November 2, 2010 - The LC, Columbus, Ohio
Physical torture was what we had to endure for 4 hours just to catch a glimpse of Jared, Shannon and Tomo from the front row at the LC. I've been in the pit for dozens of shows like Chris Cornell, Gavin Rossdale, No Doubt and Smashing Pumpkins, but none were as intense as this one. A few years back we caught 30STM at the Newport and watched from the balcony. It was entertaining watching the swirling mosh pit below from the safety above, but this year I was ready to brave the pit from the front row. Technically we were in the second row, which meant we didn't have the comfort of the metal barrier wall to lean on, usually my saving grace for the long wait. Instead we were stuck standing on the slope of the railing base, which felt like doing calf stretches for 4 hours. In a rush to get to the show after work, we skipped dinner. I never drink at concerts if we have a great spot because I'm not about to fight the crowd to get to the bathroom, or fight the person who tries to steal my spot if I step away. So that means dehydration is about to set in at some point, mixed with possible fainting from a lack of nutrients, topped with hundreds of sweaty people in a hot and stagnant concert hall all of whom are pushing their weight upon me. I thought I would either pass out or be trampled to death in a stampede. Most likely both would happen.
I'm still a little confused why it felt like we were in a crowd of girls who should be at a Justin Bieber concert instead. I mean, how do they know who Jordan Catalano is? That should be left to my generation. I was about 15 when My So-Called Life debuted in 1994 with Claire Danes and Jared Leto as socially awkward, flannel shirt rockin' teens in high school. Jared played the singer of a band called The Frozen Embryos. His brother Shannon was also a part of this band. So really, 30 Seconds to Mars is 2/3rds of the Frozen Embryos. Although he only performed in a few episodes, in fact I think only 19 episodes ever aired before this cult classic was cut short, Jared had a voice that clearly needed to be explored beyond his acting career. So when I heard he had this band a few years ago, I couldn't wait to check them out. The angst from his screams may not be the type of music just anyone would listen to, but at the time I was going through some frustrating days at work and putting on headphones and blasting songs like A Beautiful Lie, was major therapy for me. The tone of his voice is such a beautiful mixture with the otherwise heavy metal sounds of the band. The album out numbered every single artist on my play list by the play count. I never did get the full album of their first release, but it didn't interest me as much. When This is War came out, I decided to take the risk and buy the full album as a Christmas gift for my Husband. The covers featured a photo from a selection of hundreds of fan faces, mostly unattractive photos. Really quite creepy. At least you could through that photo out and keep the raging tiger cover art. I'm not sure why the record label didn't insist it be a cover with Jared and the guys. Anyways, I was very pleased by the music on the new album. Kings and Queens was starting to become over played but the other songs had a great mixture of rock and requiem. Which by the way, I have not seen Requiem for a Dream. Night of the Hunter became one of my favorites. Jared's hairstyle became the constant topic on twitter as he would post photos with a Mohawk changing from brown to blond to pink each week. Changing his appearance is something he's done before after gaining like 100 lbs to play Marc David Chapman, John Lennon's killer in the movie Chapter 27. A strange but good movie.
The reason I haven't gotten to the review of the actual concert yet is because after all of that torture, I lost the battle in the war that Mars had released upon us in the mosh pit. We made it through about 5 songs before we had enough pushing, punching, kicking, screaming, and jumping for one night. I couldn't hold my camera still enough to get photos, and we were being tossed from our 2nd row position to 3rd and so on as the waves from the sea of people began to break. Jared is much tinier than most of the girls in the audience. I met him a few years ago after a show and was shocked he was so small...after loosing the weight from Chapter 27. So just one arm in front of my face blocked the entire view, let alone dozens of fist pumping arms. If my body had the proper nutrients in it to survive the night, I would most certainly deal with the possibility of getting a black eye either from an elbow or by pissing off someone around me. I'm not the type of person you would expect to start a fight, but if someone tries to steal my spot they better watch out. We weren't lucky enough to get served cups of water from security like the 14 year olds next to us were able to flirt up. The lights went down for a solo set and we began to violently push our way out of the crowd. The movement was like liquid filling in the gaps without hesitation.
Eventually we made it to the back of the crowd in search of water. I was so physically exhausted that I had to find a spot in the very back of the venue to sit down against a wall and catch my breath. By the time I caught it, it was impossible to find a decent spot to see the stage. We wandered to the merch booth and met David Boyd from New Politics then ventured up to the balcony. It was easier to see the stage from above, but the feeling was like watching a concert on TV. No power, no emotion, no nothing. Even after Jared tried to command the attention of the balcony crowd, the atmosphere was still dead like we were 30 seconds away from mars. Which is why I had a very angry reaction after reading a review in the Dispatch the following day. The author was obviously sitting in the balcony because the title simply stated that the band struggled to energize the restless audience. Was he freaking kidding me? I don't care if someone wants to share their opinion that they think the music sucks, but to give such an inaccurate portrayal of the environment made me want to wage war. Don't go to a show and sit in the balcony to write a review about the audience while the true fans are battling it out for one step closer to the edge. If you're going to write about the atmosphere, at least be a part of it like we were. The author also commented on how Jared struggled to engage the audience (balcony) because he kept screaming at them to get off their ass and rock out. If you haven't heard that one before, then you must not have ever been to a rock show. I think that's a requirement of all rock stars. We did miss out on Jared's leaps into the front row, or when he brought 2 dozen people up on stage for the Kings and Queens final encore.
In the end this concert was a blast. It's the pain and suffering to be a part of the show that makes it so memorable. Feeling the music resonate through me gives me the feeling of being alive and there for all of the action. It's the reason I pay so much to see so many shows. Why I stand for so long. Why I will be right back in the same spot for the next show, but maybe next time I'll grab a bottle of water. You might be a big sports fan, obsessed with a team like Ohio State or the Browns. You might turn on the TV every Saturday to watch hours of football. You might go to tailgates and spend hours standing around waiting for the game to start. You probably have dozens of friends who root for the same team, and you get to share that excitement with each other on Facebook all weekend long. I on the other hand sometimes make friends on musician message boards. I go to concerts and spend hours crammed into a crowd of people waiting for my band to rock the stage not a field. To me, the unexpected antics on stage are like a touchdown. Time to stand up, scream and sing along to the crowd anthems the band rallies. This is my O-H moment. Music is my sport, my game, my memories.
Concert Count: 180
Link to the Dispatch review: