30 Seconds to Mars – January 28, 2011 – Atlanta, GA – Tabernacle
Guests: Middle Class Rut
Way back at the end of January, I headed back over to Atlanta to meet my concert buddy Laura once again, this time to catch alternative rockers 30 Seconds to Mars. Fronted by singer/songwriter Jared Leto on rhythym guitar, the rest of the band consists of his brother, Shannon Leto on drums/percussion, and Tomo Milicevic (lead guitar).
(Note: the band does have touring musicians on other instruments, but so far no amount of searching has turned up any names for me. If you know who they are, please pass them along so I can include their names in this post!)
For those who might be unfamiliar, this is a band with a very memorable sound that I find hard to describe – but I’ll give it a go anyway. Mixing surrealish, larger-than-life prog elements with an energetic rhythm, Jared Leto’s incredible voice, and lyrics which speak to the band’s fans on so many different levels, it’s somehow both aggressive and hypnotic at the same time. I find myself lost in it for hours.
Like several other acts I’ve seen recently, this would be my first time to see them. But definitely not the last! I had already heard from several people how amazing their live performances are, so I couldn’t wait to experience this for myself. In fact, one friend said if she didn’t have responsibilities, she’d follow 30 Seconds to Mars around. After having seen them, I would have to agree. I totally get that now.
I arrived in Atlanta pretty much on schedule that afternoon. The venue was located no more than two blocks away from our hotel diagonally, and as I was on the way to the hotel, I saw fans already lined up to the end of the block. After getting checked in and refreshing makeup & such, Laura and I headed out to secure our place in the now unbelievably long line.
Despite getting in line at a time when it had now passed the end of the block and wound around, Laura and I managed to basically still walk up to the front. Actually, we were originally behind people who were at the security barricade, but they had purchased stageside seats for Mars’ performance. So we just chilled before the show, made several awesome new friends and future concert buddies – which we are both still in touch with!
Guests Middle Class Rut finally took the stage. I had never heard of them before, but they sounded good and the crowd seemed to like them. In fact, I have since taken the opportunity to listen to their music in a non-live setting, and I like them a lot more than I had expected to. Their latest, No Name No Color, is on my “must buy” list.
After the opening set and a very brief intermission during which our new Golden Ticket-holder friends were escorted sidestage, we were now at the barricade on Tomo’s side. 30 Seconds to Mars, decked out in surgical scrubs for “Doctor/Medical” theme night, took the stage to the sounds of “O Fortuna.”
(This is the part where things get a little fuzzy for me, as I attend shows as a fan, and to get lost in the music, the crowd, and the atmosphere, and I’m not trying to take mental notes for a later review. So, I always remember the first song, then usually have to find a setlist published on the net somewhere for playlist purposes.)
Known for their high-energy live performances, the band launched immediately into “A Beautiful Lie,” while Tomo ran from one side of the stage to the other, and Jared bounced, spun, and encouraged the crowd to jump! And Jared Leto’s got some MAJOR crowd-working skills, lemme tell ya! From the moment the band took the stage till they stepped off after the final encore, he interacted with the crowd, thanked the fans profusely and multiple times for the sold out show, and seemed to be making every effort to make sure everyone there was having a great time, and that every person in attendance felt involved as opposed to just being there watching.
One of the highlights of the evening was when Jared stopped mid-song to ask a girl why her 72 year-old grandma was jumping more than she was, then told Grandma if she saw her not jumping, to “grab her by the ear and pull her up off the ground!” And to a sleeping dad up in the balcony, he promised that by the end of the night 30STM would be his new favorite band. You have GOT to see this for yourself (NSFW-ish):
During the Kings and Queens encore, the band literally filled the stage with as many fans as they could fit, including this little boy, who was invited to play drums with Shannon:
I left this show feeling happier than I had in months. I just loved everything about it! I loved how they engaged the crowd so much. I especially loved how crowd interaction wasn’t limited to the fans in the first few rows on the floor. I love how their fans are so amazing to one another (or at least they were at this show). 30 Seconds to Mars is BEYOND PHENOMENAL live, and I will never forget what a great concert experience this was for me. You can bet I’ll be seeing them again, whenever and wherever possible!
Here’s a playlist of all the songs I could find from the setlist: