It's going to be hard to put my experience into words, but I'm going to try my very best anyway. (Edit: This entry is crazy long. I put some Mars stuff behind a cut, but there's still a lot on them. If you aren't interested in every single song they played, I suggest you just scroll down and skip all that.) Last night was definitely one of the best of my life, and I absolutely no regrets going despite the initial frustration before the event.
Let me very quickly break it down. World Stage this year was held at i-City in Shah Alam, a faraway, Godforsaken place to a PJ kid like me. Transport was one issue; another one was getting someone to go with me. (I'd won a pair of tickets from the World Stage site by staying up till four a.m. almost every night of the first two weeks of my sem break, clicking and clicking on those damned crates.) It took a lot of asking a lot of people, but finally, Bob agreed to come. Our worries of being stranded at the closed KTM station on the way back were solved by my dear father, who drove all the way there just to pick us up.
Getting a taxi after the concert would've been insane.
Look at that line!
All that had been so frustrating. Coupled with the fact that I'd been a PMS-induced monster, I had given serious thought to just not going for the stupid thing, never mind the fact that I'd been waiting for years to watch Mars live. Thankfully, I didn't let my
So, the concert, in order:
Old Skool Rocka.
I've watched them before a few years back; they opened for My Chemical Romance when they came here in '07 (I still refer to that as my Best Day Ever). Pop Shuvit is generally good live. They opened with one of their better-known singles, Old Skool Rocka, and did a pretty good job of getting the crowd hyped up. No one in my vicinity knew the lyrics, though, so we were basically just yelling "OLD SKOOL ROCKA!" every time that part came in.
They played Oh! Sizuka as well. Moots said it was about a girl they met in Japan, and I had to laugh at myself. See, previously, I'd thought it was Oh, Shizuka! and thought it was, you know, a swear word. Whoops!
Marabahaya was their closing song, and that's when things started to get messy. It's an awesome song for sure, rocking and catchy, and it sent excitement levels skyrocketing. This bunch of guys started moshing, which was, you know, fine, since it was a rock concert and all. But there were kids there, little kids eager to see BEAST, who were getting crushed by these big guys. At one point, I actually held this girl to me (she said she was fifteen, but looked ten) for fear that she'd lose her balance like she'd been threatening to and get trampled on.
Things got a little insane, and people started getting mad and shoving back and stuff. Very messy. I was glad when the song ended.
I have nothing against moshing, but it's not for me. Moshers should stick to themselves and lay off other people, especially people who look unhappy and are already trying to move away. Might I add that those assholes (sorry, but you should've been there) took advantage of the wide berth they were given to push their way further up front.
We had to wait for it to be dark enough for them to come out
so that the pretty lights of their set wouldn't have been wasted.
This is terrible and embarrassing, but I actually thought one of their songs, Shock, was, well, not bad. Catchy. Not something I'd usually listen to, but their set wasn't as agonising as I'd imagined it to be. I think BEAST is one of the less effeminate Korean boybands, which was why the food I'd eaten stayed in my stomach and I found myself nodding along to some of their songs.
They were probably lip-syncing (nobody can dance and sing like that without getting breathless), but it was entertaining nonetheless. I sort of get now why all the K-pop fangirls go on about how hot they are, but they pretty much all look the same to me, the only difference being their hair colour. Listening to Koreans speaking English is always cute, though.
I was having way too much fun during their set to take pictures.
So here are actual neon trees in i-City.
You probably know by now that I went there solely for Mars. However, I think it was Neon Trees, not them, who put on the best show. Simply put, they were incredible. It came as a surprise to me, them being relatively new to the music scene and all, but they really, really know how to put on a show. Tyler is an amazing frontman, charismatic and energetic; he ran around, danced, told tales, and, of course, sang, hitting pretty much every note.
