Let’s get straight to the point: 30 Seconds to Mars’ appearance (I won’t call it a show) at the Patriot Center last night was a lazy, sloppy, self-indulgent mess. Jared Leto used every single page of the Slacker Frontman’s Handbook – some of them multiple times – to deliver a performance with no drama, no momentum, no structure and a damn small number of songs (I counted seven, maybe eight, in a 90-minute set). To name just the worst excesses:
==having the house lights brought up, not once but three times, so “we can see you guys”
==playing the old, old, hokey game of “who can yell louder, the left side or the right side”–twice!
==having the audience sing instead of himself. Yeah, everyone holds the mike out to the front row once in awhile, but Leto let the crowd sing practically half the set, contenting himself with choruses and a line or two per verse five songs out of seven.
==interrupting every single song except one, beginning barely a minute into the set, with constant exhortations to “jump” “scream” and “get crazy”. (Um, dude? people will usually do that without being told to, if your show is, you know, exciting.)
worst of all: wasting an entire half-hour, house lights up, on Leto picking people out of the crowd and calling them up onstage for the “Kings and Queens” grand finale. Mind you, the band had sold 15 or so pricey “Golden Ticket” packages to this show, with one of the main perks of same being stage access; yet here were dozens more people being brought onboard purely on whim. (I’d love to know how the fans already onstage, who had paid $400-500 apiece for the privilege, felt about that.) –By this point the band was so disengaged from the set that they decided to play some Metallica, and had gotten through “Sad But True” and the intro to “Enter Sandman” before Jared-chan was satisfied with his posse and got back to work. (–Tip to anyone considering buying a Golden Ticket pack in future: take your cash to a stylist or eBay instead. Great hair and vintage 30StM shirts got onstage ten to one.)
Getting the idea? I hope so. I mean, there seemed nothing he wouldn’t do to kill time. He brought a crew member on and had the fans sing “Happy Birthday” to her; he introduced the kids who’d won the local radio station contest; he told us about a million times how amazingly crazy we were. And so on and so on. It’s not that the guy’s pipes weren’t in good shape: in the one bright spot of the show, he brought out a guitar and sang three songs solo, and he sounded great (the centerpiece, “Night of the Hunter”, was the only song of the night with no interruptions, and it was genuinely beautiful). It’s just that for whatever reason he chose to blow this one off. Yeah well, whatever, too bad, DC.
I honestly never expected a band that’s this deeply invested in epic drama, and that owes its fans this much, to turn in a set so indifferent and slipshod. It disrespects both their material and their listeners; it’s a shoddy, dishonest thing to do, and if there was any kind of reason for it, someone ought’ve said so. Personally, I’d like to see some of those kids who shelled out 4 or 5 C’s to stand onstage ask for some of their cash back. In fact, maybe we all should.