30 Seconds to Mars: an arena masterclass

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On Saturday 24th March, 13,000 people made their way to Manchester Arena to watch 30 Seconds to Mars on their long awaited UK arena tour The Monolith. Despite the lack of support acts, which would have made the wait for the main event a lot more exciting, Jared Leto’s exceptional ability to create an atmosphere in such a huge space and in a short amount of time was impressive. It was, however, aided by the showing of a promotional video for ‘Camp Mars’ and the playing of ‘Monolith Intro’, a powerful, driven instrumental track, prior to the band being revealed from an immense metal box in the middle of the arena.

Interestingly, it was only Jared and drummer Shannon Leto who occupied the stage for the majority of the gig, with the exception of the members of the audience who were deemed ‘crazy’ enough to be brought on stage. The other two musicians were placed behind the stage at nearly crowd level, which in some ways had a negative effect on the atmosphere, giving the already somewhat soul-less tracks even less musicality. The isolation of the Leto brothers contributed to Jared’s prophetic aura, emphasised by his stylistic choice of a multi-coloured poncho for the first part of the show.

Jared’s interaction with the crowd, and with his brother was perfect, almost textbook. He used every inch of the stage and made sure the crowd stayed energetic by telling them to ‘jump!’ and get on each other’s shoulders every couple of minutes. Although it worked well given the unprecedented loyalty and euphoria of his fans, it was somewhat impersonal and had vacant undertones. However, as the show progressed, his interaction seemed sincerer and both of them appeared to be genuinely elated by the atmosphere that was being created around them. A key moment of the show was during the track ‘This is War’. Before the song, Jared had the crowd chant “This is War” which did wonders to the building of energy in the room, and it was topped off with the release of around a hundred huge, multi-coloured balloons which bounced around the arena for the rest of the song creating a beautiful scene, especially when combined with a truly remarkable show of moving panel-lights and a light-up stage.

Despite elements of cheesy, empty patriotism, such as the waving of St. George’s cross, a tweet to Theresa May, and phrases such as ‘the city has balls’, the Leto brothers ultimately pulled off an arena concert which ticked all of the right boxes. The astonishing use of lighting and graphics, along with an onstage proposal, a set list which contained all of the band’s best known songs, and a live video from Jared’s point of view shown back at the crowd from a gigantic screen behind the stage, managed to evoke emotion from everyone in the room, and created an awesome atmosphere.


‘Rescue Me’, the latest single from 30 Seconds to Mars, is out now! It’s lifted from their upcoming album America, which is due to be released on 6th April via Interscope Records.

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