LIVE: 30 Seconds to Mars @ Northern Lights, 2/4/11

“O Fortuna” pumped through the speakers onto the empty Northern Lights stage, as eager audience members clutched their smart phones, ready to record the first glimpses of 30 Seconds to Mars last Friday night.

Segueing into the opening song “A Beautiful Lie,” front man Jordan Catalano, er, Jared Leto hid his usually black-lined eyes behind dark sunglasses and raised his hands up to the wailing crowd in a manner that seemed to both calm and excite them simultaneously.

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Wearing all white except for his black leather jacket, Leto addressed the sweaty, surprisingly sold-out Northern Lights crowd. “Welcome to white night!” he yelled, launching into “Search and Destroy”. A giant triad symbol glowed onstage behind the band, and when Leto asked the crowd to clap, they clapped; to scream, they screamed; and to jump, dammit, they jumped.

Having previously cancelled twice at Northern Lights, the crowd appeared to hold no grudges, singing the lyrics along with Leto for every single song. Fan went wild for the two acoustic versions of “Hurricane” and “From Yesterday.” On “From Yesterday” Leto leaned on his guitar and let the audience take over for an entire chorus. “You’re such nice singers,” he added kindly, as they roared back in response.

“Night of the Hunter” rolled out the encores, while Leto lectured a crowd member, “If I bring you up on stage, you better go fucking crazy.” Then he handpicked people to come up with him and the band for the show’s last song, “Kings and Queens.” Several “We love you, Jared!” shouts were heard from the front row, as well a few disappointed fans that did not get selected to go up onstage to go “fucking crazy.”

The band might want to consider renaming themselves “The Jared Leto Band,” as the rest of the group often seemed to disappear behind his larger-than-life persona – probably attributed to his acting career and good looks, something he tries so publically to shy away from. Dropping F-bombs left and right, Leto can only be accused of trying too hard, as he really can sing – and writes all of the band’s songs.

Though they played all their hits including their most famous “The Kill,” the night still felt rushed, and even after the encore, when 30STM finally stepped off stage, it was merely 10:30pm.

As club bouncers shooed frenzied fans out onto the street, a lucky select few dressed from head-to-toe in white, formed a semi-circle in a partially secluded area of Northern Lights for a 10:45 meet-and-greet with the band – explaining Leto’s previous shout out, and possibly, the early curtain.

Review by Lindsay Malachowski

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