NEW YORK — For a band that, over the past three years, has been no stranger to adversity — everything from battles with their label to scraps with censors and the occasional stage collapse — 30 Seconds to Mars had probably never had to deal with the kind of trouble that occurred during the encore of their record-setting show Wednesday night in New York.
During the crashing crescendo of "Kings and Queens," a female fan was crushed against a barricade and required immediate medical assistance. "Queens" was the final song of the band's set, which was preceded by a lengthy presentation from the folks at Guinness World Records, who honored 30STM for Most Shows Played During An Album Cycle (309 was Guinness' count). Jared Leto invited fans to join them onstage for the finale. Spirits were high inside the Hammerstein Ballroom, and as "Queens" unfolded, they only got higher ... until Leto stopped the song and asked for medics to tend to the injured fan. After 20 solemn minutes, EMTs carried her away on a stretcher.
"As soon as she got oxygen, she sat up and is doing OK," 30STM's management told MTV News after the show. After getting the all-clear, 30 Seconds to Mars undauntedly finished the song and the night ended with the crowd triumphantly chanting its "woah-oh-oh" hook while streamers fell from the ceiling.
And not to downplay the severity of the situation, but it helped illustrate everything that made 30 Seconds to Mars' record-setting run with This Is War so unique. Their ability to overcome obstacles, their willingness to push on, and the otherworldly bond they share with their fans — displayed best when drummer Shannon Leto left the stage to assist the EMTs.
The band had already played more than 300 shows, and yet, they still pushed hard on Wednesday, imbuing songs like "Search and Destroy" and "Night of the Hunter" with walloping guitars, anthemic sing-along choruses and washes of spooky synths. Jared sprinted up and down the catwalk stage (not easy to do in a huge black cloak), shined a massive spotlight into the crowd to illuminate fans' faces, and even performed a few acoustic numbers mid-set. Shannon pounded his kit as sweat flew, and guitarist Tomo Milicevic crunched chords and charmed ethereal soundscapes out of his ax. It could have been show number one, not the final gig of a two-year trek.
Of course, 30STM's fans matched, if not doubled, the band's enthusiasm. There were signs in the audience touting the Detroit chapter of the Echelon, and at one point, Leto brought a fan onstage who had traveled all the way from Maryland. Every chorus was sung back to the band loudly, each massive chant repeated at top volume, and the opening chords of each new song greeted with squeals of delight. Fans reached skyward as confetti fell, and ooh-ed and aah-ed as lasers shot from the stage. This was definitely a celebration, in just about every conceivable way.
Not surprisingly, the band seemed genuinely touched and a tad nostalgic. Jared told fans that the Guinness award was theirs, too, shouting, "I want everyone in here to carry this with them for the rest of their lives," as he thrust the certificate above his head.
As if their record-setting tour didn't already tip you off to it, the rather frightening delay proved that 30STM are a band seemingly at their best when forced to push on. And on. And on.
Did you attend any stops on 30STM's record-setting tour? Share your reviews in the comments below!