Whether you view them as dynamic rock & roll rulers or overblown Radiohead
knock-offs, it's hard to contend with Muse
's strength as a live act. H.A.A.R.P
. shows the band strutting its stuff in front of a sold-out audience at Wembley Stadium, with a set list that relies heavily on 2006's Black Holes and Revelations
but still dips into the band's back catalog. The accompanying DVD gives a flashy, glitzy face to the music, and the refreshing lack of lightning-fast camera editing helps boost it above the band's previous CD/DVD combo, Hullabaloo Soundtrack
. Still, the audio disc holds up quite well on its own, both for its crystal clear sound quality as well as the band's confident performance. Muse's intricate, electronics-laced material isn't the easiest thing to replicate in a live setting, but H.A.A.R.P
. sounds as sharp as the band's studio albums, with Matthew Bellamy
often adding different guitar flourishes (a brand new riff here, an extended solo there) to make these live renditions unique. And even if a small handful of songs sound nearly identical to their studio counterparts, it's nice to hear a song like "Starlight" -- a tune that has always sounded like it was consciously created for arena-sized crowds -- finally get the proper Wembley Stadium treatment.