30 Seconds to Mars, Tel Aviv Exhibition Grounds, August 19
By LAHAV HARKOV
Thirty Seconds to Mars frontman, Jared Leto, was already a teen idol 15 years ago when he played the secretly illiterate bad-boy love interest Jordan Catalano in the teen drama My So-Called Life.Yet, most of the audience at Wednesday night’s 30 Seconds to Mars concert was too young to remember Leto in his original heartthrob incarnation.The teenagers filling Tel Aviv’s Exhibition Grounds shrieked and swooned over Leto the angst-ridden rock star, with carefully applied eyeliner and Billy Idol bleached hair.Leto flirted with the adoring crowd, teasing the audience and leaving them wanting more. He entered the stage slowly, dramatically, singing “this is not a game,” hiding behind dark wraparound sunglasses.Three songs later, when the shades came off to reveal the baby blues Leto is famous for, MDA had to evacuate a fainting teenage girl.That’s not to say that 30 Seconds to Mars gets by on looks alone – there were plenty of males jumping to the music in the giant mosh pit. The hard rockers have been playing since 1998, scoring their first hit song, “A Beautiful Lie” in 2005, and the hard work has paid off. Shannon Leto (Jared’s brother) rocked the percussion and Tomo MilliCevic shredded on lead guitar as the crowd sang along to every word.The show went off without a hitch, and the Leto brothers worked the crowd like pros, with Shannon throwing drumsticks into the audience and Jared imploring the audience to get on each other's shoulders and wave their hands in the air Throughout the 90-minute set, the band stuck to its melodramatic emo roots.Emo, for those of you who aren’t in the know, is a style of expressive rock music. The name comes from “emotional,” and the emotion usually expressed is something between depression and anger. 30 Seconds to Mars falls directly into this category, with tormented lyrics like “let go of the truth, the battles of your youth, ‘cause this is just a game, it’s a beautiful lie.”The band kept its performance melodramatic, with Leto slowly walking down a runway that stretched deep into the crowd, closing his eyes as he groaned and yelled into the microphone.The audience didn’t stop yelling back. In fact, the lead singer announced that it was “the loudest I've ever played.”Earlier in the day, the band members told Army Radio that they would perform in Israel despite the controversy, because they saw on Twitter and Facebook that they had many fans in Israel, and they continued to express their appreciation for those fans throughout the evening.“What a beautiful country,” Leto told the crowd, before announcing that he had visited Jerusalem and the Tel Aviv beach, and tasted “the almighty hummus, falafel and pita bread.”“L’chaim, by the way.Shalom. Erev Tov. Toda Raba.That's all I know,” Leto said.Then he draped an Israeli flag over his back and began singing, as confetti fell all over the stage and the fans.
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