The Refectory, Leeds University
30th January 2008
Jared Leto’s background as an actor has certainly given him a taste for the theatrical. As the lead singer of Thirty Seconds To Mars, he conducts a live show which has a cinematic feel and keeps fans enthralled from start to finish.
In comparison, the opening act for the night, LostAlone, were rougher round the edges with crunchy guitar riffs and melodic sing-along choruses. They performed well, with spontaneous youthful energy although their songs could do with some variation to make them stronger.
By the time 30STM took to the stage an hour later, the venue was packed with fans holding their camera phones high in a sea of lights. The suspense built up as the intro music started and flashes of light threw the band member’s shadows onto the sheet covering the front of the stage, teasing anxious fans. As the drums to opener ‘Battle Of One‘ kicked in, the sheet was dropped and cheers erupted from the crowd.
This dramatic introduction made way for a slick, well structured set of songs mostly from their latest album, ‘A Beautiful Lie‘. Recent singles ‘From Yesterday‘ and ‘The Kill’ got the biggest reception and prompted fans to sing and scream the lyrics back to the band. The devotion mirrored that of fans of similarly charismatic bands like My Chemical Romance.
Each band member performed well, providing a musically stunning soundtrack and complimenting the band’s polished image. However, fans of gritty rock ‘n’ roll gigs would probably complain that there was lack of spontaneity, making it feel a bit flat. Occasionally the vocals were drowned by the guitars, but the encore really showed off Leto’s vocal abilities. He performed ‘Oblivion’, ‘Was It A Dream’ and ‘A Modern Myth‘ as a solo, which proved his vocals to be strong and also beautifully pitch-perfect.
For the final song of the evening, ‘The Fantasy’, the audience was commanded by Leto to take two large steps forward so they could all get a little closer. Unfortunately for some, that was a close as they got to him that evening as the after show signing was cancelled due to his illness. By the way he performed, you’d never guess he was ill.
Words and photos by Justine Trinkett