THERE are two schools of thoughts as to what constitutes a good live band – some contend that it’s a band that can recreate its songs just like the record, while others are compelled to believe that it comes down to a band being able to provide a unique interpretation of its music on stage.
The Dave Matthews Band and Phish have been selling out tours and arenas on the basis of the latter approach. If you are one who subscribes to the former, then British prog-rock outfit Muse is arguably one of the best live bands on the planet.
This is the band’s second live CD (after 2008’s HAARP) and sees the trio yet again in imperious form. The CD’s tracklist (the set comes packaged with a DVD, too) leaves a little to be desired with live favourites Plug In Baby and Time is Running Out left out in favour of tracks largely from the band’s last two studio albums. Given that Muse has gone through a bit of a sonic revolution with its last record, The 2nd Law, the jury was out on whether the band could to replicate a studio-friendly track like Madness live. And like a prized stallion, the band delivers with aplomb.
But the question begs, what is the point of even listening to a live CD other than hearing the tracks being punctuated by frontman Matt Bellamy’s occasional call-to-arms to the audience? There were points when it felt like this was a studio production with a crowd track.