Concert Review: X Ambassadors and Muse

January 14, 2016: Joe Louis Arena, Detroit

This concert was probably my most anticipated concert ever. I’ve been a Muse fan for a long time which makes it very strange that I had never seen them in concert. Ever since they announced the release of their newest album, Drones, I’ve been on the look out for a North American tour so I could finally get the chance to see one of my favorite bands live. The wait felt never-ending. I checked their site almost daily for any clue as to when the dates would drop. Finally the day came and, with some coaxing from my husband, I spent the most money I’ve ever spent on concert tickets. It felt like my anticipation for the big night grew daily over the nearly three months from ticket purchase to the day of the big show.

It’s been a long week and as I walked onto the floor of the Joe last night I was almost overcome with emotion. It was finally happening. In just a few hours Muse would walk onto the stage and I was sure I was going to experience one of the best live events of my life. Thankfully there wasn’t much time to wait, X Ambassadors took the stage minutes after we found a spot on the floor. While I’m only really a casual X Ambassadors listener, I do love their live show. It’s crazy to think that it’s been just over a year since I saw them headline the Pike Room and now they’re opening for Muse in an arena. As I watched their show in the Pike Room that night, I knew these guys were destined for big things. The energy that was on that stage last night and the energy that filled the Pike Room back in October 2014 was the same.

Singer Sam Harris used the entirety of the 360° stage to get the crowd pumped up. The band’s set felt short, but they played a great sampling of their tracks to showcase their talent. Kicking off their set with the stomping “Loveless,” the New York quartet set the pace for the rest of the night. By the time the guys go to their hit single, “Renegades,” the crowd was on their feet and singing at the top of their lungs. Seeing X Ambassadors live reminded me how much I love some of their songs, like the breathtakingly beautiful “Unsteady.” The guys closed out their set with “Jungle,” proving to everyone that packed the Joe that this isn’t the last they’ve heard of X Ambassadors.

The crowd was buzzing with anticipation as we all waited for the main event. The explosion of applause and shouts was deafening when the lights finally dropped out. As the new album’s title track began to play, people began pointing toward the ceiling. Large, clear balloons with lights down the side and spotlights on the bottom began flying around the arena creating a sense of awe among everyone. An eruption of applause filled the Joe again when Muse took the stage launching right into “Psycho.” Just remembering this moment now is enough to make me want to blast the song and jump around my apartment. There really are no words for the emotions that flooded through me at that moment.

I had heard that Muse puts on an amazing live show but nothing could have prepared me for what I witnessed. Their performance is true spectacle filled with screens with impressive videos, flying drones, large balloons that cover the crowd in confetti when they finally pop and so much more. Not to mention there’s nothing like seeing Matt Bellamy, Dominic Howard, and Christopher Wilstenholme just slay on their respective instruments. Bellamy is a true showman, skipping gleefully around the stage as he dominates his guitar.

While I knew they wouldn’t play all my favorite tracks, I was hopeful that there were a few I could count on hearing and I wasn’t disappointed. I completely lost it when the opening guitar riffs of “Supermassive Black Hole” filled my ears. There wasn’t much room to move on the floor, but I made due with what I had and screamed the lyrics as loud as I could. The fact that that track was followed by “Starlight” was enough to send me into a frenzy that I’m sure didn’t make the strangers around me too happy but I just couldn’t care. I had waited too long to not completely rock out as hard as I could.

The corresponding videos that played on the massive screens on the sides and occasionally in front of the stage were so impressive that I often found myself distracted from the music as I watched them. From the construction of a human drone transitioning into a pair of hands that looked as though they were controlling Bellamy and Wilstenholme like a pair of marionettes to the beautiful post apocalyptic images that closed out the main set of songs, there was so much added to the performance.

I knew that seeing Muse live would be an experience I would never forget but never thought that the show would increase my love for them so much that it’s hard to imagine even considering any other band as my all time favorite. Their live show proves why these guys are seen as one of the best arena rock bands currently in existence. Their musical talent aside, they are true showmans that know how to entertain and will have you begging for more as soon as the last notes of the last encore song are played. All I can hope is that I don’t have to wait too long to get my Muse fix again.