Muse overshadows Leto in concert
A capacity crowd of some 22,000 fans turned out to witness the potent doubleheader of Muse and Thirty Seconds to Mars on Friday night at the Shoreline Amphitheatre at Mountain View.
Both acts delivered enjoyable sets, but Muse was by far the better of the two. Of course, that’s not surprising, given that very few bands can compete with Muse on a live stage.
Following a short set by Massachusetts rockers PVRIS (pronounced Paris), Thirty Seconds to Mars took the stage and began to race through tracks from its four-album back catalog as well as new material.
The band was led by multi-talented Renaissance rocker Jared Leto, who many know first and foremost as an acclaimed actor. The Louisiana native has starred in such films as “Dallas Buyers Club,” in which he delivered an Oscar-winning performance as a transgender woman, and “Suicide Squad,” which might just be the worst comic book movie of all time.
Leto looked like he got dressed in the dark in the wardrobe room of a community theater company as he made his appearance wearing a sparkly blue superhero cap, sunglasses, tennis shoes and a kilt over something resembling pajama bottoms.
As a front man, Leto was the most interesting aspect of the band, so dominating the live experience that it made the rest of the players seem like little more than wallpaper. He also was able to elevate the music in a way that he is unable to do in the studio, providing both drama and significance to what are otherwise commonplace arenarock anthems.
Leto had barely been onstage for a minute or so when he decided it was time to venture into the crowd, setting up shop about half way through the 100-section and belting out “This Is War.”
He was in a talkative mood throughout the set, dropping a steady string of F-bombs (even in front of the young kids and other fans he’d bring onstage toward the end of the show) and doing such things as urging people to call local radio station Live 105 and request the band’s latest single. And he just loved to hear the crowd roar in approval of his efforts.
He’d make it out to the fans in the 200 section later in the set, grabbing an acoustic guitar and crooning “The Kill (Bury Me),” then returned to the main stage for a fine take on “Walk on Water” from the band’s upcoming fifth album.
Next up was the mighty Muse, which managed to completely overshadow what Thirty Seconds had accomplished within, well, about 30 seconds.
Muse — which ranks as arguably the most powerful trio in mainstream rock — rocketed into action with a powerful take on the new cut “Dig Down” and then managed to up the ante with “Psycho,” from the band’s most recent album, “Drones.”
Leto may have the Hollywood hunk angle going for him, but he’s no Matthew Bellamy, who demands the crowd’s attention with both his stellar singing voice (one of the best in rock) and his guitar-hero antics.
Muse spent some time early in the set with music from its third studio album, 2003’s “Absolution,” revving up the eager crowd even higher with “Hysteria” and other cuts.
The band — which also includes the all-galaxy rhythm team of bassist Chris Wolstenholme and drummer Dominic Howard — is known for putting on some elaborate stage productions. But this wasn’t on eof them. Instead, the stage design was strikingly bare (by Muse standards), but that just allowed the fans to concentrate more fully on the three band members (and one backing musician).
One of the highlights of the night (if not much longer than that) was Muse’s smashing take on “Supermassive Black Hole,” which Bellamy opened with a musical tease of the “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” theme. It was slippery slick, super funky and undeniably sexy — basically coming across like the best Prince song that Prince never wrote.
In all, it was another powerful performance by one of the most talented acts in the business. Hopefully, Leto stuck around and took notes because Thirty Seconds to Mars — as well as so many other bands — could really learn a lot by watching Muse.
Matt Bellamy of the band Muse dominated Friday’s show with his dynamic vocals and guitar performance.
Jared Leto dominated Thirty Seconds To Mars’ show.