After an extremely long 115 day wait, I finally begun my 2018 gig campaign. First stop, Thirty Seconds To Mars at The O2. It was filled with a lot of singing and a lot of jumping (well shaking in my wheelchair!) The show was jam-packed with raving rifts, booming bass, dexterous drumming and vibrant vocals throughout.
They performed songs from their third (and my favourite) album, This Is War, their fourth album Love, Lust, Faith & Dreams, The Kill from their second album A Beautiful Lie and a few tracks from their upcoming new album America.
I enjoyed Shannon Leto’s creative and artistic drumming, particularly when playing Search and Destroy, Night of the Hunter and their new single Dangerous Night. Plus I admired Jared Leto’s (Shannon’s younger brother) powerful and strong singing voice, particularly throughout Stay (which I later found out was a Rihanna cover), a track from their new album called Rider and City of Angels. In addition, while performing City of Angels, I loved watching all the phone torch lights glow and flash throughout the arena.
When the band sung This Is War, I was slightly disappointed that they did not follow up with 100 Suns like they do on the album. Another minor criticism was the special guests they had. I paid to see a rock concert and half way through the gig they brought on a pop star by the name of RAYE and a rapper called AJ Tracey. I’m all for support acts and special guests, but not ones that have no relevance to the genre I’m here to watch. When Jared said special guest, I was hoping for someone like Brian May, Dave Grohl or Matt Bellamy!
My ultimate highlight was joining in with the crowd, singing all the acapella parts. In their third album, This Is War, they got a crowd to sing parts to be recorded onto the album. Throughout the years of listening to that album, I’ve dreamt of being in that crowd. Now a decade on, I’ve finally got that opportunity. Moreover, there are no actual lyrics to learn, just a lot of “ooooos” and “aaaaaas” so it is easy for anyone to sing along.
The ending was really good but not what I was expecting. I initially thought they would close with the singles Kings and Queens and This Is War. Instead they performed the first single from their new album Walk On Water and then finished with Closer to the Edge. When listening to the lyrics of Closer to the Edge, I realised why they closed with this track. In the chorus, there is the line “one day, maybe we’ll meet again”. Then in the middle eight there are the lines “I will never forget, I will never regret, I will live my life”. Personally, I believe these words signify that hopefully one day we will see Thirty Seconds To Mars live again and that we, the audience, will never forget this night, never regret attending and now will go on and live our lives.
Just before they performed Closer to the Edge, an incredible thing happened. Jared Leto begun inviting people from the crowd onto the stage. Normally this would be a few people from the first and second row in the standing area. However Jared invited people from all sections of the arena; even the disabled section! Yes I’m sure you’re wondering if I was one of the lucky few. Well I’m sorry to say I was not. Don’t get me wrong, I would’ve loved it, but I was at the back of the arena, it would’ve taken me a lifetime to get on the stage and I don’t think my Dad would’ve had the bravery to come on with me. But the fact Jared Leto thought of disabled people in the audience was a very proud and moving moment. Moreover, there was a guy in a banana outfit who did appear on stage which was highly amusing.
Lastly, and somewhat unfortunately, I do need to end on a rant. I can definitely say the performance was amazing! However there were issues prior to the show. On my tickets it said to be there for 18:30. Normally this means the doors will open and the show will begin around 19:30 – 20:00. We arrived at 18:15, found somewhere to have a quick bite to eat and use the restroom. We then found our seats and settled in around 19:30. We then ended up sat there until 21:00! Prior to gigs, there is a playlist playing through the venue speakers. A majority of the time the playlists would have songs related to the live acts genre. However, a majority of this playlist had pop and rap music I’ve never heard of. The only decent tracks were Last Night by The Strokes, Seven Nation Army by The White Stripes, Dare by Gorillaz and Thirty Seconds To Mars’s own track Walk On Water. In addition, half way through this extremely long wait, adverts appeared on the big screen; one for sport bras, one for police sunglasses and some backstage clips from a past Thirty Seconds To Mars show. I thought it was very random and annoying that this wasn’t shown before the show began rather than 30 minutes before. It gave the audience false hope that the gig was about to start. I think lots of people, myself included, were getting quite irritable an hour and a half later. I would rather they put on the ticket the doors open at 20:00 or include the exact times performance(s) will start so we can plan our evenings and go enjoy a three course meal rather than three slices of pizza then sit waiting for 90 minutes!
Thirty Seconds To Mars’s new album America is released on 6th April 2018
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