Music Reviews — 07 February 2011
A LocalBozo.com Concert Review: Linkin Park

Linkin Park
Madison Square Garden, New York, NY
February 4, 2011

Concert: Linkin Park

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Fans continued to pile into the World’s Most Famous Arena at 8:50 on Friday evening, as the lights went down and the ovation from the uproarious crowd emerged.  A massive crew of lighting and sound techs worked relentlessly over the prior 40 minutes to prepare the intricate stage setup in anticipation of the six pieced Linkin Park’s arrival at Madison Square Garden.  The huge triangular endstage, equipped with 3 giant screens and a multi-faceted light show, served as a backdrop to perfectly compliment the band’s stage presence and amp up an already excited capacity crowd.  Add to the fact that the FUSE network was on hand filming the show to air on February 18th, and the stage was literally set for a tremendous presentation of live music.

The crowd patiently waited with baited breath as the band members swaggered to the stage, enjoying the accolades only briefly before launching into openers “The Requiem” and “Faint” from 2002’s Meteora.  The audience’s feel good mood resonated immediately with the artists on stage, as smiles from the seats instantly transferred to the band on stage, who paraded around trotting with unbridled enthusiasm.  “You guys are going so hard down there that I’m freaking out,” exclaimed melodic vocalist Chester Bennington. “I need to calm the fuck down,” which of course revved the crowd even further in frenzy.  Bennington and rap-vocalist Mike Shinoda, who co-pilot the band, exchanged their patented give-and-take throughout a pulverizing 90 minute set, only letting up briefly during slowed down songs, which served more as an interlude to the band’s familiar, scream inducing chart toppers.  In fact, on this night, the band could have left the backup vocals on the tour bus as the crowd was more than willing to oblige in unison.

In a genre of rap rock or nu metal that most have left for dead, Linkin Park continues to revive and revitalize it, subtly evolving but staying true to themselves and their signature sound.  That being said, when Shinoda humbly delivered the line “I hope you guys like it” before delving into one of the more experimental tracks from their latest release “A Thousand Suns” called “When They Come for Me,” the crowd became notably apathetic, even with Bennington banging out drum beats in front of the stage.   The true distinction could be heard upon the song’s closing as the band ripped into “Papercut,” from 2000’s launching pad “The Hybrid Theory” and the crowd subsequently exploded.  Not that the crowd failed to appreciate the new music- they seemed appropriately open-minded, but were also patiently waiting for the next anthemic single to bring them to their feet.

Even if you have a fleeting level of interest in this band, all it takes is one live performance to show you that they deliver the goods- the talented Shinoda, rapping and even singing melodically, in between guitar riffs and piano strokes; the ranging vocals of Bennington from shriek to scream to harmonic verse; the eye-catching, elevated drum kit being pounded by Rob Bourdon, Mr. Hahn emphatically mixing on the turntables; even the potentially lesser known-yet equally talented “Phoenix” slapping a mean bass line, and Brad Delson on lead guitar rocking his signature studio headphones onstage- the band had the fix that their rabid New York fans were fiending.  In fact, the band actually had men of all ages- grown men especially- with arms wrapped around each other, looking up to the sky, and grabbing their hearts, singing every word of “Shadow of the Day.”

Each one of Bennington’s screams was met with the crowd’s dueling howls, and during “In the End,” the crowd became unglued.  Moshpits were formed as Shinoda entered the general admission section as fans sang every word like they were reciting a prayer.  And the closer of “Crawling,” into their first smash hit “One Step Closer” proved that no matter how many albums the band has sold, they still have the have the same affinity and appreciation for the long time fans that helped them get there. To play the Mecca of Madison Square Garden.

Staring out at the crowd I stared in disbelief, attempting to take stock of what I was watching- a jam-packed crowd singing every word in harmony, choosing not to sit, even for a moment- thinking that aside from Green Day, perhaps this is the biggest modern rock act of our time.  Will this be the U2 of our generation?  Maybe and maybe not- down the line- who knows?  But in a quick decade, their success and their talent are similarly undeniable.

Linkin Park- Live at Madison Square Garden, New York, NY
February 4, 2011
Setlist (Courtesy of Setlist.fm)

1. The Requiem
2. Faint
3. Lying From You
4. Given Up
5. What I’ve Done
6. No More Sorrow
7. From the Inside
8. Jornada del Muerto
9. Waiting For the End
10. Blackout
11. Numb
12. The Radiance
13. Breaking the Habit
14. Iridescent
15. Fallout
16. The Catalyst
17. Shadow of the Day
18. In the End
19. Bleed it Out/A Place For My Head
20. Empty Spaces
21. When They Come For Me
22. Papercut
23. New Divide
24. Crawling
25. One Step Closer

-  Jane Van Arsdale

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