Reviews: Sam Smith, Trans-Siberian Orchestra, Muse, Jason Isbell, The Weeknd, Jennifer Nettles

From Sam Smith touring Australia to Jennifer Nettles performing in Maryland, we’ve searched the internets for the best critiques scribes have to offer, including appraisals of Trans-Siberian Orchestra, Muse, Jason Isbell and The Weeknd.

Photo: John Shearer/Invision/AP
Accepting the award for record of the year for “Stay With Me” at the 57th annual Grammy Awards in Los Angeles.

Sam Smith @ Quantas Credit Union Arena in Sydney, Australia, Dec. 4 – “With just one album’s worth of songs and a stripped back stage — no Swifty rotating catwalks here – Smith entertains with THAT voice and a superb band who bring the old school funk back to a pop show, right down to the choreography for ‘Restart.’” – Kathy McCabe/News Corp Australia Network/

Trans-Siberian Orchestra @Santander Arena in Reading, Pa., Nov. 25 – “It was a generous, 2½-hour helping of the band’s trademark pageantry: blistering guitars, soaring vocals, pyrotechnics and elaborate light shows synced to the music.” – Jon Fassnacht/Reading Eagle

Muse @ Toyota Center in Houston, Texas, Dec. 1 — “On the first date of the U.S. leg of the Drones World Tour, Muse provided me with things that I had never seen before. Things that were beautiful. Things that blew me away. They’ve always been strong performers, and while their songs and shows had an air of theatricality, this tour is something different. Sure, it’s in the round, which always makes for a more interesting night out, but it’s more than just the stage layout; this production sees the band performing on a completely different level.” – Cory Garcia/Houston Press

Jason Isbell @ Durham Performing Arts Center in Durham, N.C., Nov. 19 – “While Isbell is a musician’s musician, his ability to capture a room with words serves him best. His lyrical offerings cut through the mix of a full band with ease and his ability to annunciate without lazily slurring a single line throughout the night showed a concerted effort on his part to put the songs first, above everything else.” – Phil Perry/Lincoln Times-News

Photo: Chris McKay /
Shaky Boots Music Festival, KSU Sports And Entertainment Park, Kennesaw, Ga.

The Weeknd @ Bell Centre in Montreal, Quebec, Nov. 24 – “The Weeknd that enraptured the Bell Centre stage in bold fashion on Tuesday night still had a limited set of dance moves, but his singing, occasionally delivered in an R. Kelly-inspired storytelling cadence, has grown more versatile.” – Erik Leijon/Montreal Gazette

Jennifer Nettles @ The Fillmore Silver Spring in Silver Spring, Md.,  Nov. 20 – “She opened strong with ‘Baby Girl,’ a Sugarland single from 2004. Though it was jarring to realize this song is now more than a decade old, Nettles sounded the same as she did when it first hit the charts.” – Molly Podlesny/The Diamondback