30 Seconds to Mars @ The Queen Elizabeth Theatre

Special K: Wanna see Jordan Catalano?
Me: Wha?????
Special K: Jared Leto. You know, the hot dude from MSCL? He's coming to town with his band.
Me: You don't have to tell me twice. Never heard their stuff. I'll check them out but yeah, I wanna see JORDAN!!!
Conversation not factual.

That's sort of how we ended up at the 30 Seconds to Mars. Special K said Jordan Catalano and I was all over that like a dirty shirt. Seriously, how could I pass this up?

We had dinner prior to the show at Jimmys. Not our first choice but Library Square was packed (hockey game) and I'd been to Jimmys before. After a nice dinner full of me bitching, we headed over to the Queen Elizabeth Theatre (another not so great venue for rock music) with plenty of time to check out the opening act.

From what Special K tells me, Neon Trees have a single which is on radio rotation but since the radio and I don't mix, I'd never heard of these guys. They were already a step ahead when their drummer Elaine Bradley came out. Female drummer: thumbs up from me. They've got an interesting pop/electro sound which I didn't mind and their lead vocalist Tyler Glenn certainly is an interesting character. Their second to last song was one I really enjoyed though I'm having a hard time tracking it down. If anyone can help, here's a portion that was recorded at a show earlier this year. And no, it's not called "Hole in My Heart" (at least from what I can find...unless it's a cover).

Neon Trees

After a very long set-up, the house lights went down and the crowd surged forth (forget the fact that there are seats bolted to the floor) to get a glimpse of 30 Seconds to Mars. I've been listening to a fair bit of the band the last few days and have come to love their most recent album "This Is War" (particularly this track) but I wasn't really prepared and completely unsure of what to expect. Would they be any good? Are they one of these bands that sounds great in studio but suck live? I had nothing to worry about because the band blew the roof off the Queen E.

30 Seconds to Mars

Leto came on stage sporting sunglasses white jacket and fingerless gloves (Diva! Or maybe channelling MJ?). From the get go the crowd was pretty energetic but not enough for Leto who also happens to be an excellent showman. Partway though the show (through a song actually) the lights sort of came up and he basically coaxed the crowd to move closer and put some energy into it. His commentary was amusing and effective and when the band resumed, the crowd was even more alive.

Partway through the show, as if to prove that he can and does indeed sing, Leto came on stage alone with an acoustic guitar and played three songs, two of which were selected by the audience. Yes, the guy can sing.

30 Seconds to Mars

Soon after this, Leto really got into the action, jumping off the stage and making his way through the adoring crowd. Like we didn't already know it, yes, he's very handsome. I should know, he was mere feet from me. It was super exciting and I'm over it now (not).

The band finished the show with "Kings and Queens" for which they selected audience members to join the band on stage. It was pretty awesome.

30 Seconds to Mars

I was more than impressed by the band. There was a real sense of family in the audience and though it was a big weird hearing Leto constantly say "true believers" (too reminiscent of a cult for my liking), it's not often you get that sort of feeling from an audience as diverse as this one. There was a father and his young son sitting next to me and even dad got into the action partway through the show. It was infectious.

Adding to the feeling of "family," you should check out the official tour flickr group where fans can upload their pictures from the shows. There are some much better shots in that pool (though I've yet to see any Vancouver photos). They also encourage their fans to send them video of their performances (you can do so here).

Even though it was a short show (about 90 minutes), it was a darn good one. I'll definitely be taking these guys in again though I hope next time they perform somewhere else (the Commodore or Venue would be great!).


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