Recently, I read an article focusing why New York City has always been such a central focus of comic books. Fascinating bits of history and background were woven into an entertaining story about a medium I love, but the real reason for the popularity of New York in Batman, Spider-Man, Watchmen and other comics without “man” or “men” at the end of the title was somewhat buried in the story. Obviously, most publishers were/are based in the city that populates all these panels, yet this was practically a footnote in the article. That’s like wondering why Dostoyevsky’s works always seem to feature Russia in one way or another. For that matter, what's the deal with Herman Melville often writing about sailing?
Another over analysis appeared on March 8, when Muse’s performance at Madison Square Garden was reviewed in an article titled “Slaying the Dragon Called Subtlety with Large-Scale Heroics.” The writer laments that Muse is over the top, while offering slight praise such as “When taken too seriously, Muse is as kitschy as it is impressive. It’s better to just let each showstopper build to its inevitable, satisfying wallop” while later in the article, saying Muse would not exist without Queen (another favorite band of mine, but an unfair and ignorant statement nonetheless).
I’m a proud superfan of Muse, and if they had a card for such a title, I would indeed carry it. Accompanied by my compatriot Matt Wadleigh (who has a blog he never updates here), I had a different take on the show. The special effects, from lasers to inflatable floating eyeballs to several digital screens in the form of towers, were unlike anything I had seen at any other concert (including the 2007 Muse concert I attended Gdynia, Poland). In this sense, I somewhat agree when the article that states:
Even the ballads went boom when Muse performed at Madison Square Garden on Friday night.
The second part of the lead paragraph takes back what might be construed as praise.
Muse, a three-man English band formed in the early 1990s, never misses a chance for melodrama.
Wadleigh and I, both writers, usually don’t have any problems expressing our thoughts on a variety of subjects, and this concert was no exception. As another song completed, Wadleigh told me “I just want to punch something.” Indeed, by the end of the show I had similar adrenaline-fueled feelings. As we walked towards the stairs to go leave the arena, I confided in Wadleigh that “I could probably headbutt a wall right now.”
A young girl, probably around 15, looked at me like I was something bizarre and to be pitied. Like the writer of the Times’ article, she was too square to understand. Just let the music take control and lose yourself. If you have the chance and the music is awesome enough, go absolutely fucking crazy. It’s human nature, unlike writing such sentences as “the science fiction continues in the lyrics, which present the singer as a romantic holdout — a revolutionary and a lover — in a dystopia of lies and mind control” about a rock band.