AFI, 30 Seconds to Mars, Linkin Park – Minnesota State Fair Grandstand – August 26, 2014

AFI is the first opener at the Minnesota State Fair Grandstand and despite only playing a set of less than ten songs, they make the best of it. AFI was incredibly popular from 2003-2007 throughout the whole emo scene, but have continued playing as the years have continued. In April, they released their latest album, “Burials” and have also contributed to soundtracks during the years. Tonight’s short set consist of tracks from their entire career, including “Miss Murder” all the way up to their latest single, “I Hope You Suffer”. The band is very interactive, including the crowd in the show and displaying an immense amount of energy. They provide an excellent introduction to the evening.

30 Seconds to Mars is up next. The band is very well known at this point, due to their front man, Jared Leto. There are both good and bad points to this show. The concert itself, is excellent. The band is fantastic when it comes to interaction with the crowd, especially Jared who goes as far to run into the stands with people, pulls fans onstage, and beyond. There is also a tremendous amount of overall fun involved, including use of flags, balloons, confetti, and more. However, there seems to be two versions of this band at this point. The one before the “This is War” album, and the one after. Those familiar with 30 Seconds to Mars throughout their entire career are aware of the extreme shift in music style when “This is War” was released. The entire set consists of songs from “This is War” and beyond, with one exception. “The Kill (Bury Me)” is played, but acoustically, so lovers of that ever so popular song, did not get to hear it in all its heavy glory. Nothing from their first album is touched (“Capricorn (Brand New Name)”, anyone?). So that is rather disheartening to fans of the early albums of the band. I think the show would have been perfect had they played music spanning their career rather than simply one area of it.

Likin Park explodes onto the stage following 30 Seconds to Mars. There is no other way to describe it. Their music is so loud, but at the same time, the sound is so perfect, that a person cannot help but have fun. The band is sheer energy, running from one side of the stage to the other, jumping, and more. Chester Bennington is unbelievable on vocals. Even if someone is not a fan of the band, there is no denying it. He is able to hold notes on stage for amounts of time not seemed possible, take a breath, and roll right into another long stretch of notes.

The pit is like an ocean of people during this show, waving from side to side at a constant pace. There is no stopping it and there is certainly no slowing down the band onstage. They rip through over twenty tracks, including numerous hits from their career such as “Breaking the Habit”, “Numb”, “In the End”, “One Step Closer”, and many more. Several songs are split into melodies to meld them together for the audience.

It’s hard to say if the audience came for all or only one of the bands that night, but it’s easy to say that the majority of them remain throughout all three sets, enjoying themselves tremendously. All three bands work together very well as a cohesive unit, making it a fantastic evening for all involved.