After months of pleasant anticipation the day of 30 Seconds To Mars’ first show in Germany had finally come. The standings were sold out since July, so I expected “The Echelon” to appear extremely early at the Lanxess Arena in Cologne.
When I got there at 4am, two fans were sleeping on the ground all snuggled up in blankets and sleeping bags since it wasn’t the best weather to overnight in front of a concert hall. The freezing temperatures, people walking by in the middle of the night and the excitement weren’t good requirements for a blissful sleep.
I’ve started talking to them and recognized one of the girls. She stood next to me at MARS’ performance at Pinkpop Festival 2013 which wasn’t a big surprise because she traveled the world for this band.
At 6am more fans came to us and throughout the day I saw lots of individuals coming to wait for one of my favorite bands. Familiar faces made their way to the queue as well.
If you have never been to a 30 Seconds To Mars concert before you should know that most of The Echelon are covered in merchandising and some might come dressed up like a zebra. (Wearing a zebra outfit guarantees you to get on stage during “Up In The Air” in case you’re in sight of lead singer Jared Leto)
Another “ritual” is the war paint inspired by the band (of course) – Colorful Triads, glyphs, lines and arrows on your face and body show that you are a passionate fan.
The band has a lot of signs that you can easily paint on yourself.
All in all it was an endurable but cold and windy day at the Lanxess Arena.
When the doors finally opened, the front row was filled with the ones who had early entry. There was no chance to get a place in the middle of the barricade, so I got my well-deserved place, but it was close to the right edge of the hall.
You Met At Six started their show just on time at 8pm. They put on an energetic show, but the crowd was mostly unimpressed since they all waited for MARS to come.
After 45 minutes they were finished with their performance and the tension in the hall got tangible.
I could see every band member entering the stage from my position and when the drummer, Shannon Leto, was behind his drum set I knew that the long waiting had come to an end.
The obscure curtain fell and the entire crowd (including me) started screaming when the intro “Birth” began. Jared Leto was standing on a rig, singing the short intro and got down when it was finished.
I knew that this was going to be an unforgettable evening when I finally saw Tomo Miliĉević and Shannon Leto after the second but transparent curtain had fallen down.
After the intro, some fast songs to jump to followed. At a 30 Seconds To Mars concert you usually jump constantly but luckily they give you some time to breathe by putting slow songs, acrobats and an acoustic set in between.
For the acoustic set, The Echelon had a very special surprise for the band:
The people in the upper tier built the words “Love”, “Lust” and “Faith” with red, yellow, green and white paper sheets and the ones in the interior had sheets saying the word “Dream” on it. The singer noticed that something was going on and was amazed by the big surprise and said: “Holy shit. […] You could have brought me German bread and I’d just be as happy.”
Someone actually had a piece of bread and he pulled that girl up on stage and dedicated a song to her.
The last couple songs followed afterwards and they ended the show with 40-50 fans on stage jumping to Up In The Air. One of my friends was chosen by Jared and I swear I’ve never seen her smiling that big before which was just heart-warming.
I can only recommend going to a 30 Seconds To Mars concert. The atmosphere in the room is incomparable to any other concert, the band makes you sing until you get a hoarse voice (even if you don’t know the lyrics) and nobody’s pushing you against the barricade since most concert attendees are female.
Birth (w/ Taiko Drummers)
Kings And Queens
Search And Destroy (LLFD Tour Arrangement; Ext. Final Chorus; Ext. Outro)
This Is War (Chant Intro)
Night Of The Hunter
Do Or Die (Acapella Intro; Acapella Outro)
Depuis Le Début (instrumental; w/ acrobat) –
End Of All Days
City Of Angels (Sing-a-long Intro; w/ Taiko Drummers)
Pyres Of Varanasi (instrumental; w/ acrobat; Ext. Outro w/ interlude) –
The Kill (Bury Me)
City Of Angels (Partial)
Closer To The Edge
City Of Angels (Music Video) –
Stay (Rihanna Cover)
Up In The Air (Guitar Intro; Ext. Bridge; w/ Taiko Drummers; fans onstage)