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The war is won.

The first time I listened to 30 Seconds to Mars, I was a fifteen-year-old high school junior who was just beginning to discover music that existed outside the sphere of the FM radio frequency. At a time where everyone else was bopping their heads to "Sexyback" and "Promiscuous" I was busy downloading albums off Limewire (RIP) from artists most friends haven't even heard of. It was the beginning of my new relationship with music, I suppose, the time where I discovered that there is more to songs than just their words or rhythm alone, more than just the sum of all its parts: there is always an experience waiting to happen in those four or five minutes of complete abandon. I was just about to truly find that out for myself in 2006.

A friend lent me a burned CD of 30 Seconds to Mars' second album, A Beautiful Lie. True, the first few seconds brought on a sense of hesitation - would I like this? Is this worth my time? I was to find out soon enough. The title track "A Beautiful Lie" did it for me. The opening notes of the song seemed like the calm before the storm. The moment the bass and drums struck, it was just an explosion. The anger, the confusion, and the pain - the way they burst these all out through song was beyond me. "It's a beautiful lie, such a perfect denial, such a beautiful lie to believe in..." I needed that song during that time in my life, and it found me. That moment, I knew I wanted to see that song live. I had to.

Last night has got to be one of the most epic nights of my life. I was just about ready to give up on tickets when a very good friend of mine won two Gold tickets through a contest. The entire week I was in this state of shock and disbelief: is this finally happening? Am I really going to watch them? It has been raining for the last couple of days and I must admit a part of me was giving in to hesitation, much like I did almost five years ago. But this was 30 Seconds to Mars, and if there is anything to be said about this band, it's that they are a spectacle. And what a spectacle last night was. The rain was pouring heavily, and we were soaked for almost the entire duration of the concert. Yet pumping my fists in the air, jumping like crazy, singing their songs with them, just being there, in the crowd, looking on - I really could not think of anything less hackneyed but more true than this - I felt most alive. (There was nothing like actually being part of the "No no no no! I will never forget!" part of Closer to the Edge. And all there other anthems, really.) This was what music meant to me - it was an experience. It was a sensation. It was being there and feeling like you could be anywhere outside the time-space continuum, and still be one with the strangers, the crowd, the band. It was surreal.

Their playlist was a good mix of songs from their previous album and the current, This Is War, which is more communal than personal, and consequently is more dramatic to see live. What brought goosebumps for me, aside from them opening remarkably to "A Beautiful Lie" was the acoustic part in the middle of the set, with just Jared and his guitar on the spotlight. He sang "The Kill" with all of us - only with the chords and the slight quiver in our voices as accompaniment. "I tried to be someone else, but nothing seemed to change I know now this is who I really am inside," - this was infinitely more exciting than just belting it out on Rockband. I also got a bit emotional with "Alibi" because it hit close to home, much like their song "A Modern Myth" from the second album. (I just wish they sang that too.) But closing the show with "Closer to the Edge" was the perfect ending, complete with elaborate smoke, lights, and confetti. When we begged them to get back on stage, "Kings and Queens" felt like for about eight beautiful minutes, we all indeed were, in fact, regal.

"Rocket into highness."

More than just seeing Jared Leto up close and finally being able to be in a moshpit, I went to the concert not as the biggest 30 Seconds to Mars fangirl there was, but as a fan who through their music has gotten this overwhelming sense of collectiveness, like I was a part of something bigger - their songs were about action, about moving forward after the misery, about going out there and doing something, about liberation. Taking part in the collective effervescence of the moment affirmed my sanguinity, I suppose - nineteen years old, I am here, I am happy. "I will live my life," we all sang.

At least, even for a while, all drenched and covered in rain, mud, and confetti, I truly felt brave again. Young. Free. I think I owe my fifteen-year-old self that feeling, too. And it was great.