Denver, Colorado, May 7, 2010. The Fillmore Auditorium. 30 Seconds to Mars, fronted by actor-turned-rockstar, Jared Leto. And I do mean, “rockstar.” Leto has made a transition that so many try and so few achieve – from thriving actor to thriving musician.
From what I have seen from various reviews, all of the shows on 30 Seconds to Mars’ Into the Wild tour have started the same way: with Leto illuminated from behind a white curtain, playing the first track of their This is War album, “Escape.” From there the set lists have been mostly taken from the new album but bits and pieces have come from their previous two albums, A Beautiful Lie and the self-titled 30 Seconds to Mars album.
For me, it is not the music that makes a great show. I can listen to the music anytime I want (I have an awesome stereo system at home so I can even share it forcibly with the neighbors down the block if I want). For me, it is the performance. The personality of the band, first and foremost, followed by the effort they put into entertaining their fans. I am far more willing to forgive a couple of missed notes, a dropped beat, than I am to forgive a singer who cements himself behind the microphone stand and stays planted there for an hour. I don’t care if he sings every note dead on, perfect from behind the microphone stand. If he doesn’t move and entertain me, I may demand my money back.
It’s a good thing, then, that Jared Leto is a born performer. From start to finish, every second of the show, he put in the work, earning the applause and screams from the nearly 3700 fans at the Denver Fillmore. The show was sold out through Ticketmaster but there were still a few tickets available at the box office on the night of the show.
Part of a good performance, also, is interacting with the audience. “This isn’t a Celine Dion concert,” Leto quipped after only the first two songs. “Everyone take three giant steps forward.” Anyone looking for breathing room and personal space at that point, was out of luck. Another fan standing in the very same “personal space” I was in (that is to say, on my foot) asked, of anyone close enough to hear, “Is he trying to kill us?” as the number of people against the barrier doubled in the breadth of a single second. And that was only the first of several times I heard that very same question, each time from a different bewildered fan who simply couldn’t believe that he was asking this overstuffed can of sardines to jump up and down, or that he had, for a second time that night, told people to take three steps forward.
Besides hearing the new album almost in its entirety (albeit slightly out of order), Mile High fans were treated to my two absolute favorite 30 Second to Mars tracks, “From Yesterday” and “The Kill” as well as a well done, however absurd, cover of Lady GaGa’s “Bad Romance.” As most-of-the-time-drummer Shannon Leto took center stage to play “L490,” backed up by the trio’s usual lead guitarist, Tomo Miliĉević, brother Jared was making his way stealthily through the crowd to perch above the sound booth, located in the center of the main floor of the auditorium. How one can “make his way stealthily through the crowd” with six inches of bright pink hair standing straight out from his head is still a mystery to most who were there, but he did.
It was from this position in the center of the packed auditorium that he started “Bad Romance,” accompanied by a building full of excited fans, then moved into an acoustic version of “The Kill,” which turned electric following what could only be called an expedition through the screaming, surging crowd, back to the stage.
The show came to a close as nearly twenty fans joined 30 Seconds to Mars onstage to help sing the finale, the first single from the This is War album, “Kings and Queens.” All in all it was an amazing night, one I know I will remember for a long time, and my only advice is if you get a chance to see 30 Seconds to Mars live, do not miss out. It is worth every penny.