Thirty Seconds to Mars @ Manchester Arena, 24/3/18

Jared Leto came on stage in a colourful poncho, rising like Jesus from the cave. The stage was small, with only Jared and his brother Shannon performing and one camera guy running around them, but he owned that stage. His energy for his age is fantastic. Behind them, there was a giant screen which was showing live footage from the camera guy scuttling around. It was simple but very effective.  

Jared is known for letting the audience sing and I wasn’t prepared for how much. It was a little annoying and frustrating for him not to sing a complete song. After every few lines, he would point the microphone into the audience. However, the unity he creates in an arena that can hold 21,000 is inspiring. Everyone was standing, jumping, singing and laughing together. Almost like the kindest cult you could think of.

Jared did complete one song, which had audiences almost in silence listening in awe, and this was his rendition of ‘Stay’ by Rihanna. He sang it wonderfully, with a soft and gentle voice and a lot of emotion. It is songs like this where you can really see the artists true talent.

Shannon blasted two hours’ worth of songs on the drums, smiling and singing and deserves a lot of credit for it. Jared played the guitar for half a song, so the instrumental talent is all Shannon.

There was only one thing I didn’t enjoy about this gig, and that was where Jared allowed one member of the audience to tweet from the official 30 Seconds to Mars page, saying whatever they want. A clueless, unimaginative guy ended up tweeting some abuse to the UK’s current prime minister and it was very disheartening. With the audience chanting “fuck you” to the prime minister it really brought me down. Politics like that needs to stay out of music, arenas. This seemed so inappropriate and awkward. The same guy then asked to propose to his girlfriend, which he did, and it was lovely. He also, magically, had a ring on him. Therefore, this whole section felt staged and forced.

The whole night ended with ‘Closer to the Edge’ where he had roughly forty people on stage singing and the whole room was united once again. Thirty Seconds to Mars are definitely worth seeing for the atmosphere, just be prepared to wait and probably deal with politics.

Words and images by Romey Norton

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