REVIEW: Thirty Seconds to Mars uses energetic crowd to fuel their carnival-like live show

Thirty Seconds to Mars / All photos by Clayton Taylor

If you could assemble a concert from a do-it-yourself kit, the result might turn out something very much like what Thirty Seconds to Mars served to a crowd in Rogers. They checked off all the boxes during their show on Sunday night (July 8) at the Walmart Arkansas Music Pavilion.

Here’s what you need to build your own rock band concert, Blue Apron style:

▢ Confetti
▢ Constant screams of “make some noise [insert name of venue, state or city here]!”
▢ Video screens and lights
▢ Choruses that contain the words “ooh” and “ah” in a variety of sequences, which can be used to make the audience sing back to you
▢ Attractive, affable, outrageously dressed lead singer
▢ Sweaty drummer
▢ Other instruments, too, I guess
▢ Pointing to the left side of the crowd, and then the right, and back and forth, challenging each side to be louder than the other
▢ Driving power chords (guitar and/or piano) that propel the song forward
▢ Telling the crowd they are the best crowd ever (optional)

Assemble all ingredients, reserving some of each. Mix in different order for variety. Repeat until you’ve performed for 80 minutes.

Voila! We have a Thirty Seconds to Mars concert!

Next at the Walmart Arkansas Music Pavilion

What: Kenny Chesney
When: 7:30 p.m. July 12
Where: Arkansas Music Pavilion, Rogers
Cost: Remaining seats start at $50
Tickets: 479-443-5600 or visit for information.

It may have been derivative and trope-heavy, but it was entertaining. Thirty Seconds to Mars is the product of brothers Shannon Leto on drums and his brother (and famous actor) Jared Leto as hypeman. I’m not going to call him the lead vocalist, although that’s a big part of his role. He’s the hypeman, and the entire stage left side of the band’s setup was open space to allow him to pace and twirl and invite audience members on stage to dance and join the revelry. Several times Jared Leto – who was outfitted in a kimono-like dress and pink gardening gloves to start the proceedings – invited fans to the stage. He paused the show to beg AMP security to allow it. He brought up two young children and asked for their names. He coached one of them on what to say, eliciting a 10ish-year-old child to drop the F bomb on stage. It was funnier than that might sound. At another venture, Leto invited a contest winner to come up and play guitar with the band. Cory from Centerton (I hope I’ve spelled Cory’s name right. I don’t know much about him) performed admirably during “This is War.” Leto used the crowd to his advantage. He frequently turned the microphone to the crowd for the chant-filled choruses. He also picked out the most enthusiastic crowd members as his on stage dance partners. Impressively, that included a man in a wheelchair who spun around to the beat and an approximately 10-year-old girl confident enough to attempt a gymnast’s roundoff. She nailed it. 10/10 for form, 11/10 for bravado.

The music mattered sometimes. It mattered more that people did gymnastics moves, as this event was more carnival than concert.

Walk the Moon (and the evening’s other opening acts) worked to create a party, too. The Cincinnati-based band played 11 songs in 50 minutes and barely paused in doing so. The only band member that didn’t dance all throughout their performance was the drummer, and he’s excused. It’s hard to dance behind a drum kit. Their efforts at stoking the crowd were punctuated by their megahit “Shut Up and Dance.”

K. Flay, on stage immediately prior to Walk the Moon, is hard to classify. Her sound can best be described as indie rap set over a modern rock backbone. She high-kicked her way around the stage during her brief set. I was more impressed with the evening’s first act, Welshly Arms. The Cleveland-based blues rock act had a 30-minute spot and didn’t waste it. I particularly enjoyed the use of backup vocalists to supplement lead singer Sam Getz’s yowl. A pair of wailing backup vocalists is a headliner’s move, not the opening act. Like the girl who attempted the roundoff during Thirty Seconds to Mars’ set, the backup vocalists nailed it.

Thirty Seconds to Mars, meanwhile, followed a well-worn recipe for modern rock and roll shows. It was not exotic, but the results arrived as expected.

Thirty Seconds to Mars

Walk the Moon

K. Flay

Welshy Arms

Thirty Seconds to Mars Setlist Walmart AMP, Rogers, AR, USA 2018, The Monolith Tour
WALK THE MOON Setlist Walmart AMP, Rogers, AR, USA 2018