It’s been a long two-year wait, but the multi-platinum selling band, Thirty Seconds to Mars are set to return to Britain as part of a mammoth European tour scheduled for 2018.

The band is set to perform in 29 venues, five of which will see the band stop over in the UK in March. The Los Angeles-based rock band will commence their excursion on 23 March 2018 with a concert at the Motorpoint Arena in Cardiff before wrapping up their UK dates on 29 March with a show in Birmingham. The announcement comes on the heels of the release of their latest single “Walk on Water” as well as the opening of front-man Jared Leto’s blockbuster film Blade Runner 2049.

Tickets go on sale today, Friday, 13 October at 9am, with tickets to the 02 arena here. VIP packages will also be available for purchase. The upcoming UK dates are as follows:

Friday, 23 March 2018 – CARDIFF MOTORPOINT ARENA
Saturday, 24 March 2018 – MANCHESTER ARENA
Sunday, 25 March 2018 – GLASGOW SSE HYDRO
Tuesday, 27 March 2018 – LONDON O2 ARENA* tickets available here
Thursday, 29 March 2018 – BIRMINGHAM ARENA

To mark the occasion, we’ve found it only fitting to some time to look back at the history, accomplishments, and even some of the controversy that’s accompanied Thirty Seconds to Mars’ rapid rise to success. Warning: It may take a bit more than half a minute to fully digest.

1. The Letos Lead the Way

Thirty Seconds to Mars began life in 1998 when frontman Jared Leto, best known for his lead role on the television comedy/drama 'My So-Called Life' and a series of supporting roles that included the films American Psycho, Fight Club and Requiem for a Dream, developed a passion for music and opted to form a band. Enlisting the help of his drummer brother Shannon, Leto wrote and recorded the band’s eponymous debut, eventually released in 2002 to modest success. Leto has stated that the name 30 Seconds to Mars was inspired by a rare manuscript titled Argus Apocraphex, explaining it was "a reference, a rough translation” from the book. “I think the idea is interesting,” he surmised. “It's a metaphor for the future." The brothers would later expand their ranks, adding guitarist Solon Bixler and bassist Matt Wachter, both of whom became an integral part of the band’s early incarnation.

2. Leto’s Legacy

Despite boasting their numerous critical kudos and a wholly dedicated fan base (more on that later), it could be argued that the essence of the band’s notoriety stems from Jared Leto’s high profile as an actor. While it isn’t uncommon for actors to try their hand at music and vice versa, Leto is one of the few to commit himself to making a career that combines both. His supporting roles in the aforementioned films brought him exceptional notices, eventually allowing him to branch off into the blockbuster realms. He took on the unorthodox role of DC Comics super villain the Joker, while his most recent outing finds him sharing screen time with Harrison Ford and Ryan Gosling in the sequel to the 1982 cult classic Blade Runner, revisited as Blade Runner 2049. Following the death of Hugh Hefner earlier this month, it was announced Leto will also slip into the playboy progenitor’s signature robe in a future biopic.

3. 30 Seconds to Mars And Right On Time

Thirty Seconds to Mars signed with Immortal Records/Virgin early on. They subsequently chose veteran producer Bob Ezrin to oversee their debut album after insisting that he was the only person capable of grasping the full scope of all they hoped to accomplish. The release of the that first self-titled studio album brought success with a niche audience that was instantly enticed by their blend of an alternative attitude and a progressive metal mindset. Leto considered the record a concept album, citing Pink Floyd's Dark Side Of The Moon and David Bowie's Ziggy Stardust as primary influences. The album’s focus on what Leto termed “human struggle and self-determination” spoke to their newfound fans and followers, leading it to peak at number 31 on the US Mainstream Rock chart.

4. A Beautiful Life...Indeed

Though their debut album earned mostly positive reviews, it garnered Thirty Seconds to Mars only a modicum of success. The band returned to the studio in 2004 to begin work on a follow-up, later dubbed A Beautiful Lie. The recording process proved challenging; Leto’s filming commitments forced them to record on no less than four different continents.

Released on 30 August 2005, the album brought the band universal acclaim. It achieved platinum and gold status sales-wise, bringing the band newfound stardom in the process. “It was time to take a more personal and less cerebral approach,” Leto later explained.

5. Enter the Echelon

While it’s become somewhat of a trend for celebrities to bestow their fan base with a #insertquirkynickname, the band’s fans personified their cult-like devotion to the group by referring to themselves as “The Echelon” after the song of the same name. Alternately referring to themselves as the Mars Army, the group’s followers have taken to social media to extol the positive impact the band’s music has had on their lives. There’s a higher purpose as well. Members of The Echelon often refer to themselves as a family of brothers, sisters and dreamers who connect to one another through the lyrics of the band’s songs.

6. Giving Back and On Track

In an industry known for fabricating its charitable contributions, Jared Leto has taken it upon himself to use his superstar status to lend credibility to charities that could use the boost. During his Academy Award acceptance speech, Leto called attention to such worldwide issues such as scourge of AIDS and the persecution of the LGBT community. In 2014, Leto fronted the documentary Haiti: the Journey is the Destination to benefit those affected by the 2010 earthquake. Other causes have included Habitat for Humanity, an environmental initiative called the Natural Resources Defense Council, the Red Cross and Music for Relief.

7. Breaking a Record

Gaining a Guinness world record can be an arduous task to say the least. Then there are some like Jack White, who chose to publicly roast the Guinness record keepers when they rejected his attempt to secure a place in the record book for the shortest concert that was ever executed. For their part, Thirty Seconds to Mars took a different tack, earning themselves the distinction of having completed the longest concert tour ever attempted when they performed 309 consecutive shows in 2013. Now that’s real effort!

8. The Looming Lawsuit

The reality that comes with achieving success in the music industry can often be cruel. Disputes between bands and their record labels have become increasingly commonplace and exceedingly expensive to all involved. Thirty Seconds to Mars found themselves embroiled in a legal battle against Virgin parent company EMI after the group attempted to switch to a new label. EMI filed suit for $30 million, claiming that the band failed to fulfill their obligation to produce three of the five records specified in their 1999 contract. The two sides would later resolve their differences and Thirty Seconds to Mars, leading the band to permanently part ways with EMI.

9. After That War, This is War

After a draining legal battle with EMI, the band returned to the studio for their third major album, This is War. Opening their recording sessions up to fans at the Avalon club in Los Angeles, they offered those who attended unprecedented access into their recording process.

The album took the band in a new direction, placing greater emphasis on electronics, synths and somber lyrics. It served them well. The album was certified platinum and gold worldwide with combined sales estimated at nearly four million units.

10. Wachter Resigns and So Long Solon

After helping them secure their prominent profile, guitarist Solon Bixler and bassist Matt Wachter called it quits. Both Bixler and Wachter cited problems with touring. Bixler would go on to play with Earlimart and Sea Wolf, while Wachter expressed his desire to spend more time with his family. He wrapped up his final performances with the band in 2007, with Jared Leto dedicating the last song on the show “R-Evolve” to their departing colleague.

11. Tomo Takes Over and Aiello Arrives

Tomo Miličević succesfully auditioned to become the band’s new guitarist in 2003 and has been with them ever since. He expanded the band’s instrumental arsenal to include bass, keys and backing vocals. Stevie Aiello, formerly of the band Monty Are I, took Wachter’s place as member of the touring band in 2013.

12. Linking Up With Linkin Park

It’s really no surprise that two of modern rock’s most innovative outfits Thirty Seconds to Mars and Linkin Park, have found themselves sharing the stage at several major music festivals. Before they achieved star status, Thirty Seconds to Mars opened several shows for the ever popular alternative metal musicians. Thirty Seconds to Mars’ popularity escalated enough over the years to earn them a spot as co-headliners with Linkin Park in their 2014 Carnivore tour.

13. Carrying On With Love, Lust, Faith and Dreams

With their fourth studio album, Love, Lust, Faith and Dreams, Thirty Seconds to Mars chose to incorporate a more cohesive structure, one which marked a departure from their previous studio sound. The album was divided into four segments, each corresponding with the record’s title themes. The concept marked another achievement for the band, collecting several “best of” awards from numerous publications and pundits.

14. Up, Up And Away

In keeping with the theme of the song, Thirty Seconds to Mars launched the first copy of the album’s first single, "Up in the Air," into space courtesy of NASA and a Falcon 9 rocket. LIttle more than two weeks after the launch, omMarch 18, 2013, the single had its premier at the International Space Station. A Q&A session with the band and flight commander Tony Marshburn added to the festivities which also included the mayor of Houston proclaiming the occasion Thirty Seconds to Mars Day." The song subsequently rocketed up the charts.

15. Caught In the Eye of the Hurricane

In 2010, the band found itself in the metaphorical eye of the storm when their video 'Hurricane' was banned from MTV due to what the network claimed were prevalent suggestions of violence and pornography. Leto wrote a scathing response on his blog, but would later retract his comments, claiming that footage that was overlooked was the real reason for the ban.

16. Ultimate Prodigious Performers

Leto has proved that he’s not only a dynamic performer onscreen, but also a superb showman in person. Indeed, the band are a singularly dynamic and exhilarating live act, as Leto’s zip line entrance during the group’s extraordinary set at Rock In Rio proved. Then again when you work in film, you should be prepared to perform your own stunts in real life. Or in a rock band. Or anywhere else where exhilarating entertainment is called for.

Little wonder then that Thirty Seconds To Mars were always on the fast track to fame.