30 Seconds To Mars
Aragon Ballroom – Chicago, IL
April 16, 2010
Thanks to 30 Seconds To Mars, I will never be able to attend another concert again. This may sound dramatic, but the three-piece rock band from Los Angeles put on such a nostalgic performance last Friday night at Chicago’s historic Aragon Ballroom that I am now skeptical there are any other bands who can compare. I have never been to a show where I felt so appreciated as a fan by the artist performing. Lead singer (and obvious frontman) Jared Leto profusely thanked the audience throughout the band’s epic set. All three members of 30 Seconds To Mars proceeded to hang out following their gig to sign autographs for die-hard fans. The guys did not leave the venue until every single person who waited in line for an autograph got what they wanted. This procedure took about an hour and a half.
Set List / Chicago
Night Of The Hunter
A Beautiful Lie
This Is War
Closer To The Edge
Search And Destroy
Buddha For Mary
Kings And Queens
As Leto said in response to security guards during the second song of the show, “Let the people do whatever the fuck they want. It’s their show.” And so it was, with bewitched audience members voluntarily under Leto’s spell. We marched when he told us to march. We moshed when he told the security guards to leave us alone. We screamed when he told us to get fucking wild. We crowd-surfed when he told us to come up on stage. And we sang at the top of our lungs when he conducted us with his microphone. Leto is a leader in the truest form and the fans in Chicago were more than willing to follow him.
Finding ways to connect with the audience in any way possible, 30STM sole songwriter Jared Leto relied on many elements of the show, including the use of a spotlight to display select audience members. The rhythm guitarist even snuck out to the soundboard halfway through the concert and performed three songs from there with his acoustic guitar. To get back on stage, Leto split the crowd in half right down the middle of the general admission main floor. Originally planning to walk through the now divided fans on either side of him, Leto ended up having to walk on top of fans instead. It’s doubtful that any person objected to having their favorite rock star standing on their shoulders. What better way to connect with your fans?
For the larger-than-life legendary encore, almost 100 fans were invited by Leto to come on stage with 30 Seconds To Mars and have a dance party while the band performed their huge hit and lead single from new record This Is War, “Kings And Queens.” I witnessed hysterical, crying kids who will remember that moment for the rest of their lives. Overall, the ambient effects of the show were quite impressive. The strobe lighting paired with the intense sound amplified by the rehearsed execution of 30STM’s playing only helped to enhance their live performance. The group’s sound has a futuristic feel to it that forced my body to pulsate in time to the beat of Shannon Leto’s drumming.
After not touring in the U.S. for the past three years, the Into The Wild Tour has 30 Seconds To Mars promoting their third studio album This Is War, which was released in December 2009. The band formed in 1998 and released their self-titled debut album 30 Seconds To Mars in 2002. Sophomore musical effort A Beautiful Lie proved to be hugely successful, catapulting the trio into the spotlight with hit singles “The Kill” and “From Yesterday.”
Along with Jared Leto are fellow band members Shannon Leto (Jared’s older brother) and Tomo Milicevic. I cannot stress enough that this concert was nothing less than an epic experience memorable to all who attended. Furthermore, as Leto considers Chicago his home away from home, you can best believe that the next time 30 Seconds To Mars are in Chicago we will welcome them back with open arms, hot pink mohawk and all.
Click on Thumbnails of 30 Seconds to Mars to enlarge photos:
Written by: Kate Jacobsen
Photographed by: Jennifer Boyer
*Not photographed in this review: Tomo Milicevic (lead guitar, violin, keyboards)