Have you ever tried to run in a floor-length lace and sequin gypsy skirt that is soaking wet?
I wouldn't recommend it.
I swear that my skirt had the same specific gravity as galena as i pounded up the rather creepy side stairs of the Hammerstein Ballroom to the second mezzanine, but by jiminey i was on a mission.
I bought the tickets right when they went on sale so i could have gotten floor seats, but when you are 5'2 and three-quarters there is no point of being on the floor unless you are guaranteed to be in the front row, so i went with the balcony knowing that i'd be able to see even if i didn't get to the very front.
But, i did indeed get to the very front.
In fact, i could have had front and center, but i chose to go front and slightly stage left because that was where the drum set was and we all know that i have a deep and abiding love for all things percussive.
Then, it was time to wait.
The ushers wouldn't let us stand at the railing until show time so i sat in my seat and waited.
Lordy, time was moving slowly.
Look, the ceiling is cool:
Talking to the sisters next to me that had been standing in the rain for 13 hours; feel a smidge guilty that i only stood in the rain for 2 hours and have the same seat.
Do i hear music?
|my view, without zoom :-)|
The crowd goes bonkers.
It is still nowhere near show time, but using videos to fluff the crowd is brilliant. I've never seen a band use their own music for the pre-show wait, but now i wonder why everyone doesn't do it because the atmosphere in the ballroom was crackling electricity.
Final sound check; I enjoy that the techs can just ignore the blaring videos.
Video screens cut off mid-song, lights go out and IT IS TIME -
...for the opening band.
I understand the point of having an opening band, but i swear that 8 times out of 10 it is just a disappointment. And this opening band... i'm not even sure if they were one of the 8 or one of the 2. In fact, their whole set made me feel like i was really drunk. Semi Precious Weapons are a New York band that put a lot of energy into showmanship. The frontman was a charismatic freak (i mean that as a compliment) that got the front of the crowd really riled up, but up on the balcony i was contemplating their lyrics, such as Put a diamond on it and bite down or the classic She wants free booze, no rules and you. They were really something and I was certainly entertained, but i'm not sure it was in the way SPW intended.
Finally, finally, finally 30 Seconds to Mars took the stage.
They were amazing.
I described Muse as more than epic and U2 as a spectacle. 30STM had all of the flash and lights and lasers and sound and giant inflatables of an epic spectacle,
but the whole show felt much more intimate.
It had something to do with the size of the ballroom, but it really came from how the band interacted with the crowd. This was the last big concert of a 2 year tour and they held nothing back. The crowd, in turn, projected raw energy back to them. It was unlike any other concert experience i've ever had.
The frontman, Jared, talked to the crowd throughout the show and i could see the guitarist, Tomo, and the drummer, Shannon, interacting with the people on their sides of the room between songs.
Plus, since this was a world record breaking show (more about that later) it was being streamed via VyRT so Jared would interact with people all around the world while telling us what they were saying.
It felt like a huge house party with a much better band than you could ever actually get for a house party.
In the rush to get ready i'd left my earplugs in Baltimore and was pleasantly surprised that except for when the opening band was playing i didn't miss them. It was actually appropriately loud with the sound fully filling the room, instead of needlessly ear-splitting and generally the sound engineer did a nice job (i would have mixed Jared's mike louder, but then again i am never really happy unless i am running sound myself).
Like any good play list there was a good mix of super-high energy songs and quieter moments,
really) and guitar for a song he wrote from the last album
Partway through his acoustic version, i saw Tomo and Shannon come back to the main stage (even with Jared 20 feet away, my eyes naturally look toward the drums; i think it might be a clinical condition) and launch into the full band version
|He's almost to the stage|
|Holy crap, where's Jared?|
Closer to the Edge, but i was dancing so hard by that point in the show that i kinda flailed my camera into a metal pole and she was understandably a bit persnickety after that so i thought better of trying to shoot video. [note: the link on the song title is a performance video of it, so you can kinda get the idea]
Before the concert it would be fair to say that Shannon Leto was my drummer crush. His self taught playing style delights me to no end when in song after song he makes awesome choices that no classically trained drummer would even consider; he embraces full tonality like a rock drummer, but is more polyphonic and rhythmic like a jazz drummer. [if i just lost you, i mean that he is really different from other drummers, but very good] Now that i've seen him play live i think that he might be my one true drummer love. I can't imagine ever finding another drummer that i'd rather watch play. I won't subject you to a song by song analysis, but trust me, i could.
|that is a bitchin' kit|
Almost at the end of the concert a gentleman in a suit from Guinness World Records took the stage.