The 30 Seconds to Mars debut in Hong Kong was a night I will never forget. Lead singer Jared Leto was right when boldly proclaiming: "Even [your] children will [expletive] remember this."
The band opened with A Beautiful Lie, accompanied by a synchronised video and strobe lights. Just when Jared started strumming his guitar, the crowd went wild.
Those in the seated balcony area could barely stay seated. Once Leto urged us to stand up, we all did. We definitely didn't anticipate his invitation to go downstairs and join the standing crowd. It was such a treat for all of us, and we ran downstairs without skipping a beat.
The concert did not disappoint. The set list was a perfect melange of chart-toppers and lesser known gems. Casual and die-hard fans all had something to cheer about. Leto even took requests from the audience in a mini-acoustic set.
The sound of live music certainly trumps the recorded versions. I only regret not being pulled up on stage for the last song, Kings And Queens . I really hope the group will keep their promise to keep a close relationship with Hong Kong. To quote Closer to the Edge , "maybe we'll meet again".
Just hours before the concert, the trio spoke about their first visit to Hong Kong a few months ago, during a nine-hour layover on their way to the United Arab Emirates. "We went to the Chi Lin monastery," Leto said. "They have a vegan restaurant there. That was the best Chinese food I had in my life. It was really incredible."
30 Seconds to Mars looked as relaxed and carefree as ever. You'd never expect they were making their debut in Hong Kong, a city, even the band admit, where they are "not very well known".
When asked to share their pre-show rituals, Leto joked about consuming "human blood", followed by Tomo Milicevic performing extreme stretching exercises.
As for the show, it was absolutely crazy. I don't mean Woodstock-crazy. I mean it in an entertaining and fun kind of way, something parents would not wholly object to.
As an encore, Leto selected 50 or so fans to join him on stage. The stage looked like a scene from a music video, with crazy fans rocking out to the tune. The night was incredible, topped off with a climax that'll be hard to beat for any band making their way to the city this summer.
Barry C Chung