Sunday, May 9, 2010

30 Seconds to Mars 05/08/10

Last night, I saw one of my favorite bands for the fourth time. It was the best performance of theirs I have seen yet! But we'll get to that. First, my review of the opening acts.

One of my favorite aspects of the concert as a whole was that there had been a competition among high school students with bands. The top 3 bands would win a chance to perform a number as part of the opening for 30 STM. Jared and the guys were even the ones to judge the competition and decided who would be performing.

I don't remember the names of the kids' bands, but each of them did a fantastic job! It made me feel significantly inferior as a former musician to have 15 and 16 year old students playing that well for my entertainment. Way to go guys! Keep it up!

The first major band to play was Neon Trees. I'm not sure how to classify their music, not because it's original, but because I'm not normally into that style. It was kind of a punky-dancey-weirdness... We're gonna go with dance-punk.

As I said, I'm not normally into that kind of music, and would probably look for something else to listen to if I heard them on the radio. But there's something about a live performance that just makes me want to move with the band!

They really did perform quite well, and kept the crowd engaged. They had a pretty long set for an opening band, but so did the second band. And so did 30STM. But enough about those other bands. I was entertained, even though the Provo-based lead singer had some very.... Eclectic... Dance moves. Much more entertaining than that other Provo band that got famous.

The next band was MuteMath. Again, not really into their style of music for the most part. It was some sort of electronic-rock hybrid. For the most part, I was almost bored during their performance. They did well, it just wasn't the kind of music that gets a crowd moving.

Until their last song, that is. It was a much more upbeat, move your body, get crazy kind of song than the rest of their set. And then, when things were going nuts, the singer started jumping on his piano and playing with his face, knees, feet. The guy was doing front handsprings off of it!!

Then there was the drummer. Oh, the drummer. They gave him a solo, but not your average solo. He pulled the floor tom over to the piano, while the guitarist filled in on the keyboard and the singer and bassist took over the main drum riff. The drummer broke out in a cadence that took me straight back to my marching band days. He played on both the tom and the piano shell, which made for quite the entertaining solo.

But he wasn't done. He laid the floor tom on its side on top of the piano, and grabbed one of the other toms. He laid it down on the piano as well and jumped up to join them. He broke out in another solo, using the shell of the floor tom for the clicks, the head of the floor tom to give you that good ol' bass groove, and the set tom to fill it all out.

All in all, MuteMath made up for the boring songs with their finale.

Then came the band we were all waiting for. It's no secret that I am a major fan of 30 Seconds to Mars. But here's something I bet you didn't know:

I don't really listen to them all that much. Their CDs get old after just a bit. They are one of the bands that I consider to be better in a live setting than in the studio.

From the instant they came out on stage, the crowd was going wild. I didn't have my feet on the same place on the floor for more than 10 seconds if I was lucky. It was like being pushed and pulled by an ocean of people.

The lighting for their show was incredible! It pulls you in, and helps set off the emotions that are in each song. It was the perfect complement for the band's music, and I'm sure that Jared had something to do with that. You damn artistic genius, you!

The thing I like about their performances is that they truly bring the crowd together. No one's fighting, no one's bickering. Everyone is moving as one mass of people. People might be stepping on your foot, or have their elbow pressed up in your back, but you don't mind because you are part of something great. 30 Seconds to Mars makes this happen, and that feeling is exactly why I go to concerts.

Near the end of their set, Jared took an acoustic guitar and went to the back of the crowd for a bit. It was just him, but it was a great way to bring the folks back there into the show. He played a song back there, with just that acoustic, and gave everyone a chance to rest up.

After that song, he did an acoustic version of the beginning of The Kill. Before he started, he had the crowd make a path for him, from the back all the way to the stage. When he got done with the first chorus, he set down the guitar, jumped down into the path, and ran through the crowd back to the front, all the while the band was playing harder than they had all night, getting the crowd back into a fever pitch.

While the crowd was at the craziest they had been all night, he climbed onto their hands. He stayed up there, singing and screaming, supported only by his fans, until the song was over. It was quite the moment.

After that song was over, he pulled someone from the crowd onto the stage. It was just some little kid who had a pomegranate mo-hawk, just like Jared's. He spent some time making the kid feel awesome and just talking to him. He let him stay on stage while they played another slower song that I hadn't heard before.

Then came their final number. Before it started, they had anyone who wanted to join them on stage. By the time they told everyone that they had enough, there were probably 20 - 30 fans with them on the stage.

They ended the night with the song that I have described as being full of joy and hope. It is the kind of song that just makes your heart swell and makes you feel good about being a human being. Hearing this song live multiplies that feeling by about a hundred, just for the simple addition of companionship with the hundreds of people there with you. If you haven't heard Kings and Queens yet, do it now so that you know what I'm talking about.

That was the end of the show. They didn't do an encore, probably because they had such a long main set, as well as the openers having longer sets. If you read my previous concert review (HIM Concert 04/26/10), then you know that I was disappointed with that show.

30 Seconds to Mars more than made up for it.

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