Thirty Seconds to Mars at the O2

It’s been over 2 years since Jared Leto and 30 Seconds to Mars set Reading & Leeds alight with a masterclass in anthemic rock. Nearly 5 months into their Love, Lust, Faith and Dreams tour, they’re back in the UK. A final date at the O2 confirmed that 30 Seconds to Mars do epic as well as anyone.

Opening track ‘Night of the Hunter’ confirmed their status as masters of stadium rock. From the pounding rhythm of 4 taiko-esque drummers to outrageous lighting displays, acrobats and ticker tape cannons, all the ingredients were there. And there stood Leto: elevated, caped and silhouetted. He’s never been a shy one.

He begins the act like some heady lovechild of Matt Bellamy and Serge Pizzorno: long hair, insufferable sex appeal and aggravatingly unrelenting cool. But his inevitable descent into sweaty, beater-wearing rogue does nothing to reign in a seemingly limitless, almost unrivalled power. After nearly 2 hours, it didn’t look like subsiding any time soon.

For all their blistering power and inky dark core, this tour will not be remembered for that. It will be recalled instead for its ability to produce moments of pure serenity in a context of brutality. The Californian threesome have arrived in London with something of a sensitive streak. An almost haunting acoustic version of ‘Hurricane’ brought about utter silence, no mean feat in a venue the size of the O2 filled with adolescents. Only the lyric ‘do you want me?’ broke their silent control, as the arena exploded in a wave of teenage desire.

Gone are the punk-laced, pink-mohawk sporting days of yesteryear, replaced with composed, rock-fuelled restraint. What draws fans in now is a relentless positivity, even amongst titles like ‘This is War’ and ‘There will be Blood.’ There’s still grit and heart-wrenching angst for sure, but it’s balanced by an unstoppable ripple of goodwill and sentiment.

At times, 30 Seconds to Mars still produce gargantuan, drum-driven rock, but they now retain an element of mystery and tranquillity, all bound up in smoke and darkness. Frankly, it’s irresistible.

30 Seconds to Mars have now finished the UK leg of their tour. For remaining North American, European and Australian dates, click here.

Author: Tim Higgins

CFO/Music Correspondent Tim spends every moment he possibly can going to gigs and loves finding small venues with a great atmosphere.