Muse - H.A.A.R.P. CD/DVD
Record Label: Warner Brothers
Release Date: April 1, 2008
If you've ever seen the movie Gladiator, you'll remember the final scene in the movie, the build up to the epic battle between good and evil in the movie where Maximus and Caesar rise up from a trap door beneath the stadium into the glory and splendor of the Roman Colosseum. Rose petals fall from the sky, giving an epic, serene beauty that clashes against the raging emotion running rampant through the protagonist. If your breath was taken away by that lush moment, prepare to get blown away by Muse's live offering, HAARP. Both parts of the CD/DVD begin with a classical overture intro that builds up the crowd and listener's anticipation (and, if watching the DVD, you'll see exactly what I mean by the Gladiator comparison) until setting things into motion with the opening notes of "Knights of Cydonia".
From there, it's over. Prepare to lose around two hours of your time to this DVD, as you will not be able to pull yourself away. The cinematography is simply stunning, providing unsurpassed visuals from any live DVD I've ever seen to the point that it feels like you're actually a part of the show. The crowd alone warrants a view of this DVD, as it's difficult to find a crowd on a television that actually gets your more into the performance, but this is just one of the myriad of subtle moments that will wow you. You will marvel at the sheer amount of people singing along to every single song and being totally into the entire performance. You will marvel at the trapeze artists during "Blackout". You will marvel at the various displays of color at the show. Simply put, it's just beautiful to look at and really helps provide the experience of a live setting, which many live DVDs do not do particularly well.
However, what does the picture matter if the music isn't worth listening to? If you know anything about this band (if you don't, what are you waiting for?), you'd know of their status as one of the best live acts on the planet. This release will surely help purport these claims for many years as it is as close to a flawless performance as possible. Matt Bellamy's vocals, piano, and guitar are always spot on and are exactly what they should be in a live setting--an enhanced rendition of the album version. He doesn't try anything to change the music, but just makes it sound the way it should. Chris Wolstenholme's bass playing and backup vocals are fantastic as usual, and drummer Dominic Howard never misses a beat. Could this be the best live band on the planet? Watch this DVD and see for yourself.
The main negative criticism that I have for the DVD would have to be the song selection, as songs like "Soldier's Poem" and "Invincible" are too slow for a DVD viewing. While it works in the live setting when you're actually there, the ability to skip the song often becomes a factor as the songs are simply too slow and just obstacles in between "Plug In Baby" and "Stockholm Syndrome". "Sing for Absolution" would have made a much better addition to the album in the slow song position as it sounds fantastic and features fantastic crowd involvement. However, these complaints are just missed brush strokes on a masterpiece.
The DVD is well worth the price of admission, but the inclusion of the album to make this experience portable makes this a must-buy. Their live experience has been captured than any other band I've ever seen and the entire experience is a pleasure to listen to. This is the kind of music that you want reverberating through your house with surround sound, while watching the performance on as big of a television as you can find. Ridley Scott would be proud.
That is a fucking good review, good job, Anton !
Muse is my favourite band and I think I'm definitely buying this sometime. I was so blown away when I saw them live last year and the videos and this review make me want to see/hear this so hard.
But I have to disagree about the slower songs, I thought they were beautiful and a break from the energy of the rest of the show.
My only slight complaint was I thought his voice was lacking a little during my favorite song, Stockholm Syndrome. Considering it was the second to last song though, he still did an amazing job. The man is human after all.