MUSE, EVANESCENCE, ONE OK ROCK
NATIONWIDE ARENA | COLUMBUS, OHIO
MARCH 7, 2023
By Neil Shumate, OOTB Publications
Muse is a force to be reckoned with. The UK trio have always set the bar high for arena concert productions and last night was no exception. Not only was the live audio sharp, precise and alarmingly thunderous at appropriate times, but the overall creative direction and show design was captivating.
Each song was its own spectacle—from colorful streamers and snow-like confetti to a stage engulfed in pyro and six floating glass mirrors lined with running and intersecting florescent tube lights. All songs were consistently backed with stunningly bright lighting as a large ominous masked facial statue lurked in the back, looking left, looking right. Muse’s touring cycle “Eddie,” with a surprise if you stayed for the encore.
A frequently used runway extended out from the main stage’s center into the audience forming a smaller secondary stage; at one point all three members joined together there to perform the Depeche Mode-like “Undisclosed Desires.” Dominic Howard’s drums colorfully lit up with each thud and Chris Wolstenholme’s bass was lit along its neck.
Nearing the end of the two-hour set, diverse opera-ranging tenor vocalist Matthew Bellamy even became a lighting attraction himself by sporting a vest covered with circular lights that danced in unison with the prog alt rock band’s music.
Bellamy smiled and greeted the crowd a couple times, once expressing thanks and also mentioning that it was their first Columbus’ performance in ten years.
The set list focused on songs from the band’s latest, Will Of The People, but classics from Black Holes and Revelations, Absolution, and The 2nd Law were not overlooked. The energetic, polished song performances from the group’s wide-genre-ranging music balanced well with toned down Floyd-like instrumental segments and brief dystopian video interludes.
The band gave attendees a memorable, professional, fun concert experience with surprises from start to finish. Many fans even took home a tangible part of the show—sporting tiny squares of confetti in their hair and clothing.
Evanescence opened with a powerful hour-long set. Wearing a black dress with an attached red scarf on her right hand and matching red boots, Amy Lee gave it her all; delivering an astounding performance. Lee graced the piano many times with a Tori Amos vibe and jumped up to rock out like Cristina Scabbia. With backing vocals by bassist Emma Anxai (Sick Puppies), Lee’s clear, wide ranging vocals matched that which can be heard on studio albums, with performances from the band’s recent release Bitter Truth as well as classic sing-along songs, including: “Bring Me To Life,” “Call Me When You’re Sober,” and “Going Under.” Amy Lee should be a coach on The Voice.
Japan’s One Ok Rock didn’t disappoint with upbeat poppy rock/post-hardcore songs in a style somewhat like Fall Out Boy or Ice Nine Kills, but still making it their own. Lead vocalist Taka moved across the stage with circular high steps and a solid high vocal pitch (think Michael Jackson) with catchy crowd involved choruses, notably during “Renegades.” The experienced touring Tokyo band delivered a well-rounded confident performance.