Friday, 21 December 2012

You are my MUSE!

Christmas is nearly here, and back in the summer Mrs Stace and I treated ourselves to our first joint Christmas present.  An evening watching a little known band from Teignmouth.  Apparently they were recently voted the best band in the world by Q magazine.  Not that we are biased, owning all of their albums, but I would have to agree.

So Monday evening we went for a gourmet meal (at BK – for the first time in years and probably the last time for years too!) and joined the other 17000 people or so trying to get in. The organisation was actually very good though, and it wasn’t raining!  So inside of 20 minutes or so we were inside, and trying to decide where we were going to stand.  Too close and deafen ourselves, or too far away and not see anything.

We got a place, and waited for the opening act (and waited, and waited).  Andy Burrows came and did his set of about 30 minutes or so and then the stage hands started preparing the stage for the main act.

In an age where everything is controlled by computer I was amazed to see 4 people still being hoisted up to control the 4 lights for each of the members.

15 minutes later the lights came down and the title track of their new album blasts from the speakers, red lights and mist fills the stage and the crowd starts to go mad.

Out come the guys and the concert starts for real.


Just Wow…

Old and new songs played next to each other, sounding just as amazing as I was hoping for!

Then, the centre piece of the stage came to life!  An inverted pyramid drops from the ceiling, made from 4 or 5 different levels, and each one a TV screen.  And then a monster starts dancing on it.  Surreal, but stunning.

Then a few songs later the light shows started:

We spent the evening jumping, waving, dancing and of course being bathed in the sweat of those other 17000 people.  But it was so worth it!

Here are the people waiting for the encore replacing lighters with the flashes from mobile phones.

Assuming you are a fan of Space Rock I could not recommend seeing them enough - a great night, and quite cheap for such a concert too!

Something I have always wanted to know.  Just what does it feel like to stand on the stage and see all of those people there to watch you play your music, and have almost off of them jumping to your songs?

And there was no ban on cameras, as you may have noticed J At one stage I stopped taking photos as all I could see were camera phones pointing at the stage, really I should have taken one as it was a great sight.

And speaking of cameras…

I still need to do a review of the little camera that I bought for the Christmas market trip at the start of December – these shots were all taken holding the camera above my head and hoping for the best! (Without a flash obviously


  1. Hi Stace!

    I'm in the middle of reading your blog from the beginning (I'm up to April 2010 - and wow, is your story similar to mine!), but I saw that this post was about Muse, so I cheated and skipped ahead. Woman's prerogative. :c)

    I'm a music nut like you, and I've been intrigued by Muse for quite a while, but I know nothing about them except they're supposed to be a majestic live band. From your review, that is clearly the case!

    So... any suggestions for a newbie on which album(s) to start with? If I like someone, I tend to get everything eventually, but for a band with an extensive back catalogue it's hard to know where to dive in. Any help is appreciated!

    The next show for me is My Morning Jacket on New Year's Eve. They aren't really space rock, but they are an incredible live act. Here's an older clip from US television that gives you a good idea of what I mean:

    Bear in mind too that they usually stretch this to eight or nine minutes live!

    Hope you enjoyed it, and thank you for your both blog and your kind words on mine! Here's wishing you and Mrs. Stace a very Merry Christmas!!!


    1. Oh... I've not read the previous entries for a while, and I about to be really embarrassed!?

      Skipping forward to Muse is never a bad thing!

      Their live shows are out of this world, but at the same time I think they are so grounded and humble. We have the Halo live album and about half way through Matt Bellamy introduces a song with (paraphrased :p), "I wrote this back when I was 16 years old. I never dreamed I would be playing it to a stadium full of people!" I think that is such a wonderful sentiment to say in the middle of a stadium concert to maybe 60000 or more people.

      Let's see, where to start...
      If I have the order right...

      Origin Of Symmetry
      Black Holes and Revelations
      Halo (Live Album)
      The Resistance
      2nd Law

      There is also the sound track to Hullabaloo is in there somewhere

      OK, where not to start... 2nd Law - their latest album is a 'grower' the first time we heard it we were not impressed, but it's possibly going to be our favourite the more we listen to it. (apologies to our neighbours when we listen to it a little loud...)

      The first one I heard was Absolution, quite rocky with some soft points. A good start.

      The resistance is stunning, my favourite at the moment and the last three symphonic numbers are... Wow, dreamy.

      Origin of Symmetry is (as far as I know) regarded as the best by the core fans with Bliss, Plug in baby and 'Feeling Good' being the stand out tracks

      Showbiz is the first, and whilst it's still really good, and also considered as one of the better ones by the core fans, it isn't stand out for me compared to the others.

      That leaves Black Holes and Revelations. This is one of Mrs Stace's favourites and I can see why. The over the top Knights of Cydonia is the one that calls to me here. I think that I have annoyed my neighbours with this a few times too :)

      The live album isn't one that I would start with - learn the songs first :)

      Hope that is useful for you :)

      I'll take a look at the clip, sounds interesting, thanks for the ink!

