30 Seconds to Mars at Manchester Central
It's four o’clock on a Saturday afternoon and already hundreds of people are waiting outside Manchester Central in the cold winter air. With rain pouring from the sky and even snow falling from the roof, the fans stay huddled closely together, whether their aim is to stay warm or to get that little bit closer to the doors, no one can be sure.
After a few unimaginable hours of shivering, chatting and singing, security is spotted heading towards the doors. With excitement running high, the crowd sprint forward with anticipation, only for security to step back, leaving disappointed fans pushing forwards against a door which is still securely, and painfully locked. Abuse is yelled and not so kind gestures are made from fans to security before the doors are finally opened. Before letting anyone in, a brave, yet somewhat frustrated member of security yells instructions to the crowd, telling them to be patient and walk in, allowing their tickets to be checked without causing harm to any other fans.
Adrenaline overpowers the plea and of course, the warning is ignored as fans flow through the doors, pushing each other out of the way to get as close to the stage as possible. It is no doubt survival of the fittest as the hundreds of fans push their way through the doors and run at full speed towards the stage, ignoring the warnings being screamed at them left, right and centre. It isn’t until they hit a wall of security guards that the fans are forced to stop, if only for a couple of seconds as they walk quietly past before continuing to surge through the arena. Without a care in the world of what is in their way, the riot of fans charge past a row of masked people toying with the crowd. They appear to be part of the show, and were clearly shocked at being caught up in such a rampage as they jumped out of the way in an attempt to avoid being trampled by the eager crowd.
It doesn’t take long for the masses of people to warm up due to the 12,000 people being in such close proximity to one another; soon enough there are hoodies, gloves and even t-shirts being thrown to the front of the audience as people give up on holding unnecessary clothing. Yet again, the crowd begin to shout insults as they grow impatient, this time at roadies rather than security. Thankfully, it doesn’t take long for the first opening act, Funeral Party, to come on stage to get the show started. Despite being less well-known than the other two acts of the night, the band do not seem disheartened and play as if they themselves are the show’s headliners. Putting in as much effort and enthusiasm as possible, the band jumped around the stage and do almost anything in their power to get the audience involved and pumped up for what’s to come. For a relatively unknown band from Whittier, California, the group do well to hold the attention of the thousands of fans who clearly didn’t turn up to hear the five-piece indie/punk dance band.
Next up, Enter Shikari walk on stage, oozing with confidence as the crowd cheer them on, a percentage of them planning to leave once the band finish up, not even bothering to stay for the headliner. Thousands of people run forwards, trying to get as close to the stage as possible. Before the band even begins to play, there are people being lifted out of the crowd and towards security, letting them decide whether medical help is needed. Despite the band’s excellent reception, after watching them play for half an hour or so, one can’t help but wonder whether the crowd’s enthusiasm is partially due to being hyped up after such a long wait for 30 Seconds to Mars. Although the band plays well, they don’t seem to demand your attention or put in as much effort as Funeral Party. Of course, this could be due to the bands increasing popularity, as they certainly do not need to convince the audience of their talent.
By the time the band finish, the side lines are filled with young adults sipping plastic cups filled with water, trying to get the courage to go back into the riot of fans after having been lifted out by security. Unsurprisingly, they manage to pluck up their courage after only ten minutes of Enter Shikari finishing and weave their way back into the sea of people with plenty of time to spare before the music video for ‘Hurricane’ is shown on the two big screens either side of the stage.
With all eyes on the screen, watching the newly censored music video for 30 Seconds to Mars’ most recent song, anticipation grows so much that deafening screams fill the arena as Jared Leto walks casually on stage, as if completely at ease knowing that he held the complete attention of thousands of people.
For those who’ve seen the music video for ‘Closer to the Edge’, it’s clear that the band pride themselves on their live performances. Some may be cynical about the video, believing that the band performed only a handful of shows as good as those shown in the video only as a marketing technique. This however, is certainly not the case, as the trio put their all into it and perform a show that is truly amazing.
Jared Leto is clearly a natural performer, as he somehow manages to get each and every audience member following his every command. Whether he’s telling them to scream, jump, or climb onto each other’s shoulders, the fans do so without a second thought, all the while singing along at the top of their voices. It feels almost as if Leto really is God as his demands echo throughout the arena, his followers watching from below, singing along with their arms in the air as if they really are worshipping the singer.
This God is suddenly brought down to earth however, as he climbs over the barrier and crowd surfs over the screaming fans, doing anything within their power to be close enough to touch him. Somehow managing to escape with all of his clothes, Leto has clearly proven his courage by daring to jump into such an unruly crowd.
This isn’t the only personal contact between the band and audience however; Leto invites the ‘craziest fans’ that he sees onto the stage to finish possibly the best nights of their lives singing on stage with their idols. Clearly, this is not a show to be missed; as one of the best live bands around at this time, 30 Seconds to Mars certainly did not disappoint.