Fans turned up in droves to see 30 Seconds To Mars perform a once-off show in London at Camden’s majestic live music venue Koko. The band’s second show in a year-and a-half-oozed with a confidence that is earned through the hard work and dedication that it takes to achieve success. Gregarious front man Jared Leto controlled the crowd, the VIPs, the record label dignitaries and the venue with his unyielding charisma. Screeching girls were in abundance and playing ‘spot the dude’ from Koko’s grand balcony was a good way to prevent openers We Fell To Earth from yawning the audience into a coma. When the lights finally dimmed, heralding the arrival of the Californian rockers, screams reached a crescendo and cell phone and camera lights illuminated the venue as fans raised arms and recording devices in a bid to preserve the moment for all time.
The notes of Beautiful Lie were the beginning of a special evening that focused on tracks from platinum selling album A Beautiful Lie, including Attack, From Yesterday, The Story, The Kill and The Fantasy. Four songs into the gig band members exited the stage, leaving Leto alone with the crowd to perform a short acoustic set. It was completely impromptu. The singer took a question from the audience, chatted a bit and then performed songs according to audience request. Leto, alone with his voice and his guitar, rendered a spine chilling vocal performance that was permeated with quiet beauty and heart-wrenching aggression. The intense emotion inherent in Leto’s vocals was brilliantly showcased in renditions of Capricorn and Echelon. When audience members demanded a performance of Echelon, Leto jokingly warned that if old age forced him to forget the song, fans shouldn’t write crap about him on the internet the next day because it was their song choice. He did forget the words, which seemed to please fans on an insanely unconscionable level as it made it okay for them to appropriate the performance. Only a band confident of its capabilities and status can play a song for a crowd on request, knowing that the song may be bastardised by memory impediment, but to do it anyway – comfortable in the knowledge that fans will still love the band irrespective. It is a testament to the might of a band that has spent the last ten years working into a position of demonstrable authority.
The Kill saw Leto offer himself to a crowd that has spent the evening swaying in reflection of his every move – a brave action considering the number of sixteen-year-old girls in the audience. The band’s male fans are just as important to the success of 30 Seconds To Mars and a favourite moment is Leto’s abuse of a fluffy bear thrown at him by some lovesick teen. He did apologise for punching the bear, saying that he felt bad – do we believe him? Nah! The audience was also treated to the performance of two songs from forthcoming album This Is War, which is due for release on December 8. Kings and Queens is a U2-esque song that includes a crowd-chorus recorded in the UK, making it a natural audience favourite at tonight’s gig. This Is War, the title track off the new album, comprised the encore, which is voiced by every audience member – and the album has not even been released yet although the song is available online. Post show, a mesmerised crowd is further frenzied by an announcement that the band will hang around for a signing-session. The night is a late one for all but totally worth the unforgettable memories created by an intimately spectacular performance.
Check out 30 Seconds To Mars at Wembley Arena on 23 February 2010.
See review on ClinkMusicMagazine