'Every bit the arena band, Jared Leto and co still have a long way up from here'
Grace Carroll
19:32 24th November 2013

If there was any doubt that 30 Seconds To Mars are a band built for arenas, then Jared Leto managed to dispel it completely at the O2 Arena. From his entrance, perched on top of a block of lights before descending to the stage, to the last note of ‘Up in the Air’, he had the audience completely in the palm of his hand.

There’s a level of theatricality at 30 Seconds gigs which is often unmatched – and would definitely be hard to live up to. In the first half an hour of the concert, there were already Tumba drummers, acrobats, giant balloons, a large spotlight wielded by Jared Leto and a lot of confetti. By the third confetti explosion, however, it was getting just a tiny bit stale – particularly as it was beginning to obscure the stage. When it comes to confetti, less is probably more.

Leto’s real skill is for making the audience feel involved, breaking down the barrier between artist and fan, and that’s definitely something that he never fails to do, even if it did lead to him telling the gathered fans that his favourite English swear word was ‘ya f**kin’ c**t’. And, as always, he called out the members of the crowd who stayed sat down when he asked them to jump – “This isn’t a Celine Dion concert” – and pulled fan after fan on stage, including an eight or nine year old boy. “Is this your first concert?” Leto asked the kid. “Sorry to tell you this, but it’s all downhill from here.”

It was one demand after another, as Leto told fans to sit on each other’s shoulders – screaming “I want to see 300 of you doing it!” – before encouraging the audience to get out their lighters and ‘cell phones’ for his rendition of ‘City of Angels’, and whirling around on stage.

As well as the high-octane performances of songs such as ‘Search and Destroy’ and ‘This is War’, Leto also took the opportunity to perform some more stripped back versions of tracks, including ‘The Kill’ and ‘Attack’, after asking for requests to play as part of an acoustic set.

‘Kings and Queens’ gets the strongest reception of the night, with the chorus seemingly made for stadium sing-alongs, and the band even throw in a cover of Rihanna’s ‘Stay’ for the encore before following it up with ‘Up in the Air’. 30 Seconds to Mars will be able to fill arenas for a long time yet, and Leto looks like he’s loving it every step of the way.

30 Seconds To Mars played:
Birth (w/ Taiko Drummers)
Night of the Hunter
Search and Destroy
This Is War
Conquistador
Do or Die
Depuis Le Début
End of All Days
City of Angels
Pyres of Varanasi
Convergence
Acoustic:
Hurricane
Attack
Alibi The Kill (Bury Me)
Vox Populi
Closer to the Edge
Kings and Queens
Encore:
Stay (Rihanna cover)
Up in the Air

Below: Photos of 30 Seconds To Mars epic 2013 world tour

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Photo: WENN