Live at Honda Center

April 19, 2023 Review by Jimmy Alvarez
It was December 8, 1979 in Inglewood, California. I was at the Fabulous Forum and I was about to take in a show that would shape my life for decades. I was very lucky to see Earth, Wind & Fire in their heyday; that night I formed what I thought was what all shows should be like. The reality of that perception was anything but reality and it was an unrealistic expectation. I say that because that show featured great musicians playing great music with great lyrics. Their showmanship intertwined with a video and light showed that would be unparalleled for years. Fast forward to 2023, and it was time to go back in time and back to the future with a band called Muse.

The night started off innocent enough, fans rolling into the sold-out Honda Center. The crowd was congregating represented the full spectrum of concertgoers. Young and young at heart, rockers, punkers, and the stoner crowd were out and about and ready to take in the show.  
Opening the show were Massachusetts dynamic rock duo, Highly Suspect. The band features twin brothers, Rich Myers on bass and Ryan on drums. The band rounds out with Johnny Stevens on guitar and lead vocals, Matt Kofos also on guitar and synthesizer. The only downside to having larger than life bands on a bill is the openers have abbreviated sets. That was the case with Highly Suspect. The crowd was still filing in when they took the stage, and for those not present, they missed out on a very nice, energy-filled performance.

Highly Suspect was a great opener entertaining the crowd with a high-octane beat with a pulsating rhythm. They got a very good response from the earlybirds with “Bath Salts,” “Lydia,” “Serotonia,” “Natural Born Killer,” “My Name is Human,” and they closed with “Pink Lullaby.”
After a very brief intermission, Alt-Goth-Metal legends Evanescence took the stage. The band from Little Rock, Arkansas was poised to put on a show for the diverse crowd. As the lights dimmed, the crowd cheered and you could see the silhouettes of drummer Will Hunt getting behind the drum kit, followed by guitarists Tim McCord and Troy McLawhorn; then Emma Anzai took her place on stage on bass.

Evanescence Live | Photo by Green-Eyed Blonde Photography

As the first note to “Broken Pieces Shine” filled the arena, Amy Lee took immediate command of the stage with her in your face attitude and undeniably epic vocals.  
We all knew from the onset that this would be an abbreviated set, but wow…. we all got a glimpse into the power behind Evanescence.  Playing from their over two-decade catalog and from their latest, “The Bitter Truth,” Lee took no prisoners, hitting hard with crowd favorites “What You Want,” “Going Under,” “Take Over,” and “Call Me When You’re Sober.”
McCord and McLawhorn were on fire, while Anzai was flea-like on bass. Lee ventured from behind the mic, to behind the piano, to out on the catwalk, to engage with fans.

Evanescence Live | Photo by Green-Eyed Blonde Photography
The crowd was so involved in the performance they sang along, especially to “Lithium,” “Wasted on You,” “End of the Dream,” “Better Without You,” “Imaginary,” and, “Use My Voice.” At every opportunity Lee expressed how happy they were to be playing in Anaheim and the fans were very happy to see Evanescence.
As the music got more intense, Lee displayed her vocal range to “Blind Belief,” “My Immortal,” and ended their set with their super-hit, “Bring Me to Life.”  

Evanescence Live | Photo by Green-Eyed Blonde Photography
As Honda Center took its collective breath, the sold-out house was primed and ready for the Will of the People tour.  As in recent shows we have covered at Honda Center, the intermission before the stage was re-set did not take long at all. Then the lights dimmed, the video element took effect and out came Muse.

The crowd lost its mind the second they took the stage. Immediately the theme was clear as “Will of the People” was front and center. 

MUSE Live | Photo by Green-Eyed Blonde Photography
The crowd got their first look at their sonic heroes. Wearing cool, silver mirror-ball masks, out emerged lead singer and guitarist Matthew Bellamy, bassist Chris Wolstenholme and drummer Dominic Howard.      

MUSE Live | Photo by Green-Eyed Blonde Photography

Muse made it clear; they were there to entertain. Immediately Bellamy displayed his vocal range and that perfect pitch of distortion rang throughout Honda Center. The theme was “Will of the People,” but Muse played songs from their nearly three decades of larger-than-life and era-defining albums.  


Anaheim, California
April 12, 2023

MUSE Live | Photo by Dan Siebold Photography

The fact that being showmen is clearly in their blood, fans took notice of the epic scale of this moment in time. Bellamy did not lose sight of this and took off down the catwalk to welcome the crowd to the show. The sold-out crowd was almost as loud as a 747 landing at nearby John Wayne airport when they segued into “Hysteria.”
The crowd was cartoon-like in their demeanor as the hysteria went up a notch as the video footage started; just like that Earth, Wind and Fire show, this event was more than “just” a show. The video element was just right, it told a story without overwhelming the crowd.

MUSE Live | Photo by Green-Eyed Blonde Photography
What was cool was the streamers, confetti and flames catapulted us through space and time and  the stage and arena gave the look and sensation that we were all part of the SciFi inspired post-apocalyptic world depicted in the video. This was a conceptual journey of sight and sound that was nothing less than jaw dropping.

MUSE Live | Photo by Green-Eyed Blonde Photography

With a dynamic stage and light show, Bellamy and Wolstenholme went off with “Psycho,” “Stockholm Syndrome,” “Won’t Stand Down,” and “Kill or Be Killed.” Despite their high-energy show, Bellamy looked relaxed in his florescent t-shirt, and Wolstenholme in his Chuck Taylors.

MUSE Live | Photo by Dan Siebold Photography

With a wink and smile, Bellamy led Muse into “Compliance,” “Thought Contagion,” “Verona,” then the bit parade took off. The crowd went nuts to “Time is Running Out,” “Undisclosed Desires,” and their uber-hit “Madness.”
Throughout the show Bellamy expressed how much the band appreciated the crowd and their enthusiasm that they fed off.

MUSE Live | Photo by Green-Eyed Blonde Photography
What brought smiles to everyone face was the next set, special attention was given to the video boards to “We Are Fucking Fucked,” “The Dark Side,” and then everyone communed with Muse to “Supermassive Black Hole!”
Before we could all catch our collective breath, the guys went back at it with “Plug in Baby,” Bellamy’s synth-instrumental “Behold, the Glove,” “Uprising,” and then in a final push… they closed with “Starlight.”  
Just like that day in Inglewood, the crowd gave a standing ovation and cheered them back to the stage. Muse came out to the Simulation Theory Theme (JFK), and gave the crowd what they wanted, a proper send off. Muse closed to the screaming fans to a harmonica-infused version of “Knights of Cydonia.”

MUSE Live | Photo by Green-Eyed Blonde Photography
This show was hitting on all cylinders. It was entertaining, engaging, a visual and sensory journey. along with the overhead propelled stimulation, you could feel the heat from the fire on stage!

MUSE at Honda Center | Photo by Dan Siebold Photography

Just like that fateful day at the Fabulous Forum, Muse lived up to the hype… and more.
I don’t say this lightly as I love so many bands that I truly respect – this show may give fuel to the argument that Muse may just be the most entertaining band on the fucking planet!   


by Green-Eyed Blonde Photography
and Dan Siebold