Whether you see Jared Leto as the creepy Joker in Suicide Squad or the drug-induced teenager in Requiem for a Dream, it's clear he can create many personas. One of his most prominent identities is the passionate frontman of the band Thirty Seconds to Mars. And on Wednesday night in Dallas, the unapologetic rock star performed under and inside a luminous four-walled stage with a social and political agenda.
For 20 years, Jared and his brother, drummer Shannon Leto, have written, recorded and performed together, expressing their views of the world in prose. The Leto brothers use anthemic songs to discuss topics like political unrest, faith, finding your voice and fighting for what you believe in -- and they've built an impressive following in the process. The venue was filled with the band's triangular symbol shown in tattoos and on flags and shirts, making it feel more like an inspiring movement instead of another sweltering Texas summer concert.
Jared's mood matched his fabulously glittery robe covered in flowers and tigers. Twirling and pacing, he led chanting fans in songs like "Kings and Queens" and "Dangerous Night." Thirty Seconds' maximalist style felt freer in an open arena, where the highs and lows had room to stretch out.
Much of the set list was pulled from the band's latest release, America, a politically and socially charged album that exposes the state of the country through their eyes.
With 10 album covers depicting names of celebrities, governmental agencies and even sex positions, it was no surprise Thirty Seconds to Mars' music dug into racy topics, too. Massive balloons floated throughout the crowd during "This is War," displaying decisive statements such as "Trump sux" and "[expletive] racism." However, Jared stuck to the music and general crowd-pleasing antics like pulling fans onstage and orchestrating sing-alongs.
Look inside the Thirty Seconds to Mars concert in Dallas
"Rescue Me," which focuses on the struggles of mental health, revealed the band's shift from a more traditional guitar-and-drum composition to today's DJ-driven hooks and boomerang effects. The new style shows Thirty Seconds to Mars is reacting to trends -- but in a way that feels genuine.
Alongside Jared's contagious exhilaration and the glowing box stage shifting in the air, "Great Wide Open" captivated the crowd. Walk the Moon's lead singer, Nicholas Petricca, stepped out for the track and sang a beautifully solemn rendition of the somber song alongside Jared.
Petricca and his band were not just the opening act but also a bonus performance for fans early enough to catch them. Walk the Moon's joyful pop music is best enjoyed live -- the pounding drums and effervescent choruses got crowds on their feet and encouraged a carefree vibe.
With as many leading roles and demanding characters Jared has played over the years, it's a wonder he's maintained his rockstar appeal in today's unforgiving music industry. But his rafter-reaching vocals, fervor for the voiceless and fearlessness on sensitive topics have made Thirty Seconds to Mars an influential force.