By Pam Sunlitis
In my opinion, the last couple years have been a very positive resurgence of alternative/punk music the likes I haven’t seen since the 80’s. I got tickets to see 30 Seconds to Mars because I loved their latest CD, “This is War”. I didn’t know much about the band at the time.
On Saturday, April 30th I went to see them on a beautiful spring night. It was perfect concert going weather. I had originally purchased four seats but only two of us were able to go that night. The crowd was a mixed group; mostly college age students with some people in their 30’s (my age group), and a few much older (50’s) and even some much younger (early teen’s and pre-teens). I was having an 80’s flashback due to all of the neon, spandex, and headbands. Glow-in-the-dark paint was sported on about a third of the audience’s faces, wild hairstyles were everywhere, and headdresses and wigs were prevalent. It was great people watching!
Although this particular venue offered inside and lawn seating, only the inside was being used for this night’s concert. The first thing my friend and I did was hit the indoor bar. There were two opening bands for this concert according to our bartender– CB7 (who was just finishing up when we got there) and Anberlin. I hadn’t realized that Anberlin was opening and was excited to hear them play too.
After a couple of drinks, we wandered in to our seats. We were stage right, section 104 row J. Basically, we had great seats for the concert. Anberlin came on stage and did a fairly short set of about 5 or 6 songs. Their lead singer sounded awesome! I’ve been to more concerts than I can count and it’s rare to have a singer sound so good live. The crowd was pumped at this point and on their feet by the time they played their hit songs, “Impossible” and “Feel Good Drag”. I found myself singing along with these faves and wishing I knew the rest of their songs. I vowed to myself to purchase their CD after the concert.
There was a break to reset the stage before 30 Seconds to Mars came on – so, back to the bar we went for more drinks and people watching. Saw one guy with dredlocks down to his knees and a girl with an Indian headdress. This was a really fun crowd. And to think I had nixed buying that neon sparkle tank because I didn’t know where I would wear it!
The outer bar area emptied which was a clear sign that 30STM was on their way so we went back to our seats. Their stage set was mostly visible from our angle although the center of the stage was hidden by a ceiling to floor white curtain. The stage consisted of flags, skeletons, and the large (Mason?) triangle symbol.
From the first song, 30STM had the crowd going. Lead singer Jared Leto was highly entertaining and incredibly interactive with the audience. After the curtain dropped, he threw handfuls of lit glow sticks to the crowd. He was an 80’s music video icon with his neon glasses and wearing dozens of glow sticks on his pants and shirt. He ran around the stage and interacted directly with those in the mosh pit. For their hit song, “This is War” he invited the audience to sing-a- long which was a theme for the night. Giant red balloons were thrown out and machines shot out white confetti. In between songs, Leto handpicked audience members to come up on stage. To the bane of security, he encouraged people to fill the aisles and get closer to the stage (the venue security were unsuccessful in keeping people back by the end of the show), and threw out an invitation to see how many people could get up on shoulders. All of the audience stood for their entire show, some of them sitting on friend’s shoulders or standing on the chair arms. The guy in front of me fell backwards at one point crashing to the floor. For all that, however, this audience was definitely one of the tamer ones that I’ve seen.
They had only done about 5 or 6 songs when Leto told the crowd good night which was surprising – oh, and not true at all. Leto wound up in the back stadium singing song requests. After a few songs, he went back to the stage to finish the night. By the last song, there were at least 50 people from the audience on stage with security trying to maintain order on the floor. It was wall to wall people with fists pumping everywhere.
The concert was a lot of fun with my only wish that they had done more music. I didn’t count, but they probably played less than ten songs for the night. It would have been great to hear more. Jared Leto is a fantastic entertainer. I would definitely see 30STM again!