This week, for your reading enjoyment, we have compiled critical reviews of live performances from Muse in Los Angeles; Bad Bunny in Miami; Maren Morris in Nashville; Santana in Houston; Aaron Lewis in Oklahoma City, Okla.; and Kurt Vile in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
Rob Grabowski/Invision/AP – Muse
Matt Bellamy performs on day one at Lollapalooza in Grant Park in Chicago.
Muse @ Forum in Inglewood, Calif., March 11 – “So there were a lot of neon-style pinks and greens outlining Muse’s stage ramps, and a lot of helmeted extras — maybe we could call them dancers — wielding giant light batons (not to be confused with sabers), looking a little bit sinister, a little bit goofy in helmets with LED faceplates emitting squiggly patterns. Toward the end, just to fix the aesthetic they were going for in time and space, Bellamy even stepped up to a facsimile of a vintage videogame console. It was, at times, very ‘Tron on Ice.’” – Chris Willman / Variety
Bad Bunny @ AmericanAirlines Arena in Miami, Fla., March 14 – “The show couldn’t have been any better, but Bad Bunny had more up his sweaty sleeves. J Balvin appeared in a multicolored T-shirt, baby-blue pants, and dark sunglasses, and the crowd melted down in excitement. Latin trap’s finest gave concertgoers exactly what they wanted with a performance of ‘Sensualidad,’ ‘I Like It,’ and more. As the night came to an end, white confetti poured from the roof and Bad Bunny thanked seemingly every Spanish-speaking country except Panama. Miami’s Latinos can wholeheartedly say they were blessed.” – Cristina Jerome / Miami New Times
Santana @ RodeoHouston in NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas, March 13 – “Save for [one] solitary moment, Santana was but a piece of a larger unit. An integral one, to be sure, but the legendary guitarist was intent on showcasing more than his own prowess Wednesday night. He wanted his band, which included his wife Cindy Blackman on drums and boasted plenty of skill themselves, to have space to flaunt their own talents during their first RodeoHouston concert. Most importantly, his debut left fans clamoring for more, even though we all knew there just wasn’t enough time for an 11-minute guitar solo.” – Matthew Keever / Houston Press
aLIVE Coverage – Maren Morris
Maren Morris performs during “Crash My Playa” at Barcelo Maya Beach Resort in Quintana Roo, Mexico, Jan. 19.
Maren Morris @ Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, Tenn., March 13 – “The ‘Girl’ show plays like a pocket-sized arena spectacle, with Morris rising out of the stage at the outset, a massive video screen looming behind her, and dashes of flair — like the bubbles that filled the room during ‘80s Mercedes.’ “’You really only get to do your (first) big-ass headline show once,’ Morris explained. ‘And so I tried to pull out all the stops for you guys.’” – Dave Paulson / Nashville Tennessean
Aaron Lewis @ The Criterion in Oklahoma City, Okla., March 9 – “While performing at The Criterion in Oklahoma City, Lewis asked the audience to stay quiet so that he could perform a completely unplugged version of the Staind song ‘Intro.’ When it became apparent that the concert attendees weren’t going to comply, Lewis got a bit exasperated and returned to the mic.
“‘Listen, if you don’t shut the fuck up, you can’t even hear the guitar,’ he said. ‘So shut up. I’ve got three more fucking minutes — three. Can you please for once…? Through the whole fucking evening, you guys have talked all fucking night. Shut the fuck up or I’m done.’” – Blabbermouth
Kurt Vile @ Revolution Live in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., March 13 – “Throughout the show, Vile and drummer Kyle Spence were the only band members onstage who played the same instruments on every track. Multi-instrumentalists Jesse Trbovich and Rob Laasko swapped bass, guitar and keyboards throughout the set, maintaining an interesting state of flux. Sonically, the show was exactly what I hoped it would be. The rhythm section was tight, the guitars were lush, and Vile’s distinctive, almost Dylanesque voice shone through the PA like it does on his records. Vile tweaked and stomped on his massive pedalboard all night, constantly evolving the tone and effects of his acoustic and electric guitars as the show progressed. “ – James Biagotti / Boca