The iTunes Festival, a fantastic opportunity in principle for fans to get free tickets to see their idols up close and personal! However, the ticket allocation system is fundamentally flawed, and this was no more obvious than for the 30 Seconds to Mars show held on 18th September. Whilst loyal ‘Echelon’ were unable to obtain tickets, with many queuing all day in the hope that they would be lucky enough to be put onto the stand-by list, many tickets were allocated to people who were openly complaining on social media networks that they ‘did not even want to see the band’, with three quarters of the ‘lucky’ winners not even turning up. Not only did this disappoint those loyal to the band, but it made for a frustrating start to the show, with Jared Leto having to work the crowd hard to even obtain a response.
Thankfully, due to the devotion of the Echelon who, undeterred by the unconverted displayed their immense support. Jared as usual owned the stage and with a voice that was pitch perfect throughout, delivered an engaging and powerful performance of hits old and new from start to finish. Supported by Shannon Leto, ‘the world’s best rock drummer’ – who’s display of talent was undeniably awesome, and the subtler skills of Tomo Miličević on guitar and keyboard the band, more used to playing sell-out stadiums world-wide, remained undaunted and delivered as professional a show as they had at Rock in Rio two days before.
The slick showmanship, the involvement of the audience and the delivery of the big, catchy songs with their deep and meaningful lyrics ensured that by the end of the show few remained immune to the 30 Seconds to Mars magnetism and a frenzy to join the band on stage for the finale of ‘Up in the Air’ saw a tumult of bodies clambering over the barrier to the bewilderment of security.
The evening saw the transition from those who had arrived sceptical and somewhat ambivalent to a crowd that left enthused, overwhelmed and won-over by the sheer energy, and raw talent of this trio.
30 Seconds to Mars return in November for a series of sell-out shows across the UK, including the O2. If you have not yet been privileged enough to see this band live I would suggest you try to get a ticket now if you can – you will not forget the experience and may well find yourself joining ‘the cult’ that is ‘The Echelon’.
Photographs: Courtesy of iTunes Festival