Thirty Seconds to Mars has a formula, and it’s one that works. In fact, it’s worked for them for almost 20 years now. And although it doesn’t leave much room for surprises, the big power chords and elevating choruses that make up most of their musical catalog are what’s helped this band sell close to 20 million records and make their fans come out in droves every time they come to town.
Last night at the Shoreline, although the show did seem predictable at times, the audience got what they came for. From the moment the band kicked things off with “Up in the Air,” to the balloon fight action that transpired during “This is War,” to the moment Jared brought fans onstage for a sing-along during “Rescue Me,” the production was large and the music even larger. The multiple Oohs and Yeahs did become repetitive at times but the audience reactions made up for them.
Missing from the equation this time around was a full band. The two brothers, one on vocals and the other on drums, have come full circle after having experimented with different lineups throughout the years. It works at times (think 21 Pilots), but during others, it falls short. Playing along to sequencers and MIDIs simply doesn’t replace the full band experience, but maybe I’m just old-school like that.
Leto can sing though and puts on a strong commanding performance from beginning to end. However, his wardrobe choices on this tour can be, how shall I say, questionable at times. Last night he came out in what looked like some fancy pajamas with a decorated blanket, like some kind of Jesus-like caped crusader with glamorous silk gloves adorned with bright shiny rhinestones. To be honest, the outfit combined with the long hair and beard, looked more like something you’d see on Market Street than the garb of a rock star legend that he’s become.
But for the singer with the impressive accolades, including a glowing Oscar win, it’s of no importance. He’s been fighting for years to leave his Hollywood image behind and have his art taken seriously. Last night in Mountain View sparks of his genius were in the house, I just wish there could have been a little more variety in its delivery.
Photos by Louis Raphael