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Review: Hipster Jesus Jared Leto and Thirty Seconds to Mars electrify Boulevard Pool

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Karen Mandall / Erik Kabik Photography / ErikKabik.com

Thirty Seconds to Mars, with Oscar-winning frontman Jared Leto, performs at Boulevard Pool on Saturday, Sept. 20, 2014, in The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas.

Thirty Seconds to Mars at Cosmo

Thirty Seconds to Mars, with Oscar-winning frontman Jared Leto, performs at Boulevard Pool on Saturday, Sept. 20, 2014, in The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas. Launch slideshow »
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Thirty Seconds to Mars, with Oscar-winning frontman Jared Leto, performs at Boulevard Pool on Saturday, Sept. 20, 2014, in The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas.

Jared Leto, performing with his band Thirty Seconds to Mars, provided Las Vegas and the Cosmopolitan’s Boulevard Pool with an electrifying, sold-out performance right from the start Saturday night.

The outdoor venue overlooking the Strip was packed to capacity for the Academy Award-winning actor and singer-songwriter as opening DJ Crykit completed her set of generic rock ’n’ roll tracks.

The crowd was definitely ready for the headliner when Leto burst onto the stage with a theatrical presence. Full beard and long hair, wearing black-and-red tights with a pair of beat-up white-and-blue Asics and draped in an oversized navy-blue tie-dye top, he ran onto the outside stage overlooking the pool looking like a hipster Jesus, waving a giant flag as if leading the charge into battle.

The passion Leto exudes in a live performance is evident as he bounced around onstage with a wireless mic and interacted with the audience and the 65-foot screen near the stage that displayed the show. During “Kings and Queens” from their third studio album “This Is War,” Leto entered the lower crowd directly in front of the stage.

Throughout the night, there were a few raindrops, but as 11 p.m. approached, lightning and rain started to pick up and the band was instructed to wrap up the show. Leto and his bandmates, who include Jared’s brother Shannon Leto and lead guitarist/keyboardist Tomo Milicevic, made themselves available after the performance, vowing to sign every album that was purchased at the show.

I’ve been a fan of Thirty Seconds to Mars for several years, and not just because Leto stars in some of my favorite films, such as “Fight Club” and “Requiem for a Dream.” I remember when “A Beautiful Lie” was released in 2005, catching the public’s attention and prompting the inevitable question: Could a successful Hollywood actor make the transition into the music industry?

Defying many doubters, the band has etched out a unique image and delivered with solid songs on that second album, proving that they had the talent to make it. Following that album with the hyper-creative “This Is War,” with the critically acclaimed hits “This Is War,” “Kings and Queens” and “Closer to the Edge,” the band further solidified itself as a group that can stand on its own merits, not just Leto’s TV and film career and good looks.

In their most recent release, “Love, Lust, Faith and Dreams,” Thirty Seconds to Mars has taken a different and experimental new direction. Saturday night’s performance included “City of Angels,” the latest hit track from the new album. The night also included “Do or Die” and acoustic versions of “Attack” and “Hurricane.”

Saturday’s show was truly a unique experience. Boulevard Pool, with the backdrop of the lights from the Strip and the ambiance of the lit pool surrounded by fans, coupled with Leto’s energetic performance was one to remember. As the lightning and rain increased toward the end of the concert, Leto invited audience members onto the stage to end the show with a connected display of artist and supporter.

The mix of powerful songs with the audience singing, and the more experimental sounds of the newest album, fused together to create an engaging experience, one that was unique to this night.

Robin Leach has been a journalist for more than 50 years and has spent the past decade giving readers the inside scoop on Las Vegas, the world’s premier platinum playground.

Follow Robin Leach on Twitter at Twitter.com/Robin_Leach.

Follow Vegas DeLuxe on Twitter at Twitter.com/vegasdeluxe.

Follow Sun A&E Senior Editor Don Chareunsy on Twitter at Twitter.com/VDLXEditorDon.

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