30 Seconds To Mars tore it up at Hollywood's Avalon Theater, sending fans into a feeding frenzy on the floor with their own unique brand of rock. Jared, Tomo, Matt and Shannon played to a captive audience and a sold out house, giving an all ages crowd the show of a lifetime ... and that's no lie!
30 Seconds To Mars
Story and photos by Janice French
The Avalon Theatre in Hollywood California is the brass ring venue on the
carrousel of fame for any band and recently they hosted 30 Seconds To Mars.
Glittering Hollywood?s promise of glory, its decadence, its opulence,
stand in sharp contrast to its hungry and dispossessed. One COULD say it is a
beautiful lie. Coincidentally, A Beautiful Lie is the title of 30 Seconds To
Mars? most recent release on Virgin Records.
People began to wait in line at 11am for the 7pm sold out show. Many devoted
fans were dressed in black and white with red arrows pointing upward, the band
symbol. From the appearance of those waiting, the band appeals about equally to
males and females, teens to 30 somethings, and by around 6pm the line was five
people wide and stretched three quarters of the way down the block. Excitement
filled the air as the doors opened and the Avalon filled up to the max.
Waiting opened the show with the beautiful Annalee Fery?s soft lingering
voice blending with their punky, new wave style of music. Their song
?Christine? was lightly sung behind the cold, clear notes of the lead guitar
and was a delicious appetizer for 30 Seconds To Mars.
Between bands we were entertained by The Street Drum Corps who danced and
banged away, raising the level of excitement in the room. Then a clear siren
sounded announcing the arrival of 30 Seconds To Mars. The band took their places
as vocalist Jared Leto dashed in and ran madly in circles on the stage while
hard strumming his guitar, then stopped and launched into ?A Beautiful Lie.?
The crowd went insane, cheering and screaming as he sang the melodic, searing
and haunting refrain about the duality of life, wealth and happiness in the
midst of poverty and suffering. His voice sounded pure, even though he, and most
of the band, had been sick and cancelled their last couple shows.
Jared?s ?Ebola Virus,? as he called it, had not hurt his performance so
far. During the heavy metal riffs supplied by Tomo Milicevic on guitar and Matt
Wachter on bass, his vocal of ?Buddha For Mary? soared as he stepped onto
the barricade railing. He held people?s hands as he walked along the bar, then
threw himself atop the churning sea of people before him and was passed along on
the hands of the fans back to the stage as he continued to sing without missing
?The Kill? began with a long mournful ?whoa-oh-oh? that got higher in
range then paused as Leto got his guitar and banged into this song about a man
giving up other women for only one. The band was joined onstage by the Street
Drum Corps as the women wove a seductive dance around Jared and the men banged
furiously on metal trashcans. In the red and blue lights the mood of the song
became more intense. Shannon Leto slammed his drums with fury and led the beat,
while the trash cans were finally smashed against the stage in a wickedly
Members of the Street Drum Corps stage dived into the crowd and were passed
around as Jared talked to the people about the BS on the radio. Many stations
won?t play Mars, not because of their music, but because of prejudice
according to him. Jared Leto is also an actor. Personally I don?t remember him
in any movie because I rarely watch them. I met the band with an open mind as I
was seeing them live for the first time, but I don?t understand why I don?t
hear them on the radio either.
Jared threw long stemmed red roses out into the audience during ?The
Story.? A single red rose is a featured on the Import CD cover. His
voice was soothing and warm as he delivered this beautiful, touching, slow,
rhythmic and thoughtful song about renewal after the hard lessons in life.
?Attack? was enhanced with fast and furious white shafts of
light streaming down and moving against a blue lit background. Jared ran amidst
them hard strumming, while Tomo spun around the stage working his guitar then
stopped to head bang. Jared joined him for a brief jam and the crowd continued
to clap to the beat as Shannon launched into a rumbling drum solo. When the song
was over, the crowd showed their horns, beat fists skyward and the applause
shook the walls.
Jared addressed the audience and thanked KROQ for hosting the sold out show,
even though they won?t play his music. ?Battle Of One? began with red and white
lights accentuating the impact of the song. In his signature move Tomo crossed
the stage, jumped in the air and came down hard on the strings. At one point,
encouraged by Jared, the crowd, who certainly knew the words, sang them back
loudly. Then Jared's voice raged as he roared out the threat of
"Battle Of One,"
while Tomo beat his black guitar and delivered a frantic hard metal
crescendo and a mosh pit formed in the center of the room. The song ended in a
long, white hot instrumental, Shannon threw his drums sticks in the air and
their set was over. The crowd thundered and screamed out for more.
Jared returned and announced the next song ?Was It A Dream,? one he wrote
while in Africa. The sound of thunder and rain led into this slow and emotional
song. He closed his eyes and rocked his head back and forth as the perfectly
delivered vocals rolled out with smooth transitions. I just then realized it was
only Jared on the stage playing his guitar and singing alone. The band rejoined
him and the music reached a crescendo as Matt?s long arms strummed his bass
with passion and skill.
I noticed a single large red rose front and center on the floor of the stage
as Jared started to speak. He said there would be snow right there in Los
Angeles. The audience turned their faces upward and cold snow started to
fall from the ceiling.
Mars played their final song, ?The Fantasy,? to a packed house with their
fists in the air, moshing away.
Jared spun while playing his guitar and sang ?Do you live/ Do you die/ Do you
bleed for the fantasy...? He stepped onto the barricade rail and leaned over
the crowd as blue light turned to purple and snow continued to fall.
Back on the stage he asked the crew to turn up the lights and I was taken
aback by the number of people on the floor. He called to them singing
?whoa...whoa...whoa" and they answered him back with their fists beating
the air. Tomo smoked his guitar?s strings as he head banged his way across the
stage and the audience was in a frenzy. Tomo and Jared backed off the stage
together and the band was gone.
During ?The Story,? Jared had sung ?I swear to God I found myself in
the end.? So, has 30 Seconds To Mars found themselves in the end? The answer
is a resounding yes. This fact was brought home to me five days later, on the
other side of the US. I was at the world famous Starland Ballroom in Sayreville,
NJ to review another band and saw a sight that made me smile. One of the
nightclub?s crew, who was stetting up and breaking down equipment between
acts, turned toward me and I saw a red arrow pointing upwards. His image says it
all for me too. Coast to coast the introspective and powerful music of 30
Seconds To Mars is taking the dreamers with them in the human experience of
life, roaring like the engines of a rocket, they are on their way to the top.
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