(featuring Velvet Revolver, Muse, Jimmy Eat World, The Music and Keane)

December 5, 2004
The Arena At Gwinnett - Duluth, GA



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The Music:

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Jimmy Eat World:

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Muse completely stole the show at 99X’s Mistle Toe Jam.  It’s hard to put it into words but all of the words that might work end in "ic.” They were cathartic, monolithic, gigantic and (how ‘bout) seismic. The amazing thing was that this audience had clearly never heard of them before. They had come to see “Guns ‘N’ Pilots”, not some wussy English power trio. It’s all the more impressive then that by the end of the opening song, “Apocalypse Please,” Muse had the audience’s attention. By the end of the bone-crushingly heavy “Hysteria,” jaws had dropped throughout the sold out arena. This was one of the only times I’ve gotten goose bumps this year at a concert.

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"Time Is Running Out", "Butterflies And Hurricanes," "Thoughts Of A Dying Atheist” and “The Small Print” were all played as if the band’s lives depended on them being done well. Muse may be the most emotionally charged and musically powerful band I've ever seen. I was completely floored. The biggest surprise was the audience reaction. I couldn't have imagined that Stone Temple Roses fans would appreciate the soaring virtuosity and progressive bent of Muse but they were that good. Unbelievable!

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Velvet Revolver:

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After too long a delay (perhaps not wanting to follow Muse), Velvet Revolver charged out. It was all there. The smoking grooves of Slash, Duff McKagan and Matt Sorum sounded as much like Guns 'N' Roses as ever. Meanwhile, Stone Temple Pilots' front man Scott Weiland is arguably the best showman in rock and roll. The only problem is that Velvet Revolver's songs aren't strong enough to overwhelm the novelty of the Guns 'N' Pilots phenomena.

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"Fall To Pieces" and "Set Me Free" were probably the only two that stood up to the members' collective history. Luckily, none of that mattered when Duff launched into G'N'R's "It's So Easy. The place went ballistic. And rightly so as Weiland's voice sounded almost just like Axl's as the rest of the band rode the song harder than I ever could've imagined. I'd forgotten just how sleazy and on the verge of implosion the Appetite-era was. This was a quick re-schooling. The super group followed it with STP's misogynist anthem "Sex Type Thing." This got an even bigger response from the crowd. If only VR had new songs that could match up with the intensity of their past glories...

Chris McKay (concertshots.com)

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