Matthew Bellamy, the lead singer of Muse, has a pretty cool piano. Its transparent top is always tipped up, and when he tinkles its pearlies, the lights inside twinkle on cue, shining toward his audience. Sometimes, when he's really feeling it, he'll do a strangely baroque solo and the entire billion-watt light show behind him will go all ELO. Mr. Bellamy really likes his piano, and last night at Madison Square Garden, he played it a bit too much.
It's a pity, because when Muse let their messianic, apocalyptic, bombastic best fly, they're a band capable of completely owning a 20,000-seat venue. Their hits are all buzz-saw guitars and jackhammer drums and Bellamy's awkward, alienated wail, and they sound really, really great when punctuated by the screams of adoring fans and accompanied by lasers and Jumbotron videos of robots doing the Macarena. But while Bellamy was plinking around like dystopia's very own Ben Folds, the rest of us were left twiddling thumbs, waiting for him to deign to pick up a guitar again. —Dave Hughes