CONCERT REVIEW: 30 Seconds to Mars

On April 28, 2010, 30 Seconds to Mars’ “Into the Wild” tour hit the House of Blues in Orlando, FL for a sold out show. After traversing the globe to promote their newest album, This is War, the band showed no sign of slowing down. Following opening acts Neon Trees and MUTEMATH, both of which did a fabulous job of warming up the crowd, and, in my opinion, were excellent choices for 30STM to tour with, a huge white sheet was drawn across the stage from top to bottom. Suspense builds, lights drop, and a spotlight shined on the sheet revealing singer/songwriter Jared Leto’s outline. Cue crowd of screaming teenybopper girls. Geez, I wish there were more guys here! I feel it would lend more credibility to how truly amazing this band is. The sheet is released from the top, cascading to the ground in dramatic fashion. Strobe lights erupt to the sound of “Night of the Hunter” and so does Jared. Spinning, running, jumping, he darts around the stage as if on fire, and it is impossible to focus my camera on him and his military-style navy blue coat and pink rimmed sunglasses. 30STM always puts on a spectacular, energy-filled, passionate show, but this is the best I’ve ever seen them. It’s been amazing to see how quickly they rose and really become a phenomenal band.

Shannon Leto is behind his massive drum kit on the right side of the stage which is stacked with both acoustic and electric elements that add to the overall sound of the music. The drums are wrapped in photos of the band’s fans, which 30STM prefer to refer to as “family” since to them it feels more like a cohesive group then an “us” and “them” thing. The band/fan interaction is a large part of the group’s outlook on their music. I was fortunate enough to be part of “The Summit” in Los Angeles in April 2009 where 1,000 fans gathered and recorded with 30STM for over five hours to become part of This is War. We clapped, shouted, whispered, stamped, and sang at the top of our lungs with Jared directing us the whole time to capture exactly what he wanted for the record. I loved seeing him so excited about what we were doing there and his process of creating music. It was an amazing experience I will never forget. Back to Shannon…Shannon is a monster on the drums. He has an earthy, natural, powerful way of playing that meshes with Jared’s songwriting perfectly.

After slamming through a slew of songs from This is War and 2005’s A Beautiful Lie, the band took to center stage for a calming moment with Shannon playing a genuine crystal bowl for his contribution to the record, “L490,” and donning an Asian-style jacket. Jared then headed out into the crowd to sing from the sound booth with his pomegranate mohawk and contrasting acoustic guitar. A medley of “The Story,” The Police’s “Message in a Bottle,” and Lady Gaga’s “Bad Romance,” ensued, with Jared also looking for requests from the audience. As is typical in situations such as these, “Free Bird!” was yelled out, and Jared said that he would play it if someone could sing the first line of the song to start him off. Before playing “Bad Romance” which they first premiered on the
BBC’s Radio 1’s Live Lounge, Jared said that he likes Lady Gaga because she’s one person that he thinks is weirder than him. He had had ten people mention how weird he is today alone. I believe it, but that is often what makes for greatness.

Jared fought his way through the crowd back to the stage (and I was surprised all the females let him get away) and ended the set with more high-energy songs and the band headed off stage. A few times during the show Jared mentioned that he was inviting certain audience members to join them on stage during “Kings and Queens,” which is the first single off of This is War and features the gang vocals predominant on the entire album, so we knew they would be coming out for at least one more song. I was hoping for more than one, but it turned out to be the only encore song because chaos broke out when Jared invited anyone who wanted to to come on stage and sing with him. Around 50 people took him up on the offer before they closed the stage door. An enthusiastic version of “Kings and Queens” followed and the show ended.

If you ever have a chance to see 30 Seconds to Mars play live, please go. Even if you aren’t a huge fan of the music, you need to see it live and experience the energy that Jared Leto gives off. It is contagious. He is larger than life and isn’t afraid to show it and that is what makes this band a cut above anyone else out there today.

Set list:
Night of the Hunter
Vox Populi
From Yesterday
Search and Destroy
This is War
100 Suns
The Story
Message in a Bottle (The Police)
Bad Romance (Lady Gaga)
The Kill
Closer to the Edge
The Fantasy

Kings and Queens

1 comment:

  1. Do you have any more photographs from "Kings and Queens?"