I only knew two of their songs, but it didn't matter. People were jumping, dancing, doing their thing all throughout, and generally just having fun, they were so good. Nearing the end of their set, the anticipation that had been building up since they'd stepped on stage culminated in us screaming "A-ni-mal! A-ni-mal!" They obliged, closing with the song, and that was just...possibly the most fun song that night. Everybody went crazy, and it was insane in the best way ever. Thankyou, Neon Trees, for an amazing set. I hope you guys go places.
30 Seconds to Mars
The stage, ready and waiting. Darn overhead camera blocked mine.
This was it. The moment I'd been waiting for for five years. Possibly I'm only saying this because I'm such a big fan, but I thought it was amazing.
They took forever to come out, and when they finally did, the place exploded. Without wasting any time, they launched into A Beautiful Lie (which somewhat disappointed me, since I'd been hoping for them to open with Vox Populi, hee.) For the first two songs or so, Jared's voice was not on par. What was worse was whoever was in charge of the sound system must've messed up, because Jared's voice was drowned out by the music for quite a bit of their set. However, he came out to do two acoustic numbers later, and those were lovely.
I was actually pretty surprised at their setlist -- songs with somewhat controversial lyrics that I thought they'd have to avoid were played, with flashing lyrics as their backdrop too. However, the screen went blank for 'Jesus' in Search and Destroy: I'm no Jesus, and neither are you, my friend. That song's been stuck in my head the whole day. I don't know if this happens to anyone else, but hearing songs live sometimes changes the song completely for me, and I hear it in a completely new way. It's a little bit incredible.
Jared hyping the crowd up. Can you just spot Shannon?
This is War + 100 Suns and Vox Populi were obviously nothing short of epic. "Tonight, we're gonna jump so high, we're gonna reach the stars." Everyone was singing along, and I honestly don't have the words to describe it. The euphoria, feeling you were invincible, seeing other people who knew and were putting up the believers' hand signs... Some of it's a blur now that I'm entering post-concert depression mode. I hate the feeling of running around trying to catch tiny bits of memories before they slip past; it's like trying to hold water with cupped hands. Sigh.
This next part, I remember, though. Shannon and Tomo left the stage and the tech guys brought out Jared's acoustic guitar. That's when I got excited, because it meant we could actually finally really hear Jared's voice. I'd never heard the acoustic version of Hurricane before, and it was pretty damn awesome. Beautiful, even. It was the first time that night we got to properly hear his voice, and it was incredible. You can imagine the screams everytime he sang "Do you really want? Do you really want me?" (Unfortunately, the next line was 'Do you really want me dead?')
"Do you really want me dead
Or alive to torture for my sins?"
Once he was done, I was hoping with all my heart that he would do The Kill. A few years ago, I fell in love with this video. The Kill acoustic is so, so, so good. I waited patiently while he pulled a couple of people onstage with him for the next song; being so far back, I had no delusions of Jared singling me out in the crowd. Once all that excitement was over, he asked if we had any requests. We were united in our decision: "The Kill! The Kill! The Kill!" The unfortunate thing was, with our collective accent, it sounded like we were screaming "Degil! Degil! Degil!" which is 'stubborn' in Malay. Never mind, Jared wouldn't have understood us.
He said he wanted to do The Kill and Alibi ("Have you heard of a song called The Kill? What about Alibi? No?"), but they were running short on time, or something to that effect. Alibi would've been awesome as well, but we screamed with increased fervour nonetheless. He started playing The Kill, and we erupted. I think he originally intended to do Alibi, because songs from their previous album had been played at the start of the set, and he had to stop once to remember the chords, telling us to sing along as loud as we could. I wish it would've been just him up on stage alone, because it could've been a pretty intense, beautiful moment. It was still really good, though. (I'm watching YouTube videos of it now from people who were closer to the speakers. Oh dear Lord, it was amazing.) I still am having trouble wrapping my brain around the fact that I got to watch The Kill, acoustic, being performed live. Thankyou, God!
