Challenge Stadium, Perth
The cult of celebrity manifests itself in unusual ways, and there can be no doubt now that Jared Leto is a celebrity. His Oscar win for best supporting actor in Dallas Buyers Club was well and truly deserved and has pushed Leto into some rarified air.
But just imagine, just for a second, that Leto isn't an enormously popular, ridiculously attractive movie star. Imagine he's just a regular guy with a decent set of pipes. Where does this leave 30 Seconds to Mars?
Borderline terrible ... 30 Seconds to Mars musicians (L-R) Tomo Milicevic, Shannon Leto and actor-singer Jared Leto. Photo: Getty Images
Tuesday night's show at Challenge Stadium proved that without Leto's considerable charisma and pure star power, 30 Seconds to Mars just wouldn't exist. There are three guys in 30STM, but watching from the sidelines you'd be hard pressed to notice the drummer – Jared's brother, Shannon – or guitarist Tomo Milicevic even exist. For all intents and purposes they didn't. This is clearly Jared Leto's show and he had the Challenge Stadium crowd – not a sell-out by any stretch of the imagination – eating out of his hand.
Capturing the hearts and minds of an audience is one thing, but it's an entirely different scenario if you don't have the song to back it up. Typing this now, straight after the gig, I'm struggling to remember a memorable musical moment of the show.
30STM's brand of stadium rock is big and bold, as stadium rock should be, but there's absolutely no substance behind it. There's no punch, no point of difference. The only way I could differentiate the songs was when Leto's singalong with the crowd changed it's tune slightly. No exaggeration, every song had an audience call and response section, and they all sounded exactly the same. It was actually pretty easy to work out who came for the band and who came just to see Oscar winner Jared Leto – the latter were long gone by the closing stages.
Without Jared Leto's considerable charisma and pure star power, stadium rockers 30 Seconds to Mars just wouldn't exist. Photo: Getty Images
Now if you're just going to see Leto work a crowd into a frenzy, you're going to get your money's worth. You might even end up on stage, provided you've got the look Leto wants on stage. He was strangely selective about choosing his stage invaders for the big closer Up in the Air, almost to the point of ... well, being a bit creepy. He's a charmer for sure, but the stage banter veered between some genuinely funny interactions with the crowd to some strangely unsettling innuendo.
At one point Leto directed at a guy in the crowd with his girlfriend on his shoulders, "yeah you're getting a b---job tonight". With kids in the audience it was a bit much.
It's a real shame the music doesn't stand up to scrutiny because 99 per cent of bands would kill to have a frontman with Leto's voice and ability to work a crowd. You take that away, however, and 30 Seconds to Mars are a borderline terrible band.