Amherst, Massachusetts Mullins Center

[b]Muse[/b] take on America...

For Muse's brief stint on stage, they owned it. Chris Wolstenholme banged his head, Dominic Howard banged his drums, and Matt Bellamy coaxed effects out of his guitar-holding it high above his head like a true rock-star.

They tore through pounding versions of 'Sunburn,' 'Muscle Museum', and 'Cave', slowing only for the intro of 'Showbiz.'. When Bellamy wailed the line "I don't want you to adore me, don't want you to ignore me," he wasn't kidding. Dave Grohl didn't come off as sure. 'Monkey Wrench' got the crowd going, 'Learn to Fly' and the drum-driven 'Aurora', kept them going, but much of the audience sat through the mellower moments.

Despite the new album's arena-rock mood, the only lighters to be seen were from fidgety smokers. Despite the sag, the Foo rallied in the end, punching through 'I'll Stick Around', 'This is a Call' and stopping 'Everlong' for a moment of silence before a boisterous reprise.

In the end, it was clearly a Chili Peppers show. As soon as they dug into the clunky funk of 'Around the World', the crowd was berserk. The only problem was medical. Flea's enthusiastic bass-work had worn a hole in his thumb that needed several nursing breaks. The Peppers didn't lose much momentum though.

One of Flea's breaks even sparked a Frusciante-only version of Elton John's 'Your Song'. The sway-inducing 'Otherside' and the still classic 'Under the Bridge', were balanced by a fierce and fun version of 'I like Dirt' and an extra-long, extra-funky version of 'If You Have to Ask'. What made the Peppers magic though, was the love and chemistry they gave off.

Flea and Frusciante played as if physically and musically whispering to each other. The collective energy they thrive was summed up with the show closer, 'Me & My Friends'. If "Red Hot" wasn't so dead on, they could have named themselves "Blood, Sweat, and Tears," cause that's what they give.

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