Music Reviews — 08 December 2011
30 Seconds to Mars at Hammerstein Ballroom: A Concert Review

30 Seconds To Mars
Hammerstein Ballroom, New York, NY
December 7th, 2011

Concert Review: 30 Seconds to Mars at Hammerstein Ballroom

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Rock music has seen several important milestones during its fifty plus years in existence, with the genre defining the sound of over five decades. Some amalgamation of rock, mixed in with bits of alternative and even some pop with a touch of theatrics dabbled in, bred the band 30 Seconds to Mars. And last night in the second of two sold out shows at New York City’s Hammerstein Ballroom, after a full two years of non-stop touring, the showed that at the top of their game, they have no plans of slowing down.

Last night’s performance would enter the band into the halls of the famed Guinness World Records family. The much celebrated night would mark their record 300th show in support of one album cycle- 2009′s much hyped ‘This Is War.’ Needless to say this would not be just another show.

’30 Seconds’ landmark Hammerstein show embraced cutting edge technology at a live concert like never before. Prior to the band even taking the stage, the packed house gazed at two gigantic video screens hanging in the backdrop, which played many of the band’s riveting high definition videos. This provided a stunning pre-show for fans to sing along and watch their favorite band on the big screen. These features were accompanies by lights and other tasty visual stimuli.

But nothing would compare to the technology featured during the blistering two hour show. The entire New York City show was broadcast over the net on the innovative system known as VyRT, allowing fans around the world to both watch the show and interact with each other during the performance as well. Several times throughout the set, Leto would grab a Mac Laptop and proceed to speak directly to viewers around the world.

After taking the stage to a rousing applause, ’30 Seconds’ took not a risk with their first three opening tracks, kicking us in the teeth with a progressive rock triple play. The band emerged from trap doors, draped in fog to the tune of “Escape,” which melted every face in the house. And after the last note rang out, rest was not allowed for the raging crowd, as they quickly busted into “A Beautiful Lie” and “This is War,” which proved to be a true assault on the senses.

One, if not the most brilliant part of this fan focused show was when frontman actor-turned-rockstar, Jared Leto appeared in the mixing board pit. A literal shock to all in attendance, at once fans clamored to the small area on the floor to get a closer look at the enigmatic vocalist. As he ascended to a riser, he quickly made his presence felt with an all acoustic set, featuring many of the group’s most beloved songs. Leto, a true showman, had the sold out crowd singing along to each and every lyric borne from his mouth. As we were basically eating out of his hand, he busted out an acoustic version of anthemic song, “The Kill (Bury Me)” to the delight of everyone. Yet, with a quick glance to the band, Leto parted the audience ala Moses and darted at full speed back onstage to play the hit song re-plugged in, with all of it’s heavy glory. After a four song encore, the band appropriately utilized the haunting, “Kings and Queens” as their closing cut, sending their weary, exhausted fans on their way. Having just watched a full arena show packed into a relatively intimate venue and one which they shared with fans around the world in real time, the show was an appropriate capper for a record breaking tour.

How many actors are able to turn a successful career in television or film into a wildly successful career in music? How many have managed to succeed at all three? It’s a testament to Leto’s looks, talents, and versatility that he is capable of attaining stardom on the levels that most of us fall asleep dreaming about. His collaborators in this band are no slouches themselves. It takes an intense amount of energy, dedication, and outright perseverance to be able to go out on stage each night and kick ass with the rigors of a tour spanning 300 dates worldwide. But to play these shows, fans need to want to come out and see you. And Leto, with his outstanding live vocals and a stage show fit for a Kiss concert has found his niche to captivate audiences that transcend cultural and language barriers. Here’s hoping the next record they break locally, takes them to centerstage at Madison Square Garden.

- Jay Rubin

30 Seconds To Mars – Live at the Hammerstein Ballroom, NY

December 7th, 2011

1. Escape
2. A Beautiful Lie
3. This Is War
4. 100 Suns
5. Search and Destroy
6. Vox Populi
7. Night of the Hunter
8. L490

 9.  King and Queens (Chorus Only)
10. Alibi
11. Was It A Dream ?
12. Hurricane
13. The Kill (Bury Me) (First Acoustic Then Full Band)

14. Closer to the Edge

The Story
Buddha For Mary
King and Queens


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