“Suid Afrika is die beste!”

These were the words that we all shouted into Jared Leto’s phone (it’s on Instagram if you don’t believe me). “Beste” is also one of the words that sum up my second time experience with the American rockers.

I’ll hold off giving you my impressions of the concert by starting with some details about my experience as a photographer at the Thirty Seconds to Mars concert at the Coca-Cola Dome in Johannesburg. Getting media access to an event of this nature was really difficult. There was a lot of red tape! We found out earlier in the day that we would not be allowed to shoot from, what is commonly known as, The Photographers’ Pit. We were to shoot from Front of House which is roughly somewhere in the middle of the concert venue where the sound and lighting guys set up shop. If you know anything about concert photography, you’ll know that the further away you are from subject, and the more people you have between you and your subject, the harder it is to take good photos of your subject. So when you’re looking through my photo series and you’re wondering why there are so many crowd shots, you’ll understand why.

Now let’s swing back to details about the performance. In my opinion, the support act, Beatenberg, lacked stage presence. Don’t get me wrong, their sound is absolute quality. They just don’t put up much of a show. All in all, I think they were a great band to open for Thirty Seconds to Mars because of the incredible contrast that they created.

Coming back to our main act of the evening, Thirty Seconds to Mars (I don’t know why the band’s name isn’t simply “Jared Leto” – the whole show revolved around the guy) managed to put on one of the most incredible live performances I have ever seen. Jared Leto’s voice was impeccable and his vocal range/quality has increased twofold since the founding of the band. He was interacting with the audience at every opportunity during the performance and not once was there a lull in the excitement. He even managed to pull up half of the audience in the hour and half performance. It was during one of these moments of getting people up on stage with him that he decided to post a video on Instagram with his crowd of 15 000 people behind him.

As I stated earlier, this is the second time that I’ve seen Thirty Seconds to Mars in Johannesburg. The first was six years ago at Coke Fest when Jared Leto climbed up the stage scaffolding and performed, mic in hand, from a position two or three storeys above the ground. Needless to say, it would appear that Thirty Seconds to Mars never ceases to amaze and bring out an awe inspiring performance. This past Friday evening was no different.

I hope that you enjoy this photo series from my front of house position.