LIVE REVIEW: Thirty Seconds to Mars at the O2 Arena, London

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Review and Photography by Damien Harvey

Thirty Seconds to Mars returned to the O2 Arena in London on June 4th for the first time in over 5 years, delivering an electrifying and energetic performance that left fans buzzing. The energy was clicked to go from the moment the band entered through the crowd to the opening strains of “Closer to the Edge,” setting the tone for an immersive and interactive evening.

The setlist was a carefully curated journey through the band’s discography, starting strong with “Up in the Air,” which featured a massive confetti explosion to kick off the show. The extended bridge gave the song a new life, allowing Jared Leto to showcase his dynamic stage presence. “Kings and Queens” followed, featuring an extended intro and the powerful 2015 ending that had the crowd singing along in unison, creating a sense of communal euphoria.

“Walk on Water” and “Rescue Me” were standout moments early in the show. The extended intro of “Rescue Me,” coupled with fans invited on stage, underscored the band’s commitment to connecting with their audience. Newer tracks like “Seasons” and “Hail to the Victor” fit seamlessly into the set, demonstrating the band’s evolving sound while maintaining their signature intensity.

The mid-set highlight was undoubtedly the acoustic session on which Jared went completely off setlist when he saw a fan’s roulette game, which resulted in hearing the choruses of three songs not originally on the setlist. This spontaneous moment added a unique touch to the evening and demonstrated the band’s willingness to engage with their audience in a fun and unpredictable way.. Stripping back the layers, songs like “Never Not Love You,” “Great Wide Open,” and “End of All Days” showcased the band’s versatility and Leto’s vocal prowess. The acoustic rendition of “From Yesterday” was particularly moving, bringing a raw, emotional depth to the performance. Their cover of Mikky Ekko’s “Stay” was a surprising and delightful addition, adding a touch of melancholic beauty to the evening and in my own opinion, one of the best covers to have ever been released.

The energy ramped up again with the anthemic “Night of the Hunter,” followed by “A Beautiful Lie” and “Attack,” each song igniting the crowd and reaffirming the band’s reputation for high-octane performances.

The encore was the perfect culmination of the night’s journey. “City of Angels” was a nostalgic nod to the band’s roots, while “Stuck” kept the momentum going. The final two songs, and the classics “The Kill (Bury Me)” and a reprise of “Closer to the Edge,” brought the evening full circle, leaving the audience in a state of exhilarated awe.

While the performance was stellar, the visuals behind the stage were somewhat repetitive. Given the massive stage and high production values, there was a feeling that the visual elements could have been more varied and dynamic. The staging was minimalistic, with Jared Leto maximizing the space, moving across a little platform in the center of the big stage with a big walkway into the crowd. His brother Shannon on drums and two tour members positioned at the back added to the minimalist setup.

Based on the overall experience and the minor issue with the visuals, I would give this concert a 4 out of 5 star rating. Despite the visual limitations, Thirty Seconds to Mars delivered a masterclass in live performance, blending old favorites with new material and creating an intimate yet epic atmosphere. It was a night that left fans eagerly anticipating the band’s next visit to London.

Up in the Air
Kings and Queens
Walk on Water
Rescue Me
Hail to the Victor
This Is War

Acoustic Set:
Never Not Love You
Great Wide Open
End of All Days
From Yesterday
Stay’ (Mikky Ekko cover)
Night of the Hunter
A Beautiful Lie

City of Angels
The Kill (Bury Me)
Closer to the Edge

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