BY MELISSA RUGGIERI/AJC Music Scene
(This post was originally filed on April 7, 2013)
Some fans joked on Twitter that it was a “Supermassive Blackout,” a nod to Muse’s song “Supermassive Black Hole.”
But the 15-minutes of silence that occurred in the middle of the band’s hour-long set Saturday night at Centennial Olympic Park might have interrupted momentum, but didn’t quash the British trio’s intensity.
The issue – a loss of power to one of the mix board generators, according to organizers of the NCAA’s Big Dance Concert Series – occurred in the middle of the slow-burning “Follow Me.” Lead singer/guitarist Matthew Bellamy, bassist Christopher Wolstenholme and drummer Dominic Howard exchanged puzzled looks, held up their hands as if to say, “what can we do?” and quickly exited the stage so the problem could be examined.
When they returned with “Time is Running Out,” their sound initially wasn’t as thick and their brilliant video technology was absent, but both full sound and video returned after the next song, the Wolstenholme-sung “Liquid State.”
While some might have questioned the headlining status of Muse for the big Saturday show – the series wraps tonight with performances from Sting and Dave Matthews Band, among others – the 35,000 people stuffed into the park provided plenty of ammunition (and, apparently, pot) to quiet any naysayers.
As dry ice floated across the stage and into the cool evening air, Muse launched their set with “Supremacy.” They’re a sophisticated rock band that does owe a bit to U2, but Bellamy’s intensity and ace guitar chops place them in a much heavier category.
Many of the band’s songs build into a melodic frenzy, which, when coupled with the whizzing lights and shards of lasers that accompanied “Hysteria” and “Survival,” results in a thrilling sonic and visual ride.
Bellamy, who also played piano, possesses a supple voice capable of escalating from a whisper to a scream or adding a haunting coating, as it did on the band’s best-known song, the thundering “Uprising.”
Their between-games set was a satisfying finale to a nearly 10-hour day of music (excluding a three-hour break) that began with Atlanta’s always-entertaining Yacht Rock Revue, a band that loves Hall & Oates and Steely Dan as much as we do.
Those “Thrift Shop”-pers Macklemore and Ryan Lewis brought their hip-hop-pop – and their novelty hit – to the stage early in the afternoon and were followed by the double-punch of Ludacris and Flo Rida.
The always-engaging Luda – wearing a Kevin Ware Louisville jersey – got right to the point with “Welcome to Atlanta,” telling the enthusiastic throng, “It feels good to be home.”
After a few fans, wilted from the searing sun that lasered onto the park in mid-afternoon, were passed overhead to security guards, Ludacris, his four-piece band and a DJ pumped the bass for “Southern Hospitality.”
In between commands to “put your hands in the air,” Luda chatted with the crowd about where they came from and added in plenty of Chamber of Commerce-worthy plugs about Atlanta.
He also presented a spirited version of “Yeah!” and hyped the crowd even more by playing recorded snippets of “Harlem Shake” and “Smells Like Teen Spirit.”
When Flo Rida arrived shortly after Luda’s hour-long set, he wasted no time reminding people about his tower of hits, which he’s been churning out since 2007.
“Right Round” jumpstarted his performance – which also included a four-piece band and DJ, as well as a female singer – and the man with the physique of a small tank slid onto his bodyguard’s shoulders for a ride to the front of the crowd for “Good Feeling.”
“The party is just about to start,” Flo said – and he wasn’t kidding.
His music isn’t high art, but it’s decent radio fodder, with memorable hooks (“Low”) and clever sampling (“I Cry”). He’s also one of the hardest-working performers out there today, a guy who is determined to provide his audience with a show full of energy and sweat.
Originally wearing black cargo pants, shades, a gold chain and a black T-shirt, Flo Rida, by the end of his set, which offered a reprise of “Good Feeling,” was shirtless as he poured a bottle of champagne over his head.
As we said…not high art. But fun.