Gig review: Thirty Seconds to Mars at Motorpoint Arena

Words: Talia Robinson
Photos: Natalie Owen
Thursday 06 June 2024
reading time: min, words

Bringing that misty-eyed quality of Hollywood to the Motorpoint Arena, LeftLion witnessed Thirty Seconds To Mars reaching for the stars...


"Who wants to get a little crazy tonight?!”

Jared Leto saunters onto the stage in a cloak billowing with conceit. Quite literally donned in a robe and cape, his attire is rather simple. The garish blue gloves may draw your eye in, yet he has a knack for holding the attention of each audience member intimately; staring into the camera with executed precision, the screens either side of the stage endorsed more like an optical illusion.

Paradoxical seems to be the word for the opening number. The energy is Up In The Air, if you will, and given the lavish display of pyrotechnics, the audience is rather subdued. For the relatively cosy arena size, it’s surprising to find that the floor is sectioned into two parts – the back end of the room is packed out, yet the front? It’s sparsely populated, and Leto is clearly not happy with the layout.

“You’re welcome to join us here down in the pit,” he drawls, igniting the embers of feverish footfall to spark within the seats. Dismissing the security’s efforts to, quite frankly, do their job as people vault over the barriers, the gesture sets precedent for Leto’s interconnectivity with crowd and chorus. 

“I got told, ‘Those Nottingham folks, they’re really shy up there. They’re a little quiet in Nottingham,’” he continues above the vibrations of disbelief, people still racing to get tangibly closer to the frontman. “I said ‘Man, ain’t no one f**king quiet at a Thirty Seconds To Mars show!’”

Kings And Queens surges against that earlier trepidation and crashes into a tide of reverence; orchestrating the “Ooo-ah’s” into a cinematically coy crescendo, we’re weightless. Confetti aside, we’re lingering in that liminal space of anticipation. Guitarist Stevie Aiello is crooning and cajoling the audience simply with guitar strings, whilst Leto commandeers Walk On Water to be the spiritual awakening of our enthusiasm. For all its gospel-like chorale and Americana imagery galore, it’s a unifying number.


“Anyone wanna come up here and take over the gig?” The floor now a pastiche portrait of a sold-out show, there’s hardly room to raise a hand. A devoted few are chosen to join the band on stage for Rescue Me“Only the craziest motherf**ers! I only want the crazy ones up here with me!” – to let their musical inhibitions break free of crowd constriction.

Gliding upon an air of apocalyptic desire, Hurricane brings forth an anthemic quality that becomes more rampant on I. Whether it’s the poignant theatrics of a hand flare, poised in the air defiantly and silhouetted in the hue of acapella call and responses; perhaps it’s the unwavering fists in the air, the mimicry that we’re becoming a bigger deity than ourselves. That repeated “it’s a brave new world!” motif carries across the message that tonight, in this room, we can escape from the mundanity of living and breathe new life into it, one performance at a time.

Or just grab yourself a flame thrower. Leto seemed quite happy firing the hand-held machine around. Maybe that’s all you need to get by.

The acoustics may dial down for the next few songs, yet the attitude towards rarely performed From Yesterday heightens the show to a new level. This casual affair between punters and performer, the ease at which the band is willing to switch up the setlist, is a testament to their longevity. Thirty Seconds To Mars may be a side project for the actor, but Jared Leto treats the crowd with such tender respect. Respect that is echoed with the debut of a new single, Get Up Kid. Aware that this tour is somewhat of a nostalgia-heavy necessity, the band is rather tentative announcing their latest song. We’re just as loud in our suspended singalong, the lyrics backdropped behind the stage and beyond our recognition that it’s a genuinely uplifting song with a sentiment to be proud of.

So much so in fact that we’re let in on a little secret because we’ve been so lovely: “If you guys keep hold of your ticket, we’re letting you all come see us again at another show for free! London, Birmingham – why not both? We’d love to have you!” Realistically, this doesn’t reflect well on the band, but the sheer noise that erupts from the floor shows these fans don’t care. Who wouldn’t want the opportunity to follow their favourite band around the country for free?! 

“You might be one of the smallest venues on the tour, but it feels like there’s 20,000 of you here tonight.”

Attack is an aggressive antidote to our politeness – we're induced once again into that biting desperation for rock ‘n’ roll angst. Encore inevitable with emo-centric The Kill (Bury Me), we’re screaming against that post-concert clarity that only comes with relieving the playlists of your youth.

Leto demands his rapt audience to show rather than tell him why they should be on that stage for Closer To The Edge and it’s a blinding display of community. From previously having half a dozen fans dancing alongside him, he now has almost a hundred looping arms, grinning from ear to ear, encouraging each other to jump as high as they can to be noticed. This is a community spirit right here, and with the resonance of “I will never forget / I will never regret” still ringing through the arena as the house lights come up, it’s guaranteed that it’s a night to be remembered.

Thirty Seconds to Mars performed at Motorpoint Arena on 3rd June 2024.

We have a favour to ask

LeftLion is Nottingham’s meeting point for information about what’s going on in our city, from the established organisations to the grassroots. We want to keep what we do free to all to access, but increasingly we are relying on revenue from our readers to continue. Can you spare a few quid each month to support us?

Support LeftLion

Please note, we migrated all recently used accounts to the new site, but you will need to request a password reset

Sign in using

Or using your

Forgot password?

Register an account

Password must be at least 8 characters long, have 1 uppercase, 1 lowercase, 1 number and 1 special character.

Forgotten your password?

Reset your password?

Password must be at least 8 characters long, have 1 uppercase, 1 lowercase, 1 number and 1 special character.