As Jared handed the acoustic guitar back to the tech guy, he accidentally spoke into his mic: "Closer next?" I freaked. Closer to the Edge is one of my favourite songs off their new album, and a song I have always wanted to see live. It was perfect. Perfect. The crowd got just as frenzied as we did during Neon Trees' Animal, but this was a whole different kind of frenzy. I just went crazy, because I thought it was the last song. Seeing one of your favourite bands live is an almost religious experience, I swear.
They thanked us and left the stage then, but the crowd wasn't happy. "Kings and Queens! Kings and Queens! Kings and Queens!" Nothing happened. Someone had the bright idea of singing the "Whoa-oh-oh" part that precedes the first verse and continues throughout the song, and we all started singing along. It was pretty epic. We continued doing that until they came back out, then we started screaming again.
Kings and Queens.
Jared pulled even more people onstage, a pretty big group, to party with them. Because of all the excitement (not to mention extra space in the zone in front of us), people in our zone started jumping the barrier. Bob and I were on the verge of doing the same thing, until two things happened:
- Security showed up.
- I realised that, standing the at the barrier of our zone, we had a better view than being at the back of the crowd of the zone in front, because the floor of our zone was slightly elevated.
We stayed where we were, and I'm glad we did. I held on to the barrier for dear life and had the best view of the stage -- I could see everything, and no one was blocking me! I even got a few shots with my crappy phone camera! They played Kings and Queens as their encore performance, ended spectacularly, Shannon tossed the crowd his drumsticks, and they left.
So ended one of the best nights of my life.
Right now, as I've said earlier, I struggling a little with post-concert depression. YouTube videos are helping with that, bless the souls who managed to smuggle in their cameras. Watching these videos, I realise Mars sounded better than what I could hear with the screaming crowd all around me. I'm so glad I went. I regret nothing. It was an incredible night.
That is all.
For more stuff on Mars:
Hold on, I need to fangirl for a bit.
Tomo, Shannon, and an unwanted visitor.
(From this Tumblr.)
I feel like I need to talk about Shannon and Tomo -- especially Tomo -- before going on forever about Jared. Shannon did a fantastic job that night on the drums, keeping time and pummelling his way through songs effortlessly. There were two drum enthusiasts beside me as the Mars tech were setting up their instruments, and from what I overheard, he had an impressive drum set "with six toms", though I'm not sure how many there're really supposed to be (much fewer, I'm guessing). At the end of their set, he tossed two pairs of drumsticks to the crowd, one by one, and gave us a good-natured wave before heading offstage.
Tomo is easily the most underrated member of the band. Jared gets so much attention because of his (amazingly) good looks and frontman status, Shannon gets attention for his prowess at the drums and for being Jared's brother, and Tomo? Tomo seems to be to most people just that other guy in the band. Did anyone else notice that he played three different instruments last night -- guitar, keyboards, and that little snare drum off to the side? Does anyone else know he'd been trained to be a concert violinist from the age of three till he got introduced to heavy metal at age nineteen? (He still does play the violin. Here's proof. Old proof is still proof.)
30 Seconds to Mars is, right now, the three of them. Three, not one.
(From this Tumblr.)
I'm a Jared fangirl myself, but I'm just saying. To all those people at the concert chanting "Ja-red! Ja-red! Ja-red!": Mars is not a one-man-show. Come on, now.
Okay, real fangirling time.
Jared Leto. He came onstage in sunglasses and a sort of shroud (someone said he looked like a Jedi, haha!), both of which he shed after the first song or so. I was the first person in my area to start screaming when he removed him sunglasses. Oh my gosh. Oh my gosh, he has the most beautiful eyes ever, I swear! All those photos of him, they aren't Photoshopped or anything -- his eyes really are that blue! He's almost forty, but dear Lord, he doesn't look it.
Not my favourite picture of him, but look at his eyes!
Another one from last night here.
(Both pictures from tianchad.com.)
I can now say he is the most beautiful man I have ever laid eyes on. Augh.
Sorry to end the post on a somewhat bimbotic note, but I couldn't seem to fit that in anywhere else. Just so you know, I started listening to Mars before I knew what any of them looked like. So there.