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30 Seconds to Mars - Fox Theater, 01/14/11

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After nearly a year straight of sold out shows worldwide, 30 Seconds to Mars, led by Jared Leto, returned home to the Los Angeles area with a date at the historic Fox Theater in Pomona Friday night. “This is the best date we have had on tour so far! But don’t tell anyone that,” Leto told his adoring “Echelon”, the group of die hard Mars fans. The actor-singer has made it clear in the past that he wants his two careers to be separate and that this is not just a Jared Leto vanity project with his name attached to draw crowds, but a true passion. However, the one aspect that is impossible to keep separate between the two is Leto’s theatricality and flair for the dramatic.

From the stage presence to the music itself, there is a heavy dramatic flair that only someone trained in the dramatic arts could pull off so well. Sweeping choruses and calls to rise up against the powers that be are trademarks of the 30 Seconds to Mars sound. Many may look at Leto and only see an actor playing the part of a lead singer, but as he works through the show there is a true sense of respect for his fans and for his craft.

A master of crowd control, Leto’s calls to, "Put your hands in the air, I want to see you dance like a mother fucker!" were responded in exactly that manner. It went like this throughout the night, whether the calls were to “Jump! Jump! Jump!” or sing their hearts out there was no mistaking that this was a house full of true fans. It is always a special experience to be among true believers of any given exhibition, whether it be a sports team or in this case a band, because the energy and excitement is electric and infectious. On this night it was impossible to deny the rapturous hold Leto has over his fans and their willingness to let themselves go and enjoy the music.

As the band worked through tracks from their latest release, This Is War, the crowd grew more feverish and reached apex with the closing song, the bands opus, “Kings And Queens.” The recorded track features a chorus of fans that were invited to take part of the recording. In order to replicate that same sound, Leto invited fans on stage, some even from the very top balcony seats and turned the chorus into a giant sing-a-long.

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If 30 Seconds to Mars are "at war", then this group of fans, and those in their worldwide "Echelon" are its devout army. However, in the end it is just music and this was just another date on their seemingly endless tour, but try telling that to the beaming and exuberant fans as they left the Fox Theatre. For these two hours they were a part of a community and celebration and that is all you can really ask for in a concert.