Thirty Seconds to Mars took the stage a little earlier than scheduled this past Friday night at Cruzan Amphitheatre in West Palm Beach. Fans hungrily lurking about the Carnivores tour's merch table and those grabbing their second round of beers ran back to their seats to provide Jared Leto and co. with a very warm welcome.
The man who doesn't age, Leto, rushed out donning a gold crown and what looked like a priestly purple robe, nothing exceptionally new for a guy whose well known for being a little eccentric. He bears a great resemblance to a white Jesus with his long hair, full beard, and that angelic mug. The ecclesiastical getup highlighted his holy, natural look.
The crowd was pumped as the band started things off with a song from its new album Love Lust Faith + Dreams entitled "Birth." Fans went crazy as Leto sung his heart out, providing raw and beautiful vocals. Next, it performed "Night of the Hunter" and "Search and Destory." While the majority of the songs played during the set were off the newest album, the band did make a point to please older groupies with a very special acoustic performance of "The Kill" which Leto presented alone on stage. It was just a singing Jesus, an acoustic guitar, and the backing vocals of the crowd, which sung along and hung on to his every lovely word.
The set felt a bit like a party as the crowd was rewarded with giant beach balls which seemed to appear out of nowhere and a giant supply of confetti. And while that might sound like something you'd expect to find at gay pride or a Ke$ha concert, it was a helluva lot of fun. Everyone got even more amped as the band performed new hits like "City of Angles," "Conquistador," and "End of All Days."
But nothing topped what happened when Leto decided that he really wanted to get us excited. After cracking a few jokes -- pointing out one guy who was "smoking a joint under a palm tree" and letting a certain dude know that, "She's never going to call you back if you don't get up off your ass and jump" -- he rushed off the stage jumping into the crowd. He bypassed the pit completely and went further, past the box seats, and further, until he was directly in front of our seats.
The ladies went absolutely nuts with lust as Leto jumped onto a chair and continued to serenade everyone as he was being pawed at and holding hands with some very lucky females, including myself and my guest. Because when Jared freaking Leto is right in front of you, you have to take advantage of that opportunity.
Not wanting to peak too early on in the show, Leto saved an even bigger moment for last when he let fans know that if they supported the band and bought its new single "Do or Die" they'd get a chance to join him up on stage. "Who wants to come up here and sing with me?" he asked the crowd, earning some screams and cheers.
Safe to say, many were frantically pulling out their phones to get to the iTunes store as fast as possible so they could be one of the few to join the muscly rock god on stage. Quite a few were successful as they were ushered up.
The very humble Leto even went as far as to say, "I know some of you out there don't know who we are, you probably came to see Linkin Park or AFI but we hope you liked what you heard." For an Oscar winner, the man sure doesn't seem to have a big ego. What he does have is a big heart and a lot of passion for his craft and his fans.
Unfortunately, Linkin Park did not start early or even on time. Due to some unexplained emergency situation the band came on well past its scheduled start time. It was so late, some were even leaving the show. But once the band finally got out there, it played a great mix of old and new songs that had fans rocking out from the pit to the lawn, holding their hands up and bobbing their heads to Mike Shinoda's rap and Chester Bennington's screams.
With a healthy dose of songs off Hybrid Theory and The Hunting Party, the band was able to please those who brought it to fame while still showcasing its newest work. The energy was insane as Linkin Park played "One Step Closer," "Papercut," "Numb," "Faint," and "In the End." These songs made up the soundtrack of a generation's rebellion and explored its feelings of being misunderstood. But they also put the band on the map, giving it the freedom it now enjoys to evolve and experiment with new styles and sounds.
Linkin Park made up for its late appearance with its gracious attitudes. "There's nothing I hate more than making you guys fucking wait like that," Bennington assured fans who had gotten a bit rowdy while waiting for the beloved group to take the stage. He mentioned that there had been a good reason for the wait although he didn't specify what it was. It was long forgotten soon enough and everyone got lost in the rock-rap tunes they love so much.
After a four song long encore of "Crawling," "Until It's Gone," "What I've Done," and "Bleed It Out," the guys threw some of their sweaty rags into the pit, which some actually dig as souvenirs. Guess rock star sweat is sexier than regular sweat? And after shaking a few hands, they all left the stage assuring the crowd that the band's first stop on the Carnivores tour had been a very memorable one.
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