K.Flay strolled out just before 7 p.m. with the sun in her eyes to liven things up with her punk rock approach to hip-hop. Despite being the most musically disparate on the bill, the 33-year-old Illinois native held her own onstage, performing tracks like “Make Me Fade,” “Black Wave” and “Blood In The Cut” off both her full-length albums.
At 7:50 p.m., Walk The Moon made their way on stage as The Lion King's “Circle Of Life” blared from the sound system, providing the band a truly epic entrance. With the sun finally beginning to let up for the day, Walk The Moon got the crowd dancing, jumping and singing along as they opened with What If Nothing single “One Foot.” Nearing the end of their set, the band gave the older generations in the crowd a little nod while weaving part of Led Zeppelin's “Kashmir” into “Headphones” with a surprising fluidity.
With the sun beating directly on the venue through the opening set, there was no hiding the fact that attendance was looking bleak, but with each new act taking the stage, fans of all ages began filtering in and filling seats. By the time Thirty Seconds To Mars appeared just after 9 p.m. to open with the tour's namesake tune, the view from the stage – up the ascending amphitheatre to the lawn – looked packed. Triad logo flags were waved throughout the crowd in anticipation, and the roar of approval was overwhelming.
Apart from Shannon Leto's low drum riser stage left and two accompanying musicians tucked out of sight, the setup was essentially bare. One large background screen paired with a matching screen angled overhead, and the rest of the open space onstage was free for Jared to roam. Donning a cape and a striking outfit complete with sunglasses and bedazzled, elbow-length gloves, Jared Leto did laps around the stage, occasionally twirling to allow the cape some action.
Performing a good majority of their newest album, America – as well as hits like “Up In The Air” and “The Kill (Bury Me)” – the set list allowed for some fun dynamics that kept the show fresh despite running long. Unsurprisingly, Halsey was not in attendance to provide her feature on “Love Is Madness,” but Leto brought out Walk The Moon's Nicholas Petricca to help out on “Great Wide Open.
There were balloons, there were water guns, there was an American flag waved about. But the most electric part of the night saw Leto calling fan after fan onstage from the crowd until the vast void he had previously paced around for more than half the set was filled. For the band's empowering anthem “Rescue Me” and end piece “Closer To The Edge,” the stage was rife with young fans crowded around Leto – dancing, chanting, singing, and left with an unforgettable experience.
Despite an uncomfortably warm start, the eventual thousands in attendance – from the big-bucks seats to the upper lawn – appeared more than happy to be riding out their hump day with the Monolith Tour package.