Budweiser Stage was taken over by two masters of spectacle this past Tuesday night as both Muse and 30 Seconds to Mars played to a crowd of 15,000 lucky fans. The venue was a centre of bombast that night as the dual titans spent their time on stage consistently upping the ante.
Jared Leto and his alt-rock crew 30 Seconds to Mars haven’t been around for a while, although the Hollywood frontman did visit Toronto while filming blockbuster movie Suicide Squad. The last time the band played was in 2014 and their last effort Love, Lust, Faith and Dreams was released over four years ago. Still, they needed no re-introduction. The venue was fully packed by the time the band came on and fans still knew every one of their anthemic tunes.
30 Seconds to Mars
It was a brief set, but Leto packed it full of surprises and his engaging presence. Ever the showman, he strode out on stage in a flowing red cape for the first few songs, which included 2009’s “This is War” and “Kings & Queens”. He then ventured out into the crowd to play massive hit single “The Kill” acoustically before returning to the stage and bringing some audience members up with him. He also took the time to record the crowd chanting the hook to their brand new single which will be released before year’s end. As the set wound down, Leto proudly waved around a giant Canadian flag and thanked the crowd profusely for a great evening.
Muse are still about a year away from a new record, but the showstopping British trio were more than eager to get back onto the road with their latest single “Dig Down”. Matt Bellamy and company started their set with that track and its operatic chorus, an appropriately grand opening statement for the night.
“Grand” might not be a strong enough word to describe the performance; each song was given the widescreen treatment and extrapolated to create a nonstop set from beginning to end. There was very little stage banter from the boys, and the spaces in between songs were instead filled with various intros and outros culled from either their own works or other artist’s riffs. For example, the furious barrage of 2004 single “Hysteria” was bridged to the pulsating 2006 song “Map of the Problematique” with AC/DC’s “Back in Black” hook.
Each track had unique visuals playing on the massive screen behind the band, ranging from diagrams of robots to vast dystopian landscapes to abstract technological imagery. This helped reconcile the two parts of the band; the brawny guitar rock and the chilly electronica merged well when connected with the various videos. If that wasn’t enough, the band also brought out confetti cannons not once but twice, also deploying streamers during recent single “Mercy”.
The encore featured two barrelling calls-to-arms: the Blondie-esque chug of “Uprising” and the multi-part suite “Knights of Cydonia”. It was a triumphant end to the night, made all the better knowing that both bands will be back in town pretty soon once their respective albums drop. See ya soon, boys!