dissatisfied with the choice of a CD-DVD combo format - I would have preferred a full audio capture of the concert and not been too concerned about missing out on the video footage had it been released separately.
The same issue applies to this release as well but is less of an annoyance; true, MP3-only fans will miss out on songs such as Survival, Plug in Baby, Isolated System. But that said having both listened and watched the concert I think that the full appreciation of Live at Rome Olympic Stadium, unlike HAARP, can only be gleaned from a video viewing, not least because the Blu Ray format supports astounding audio quality that cannot be matched by any CD/MP3 version. Quality of reproduction indeed, but just as equally quality of content.
Muse and the large teams of people behind this 2013 spectacle went all-out on this one; Muse's live act cannot, as ever, be faulted musically and their interaction with the crowd here reaches unprecedented heights; not only that but the accompanying visuals, actors and stage themes and lights make it a mesmerizing and titillating performance which is bound to make the puritans among us suffer from pangs of guilt! Also the editing and camera work is superior to anything I've seen when it comes to Live Music BDs and in this regard I must make a special mention to the oh so sinister video for Animals which shares screen time with the performance itself - a wise editing choice that really adds a visual dimension to the song.
When it comes to Rock music I love as do many monumental seventies acts like Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, Queen and I do not think they will ever be surpassed; but it is heartening to find that Muse, while in my opinion not quite in the same league as the aforementioned bands, have a lot of god-given Rock energy to give the people in 2013 and are seemingly effortlessly carrying the mantle of the Rock genre, with that degree of integrity and self-belief which I have come to associate with them. This is inspiring for those of us who, for the most part, have absconded from the current mainstream music scene. And for this they are to be commended.
So, in conclusion, my final score is five because this is the best of reproduced contemporary live Rock music available on the market and, loyal fans notwithstanding, has been perfectly mastered for us sedentary and non-concert-going types...
on 24 April 2014
...and the audio's not bad either!
It's a pity that this is sold as a CD plus BluRay as the latter contains many more tracks than the CD. It's also a pity that the packaging lets the product down - these cardboard thingamajigs leave a little to be desired sometimes. Bring back vinyl and LaserDiscs for their huge artwork!!!
A brilliantly captured live show (4K HD) from superb live performers at the top of their game with a great stage-show. Just a pity they couldn't have toured with all of this in the UK (we appear to have had a cut-down version at The Ricoh Stadium, Coventry, methinks)! At least we had the robot though. ;-)
on 3 December 2013
I`ll keep this short, Muse are arguably the best live band in the world, I saw them a few weeks before this show at Manchester, Brilliant, as always, they played at least 27 songs at the Rome show, yet only 20 tracks on the dvd, & 13 on the cd, a full dvd concert and double cd would have made this a 5 star review. simple.
on 3 December 2013
Twelve "five star" reviews of this before it had even been released - Amazon really need to get a grip on these invalid reviews that aren't based on the product that's shipping!
First off I should explain the "four stars, not five" which is solely down to the God-awful cardboard CD packaging (I have a LOT of live music blu-rays and this is the first I've seen packaged in a rather cheap case rather than a standard Amray Blu-ray case). Also I am not a Muse fanatic like those reviewing this title before it came out. I like some of the material but find at their worst the band can be overly bombastic, pretentious and self-indulgent. There's also a large reliance on pre-recorded material, including vocals, which seemed a bit of a cheat to this viewer.
One previous reviewer said this concert would convert everyone to being a Muse fan. I beg to differ - if you're not already a huge fan the tracks all sound very "same-y" and there's no real light or shade to the material. There is the occasional film/stage acting piece to make the concert more interesting to newbies, and the footage itself is astonishing with every camera gizmo available being used to get pin-sharp footage with swooping crane shots everywhere. If you're a big fan of the band's music you can purchase this happy in the knowledge that it's going to be a five star recording for you.
The video is superb. Apparently recorded at 4K and it shows. I thought close-up audience shots could have been a little better handled (we seem to keep seeing the same two or three people close-up several times, despite the fact there were thousands there), but the use of black and white in certain numbers (which others have complained about) worked for me in adding an artistic flourish to the whole thing and making it more interesting and diverse than if it had all been shot the same. The audio - or at least the DTS 5.1 audio track I heard - is excellent. Too many music Blu-Rays have the audio in the back speakers set to a very low level so as to be almost inaudible. Not so here. It's mainly audience noise - but very loud audience noise that places you bang in the middle of the concert.
Overall, this is one of the better music videos released in the last few years and definitely worth purchasing in the HD format. You get not just 90 minutes (some missing numbers apparently) of the Rome concert, but also four numbers recorded across the US tour of the same year, although this footage looks distinctly "up-scaled SD" next to the 4K footage of the main concert. There's also a cute five minute behind the scenes showing the logistics of touring with a band that's this big. Highly recommended if you like Muse's music.