      Thank you, and have a great Christmas with your near and dear!


    2. lol Not at all, re: your earlier entries! At a minimum, they can't possibly be as cringe-inducing as some of mine, I suspect. (What *was* I thinking when I wrote some of those?!?)

      I read several more months of entries today when I stopped to warm up during my long walk. (I may well freeze to death before I even get a chance to finish transitioning. I suspect this is the universe's revenge for mocking my mother for being cold all the time. :c))

      Anyway, your thoughts were uncannily similar to my own - to all of ours, probably. You mentioned in one of them how puzzled you were at what a difference it made to be able to dress as yourself, and that is how I feel as well. I remember being very frightened when I realized at a very young age that wearing my sister's clothes simply felt... right. I stopped it fairly soon after entering puberty because I knew instinctively if kept doing it that I wouldn't be able to stop. The pressure would have been unbearable when I had to go back to being a boy. Heck, it *still* feels that way. I get *so* jealous when I'm out watching women simply being themselves. I know I'll get there; I just wish I was there now.

      Well, that turned dark quickly, didn't it? lol Sorry about that! Anyway, thank you for the in-depth synopsis, Stace! I tend to like the more inside-baseball-ish albums (to use an American expression) - that is, the ones the true fans really like. For instance, I return over and over to U2's The Unforgettable Fire. It's flawed, but it's the sound of a major band deciding to grow, and not taking the easy path and making "Son of War," as Bono put it at the time. The B-sides they chose not to put on the album ("The Three Sunrises," "Bass Trap," and "Loves Comes Tumbling", to name a few) are as good and often better than the more experimental album tracks, but they are similar to what they've already done. It was brave of them to chose to move forward. But that's what great artists do.

      So I suspect their latest one might be the one that eventually takes up permanent residence in my iPod. :c) But I'll follow your suggestions first and see where they take me! I think I'm going to start with The Resistance and possibly Black Holes and Revelations. Those sound intriguing. I'll be off to eMusic after this to download them. A full report to follow... just kidding. :c) I *will* let you know what I think once I have time to absorb them. They sound like one of those bands, and those are the ones that tend to stick around.

      Thank you again, Stace, and Merry Christmas!

      == Cass

    3. I think the difference is that at the start of the blog it was more an outpouring and a place to try and get the thoughts swirling through my head under control.

      Since starting therapy, and especially since starting living as Stacy it's less.

      I know what you mean about jealousy watching people just being themselves. In Holland there is something called "serious Request" at the moment. Three DJ's in a glass house with no food for a week or so (and taking shifts to transmit for the whole time). You can request songs for them to play (at a cost of course! With all the money going to charity). This year I requested 'Bliss' from origin of Symmetry. Why? Because some of the lyrics are just so close to where I was a little more than 12 months ago.

      Enjoy the albums - just make sure that what you download is really good quality encoding - and not a poor MP3. The way their tracks are arrange you can really tell the difference between a lossless encoding and lossy compression!



  2. Oh, and great photos too! They look amazing!

    == Cass

    1. Thank you, I'm really impressed with the little camera. It was bought on the basis that it's almost as good as a DSLR - with a large sensor and full dual dial manual controls you can get some really good shots.

      That said, these shots were just using the amazing sensor and software - it was a point and click session, just trying to get the frame right and let the camera sort the aperture and timing...


    2. I just bought a Canon Rebel this summer before attending the Newport Folk Festival here in the States. My sister-in-law bought one first, and she gets some great action shots of my niece, who is an accomplished Irish step dancer. Now if I could just get her to use the red-eye feature... but I digress. :c)

      Anyway, it worked quite well, especially when you consider I'd just picked it up the day before the festival. (My old one gave out after ten-plus years.) I joke with friends that I've single-handedly shown that it truly *is* idiot-proof lol, but it really does a great job. Be sure to put up more shots in the future!


    3. my 'good' camera is a Canon 5D, coupled with some Sigma EXDG lenses it gives fabulous photos (I think there are some action shots from the Dutch TT in some posts as well as some landscapes.

      But... with a 200mm Sigma lens it weighs something like 3 kilos (plus the flash, batteries, and extra lenses. It must be approaching 6 all in) and sometimes it's just too much. If you are spending the day walking around a Christmas market for example. And I wanted one that I could keep in my handbag all of the time. The RX100 seems to be a great compromise - tiny, ultra light and almost the same size sensor as the Rebel.

      Mind you when you really want sharp shots the 5D is still unbeatable for me :)

      I think that there my well be more photo shoot posts in the future. It's something that I love doing!


    4. You should definitely do more photo posts. You have a good eye!

      I have photo albums online from various music festivals, as well as pics from my meanderings around the East and West Coasts. I can't find an email address on your blog, but if you're curious feel free to drop me a line at the address on my blog ( And no worries if you aren't, of course. :c)

      Merry Christmas!!!

      == Cass