Linkin Park at The Palace of Auburn Hills (suburb of Detroit)
The day has finally arrived! After my son, Gino (@GinotheGhost) was cast as the lead in Linkin Park’s, Lost in the Echo video, I was determined that he and I would go see them if their tour brought them to our area. Gino’s a rapper and actor, and like any other young artist, he’s looking for that big break. We’re hoping the LITE video might open some doors for him (we had fleeting hope we might actually meet the band, but it was a long shot and we didn’t get to). The serendipitous element to his role in LITE is the fact that the first CD he really listened to was Hybrid Theory, which came out when he was 8! The first CD he really wore out was Meteora (by then he was at the ripe old age of 11). So the band ahs always been a part of his life, as well as my own.
I’ve been to quite a few concerts, from Peter Frampton, Steve Miller, The Who, Neil Young, Soundgarden, Eminem and Jay-Z with a ton of eclectic stuff in-between. The one thing I always try do is temper my expectations. By that I mean expect the band I’m going to see to sound anywhere near as sweet as they do on the CD. With that, we arrived at the Palace of Auburn Hills (home of the Detroit Pistons) early to catch Mutemath and Incubus. Both bands were really good, and Incubus had a huge fan base there. I never heard of Mutemath but they had a lot of energy and were quite good. Brandon Boyd is a terrific front man with a great deal of stage presence. They played for about an hour and fifteen minutes and Gino and I were really getting amped to hear LP.
As the synthesizers grew to a crescendo, the place started to shake. I won’t even try to go through the set list because it’s really kind of a blur. Let me just cut to the chase though and say that, in all seriousness, this was the very best concert I have ever seen on a number of levels. The sound was incredible! The background screen provided a wide palette to open up the show with the kind of geometrical imagery that the band seems to cling to. The scenes jump-cut from bold dot patterns to the members being reduced to polygons from some weird 3D program. The stage lit softly and opened with Mr. Hahn playing some instrumental and when the lights flashed the rest of the group bolted onstage. I have to admit it didn’t seem real. The word surreal gets thrown around far too much in our lexicon, but it would apply to this sitch. I looked over at Gino and shouted, “Can you believe this?” He just shook his head and laughed.
They played a couple songs from Meteora (sorry, blur!) and the already-loud crowd grew somehow even louder. The show is building upon itself, each song gaining momentum and the band moves freely around the stage, which is centered around a sort of massive, two-leveled letter X rimmed by alternating blue and red light. You can see them all settling in, getting comfortable with the crowd, which they treat like family. Some classics get played, namely Numb, Lying From You, Faint and other, and when the familiar strains of Somewhere I Belong reverberate through the speakers, the place explodes. Mike and Chester play off each other so well, and it’s plain to see that all of these guys truly love one another. But the one thing I cannot get over, will never figure out, is how in the HELL Chester can scream like that for such extended periods and have any kind of voice left! Then to sing such elegant background vocals with a smooth, even tonality. It doesn’t seem human. Seriously, the man’s voice is preternaturally strong.
They played some songs off Living Things (side note: I realize tours are expensive but wow, you really get hit over the head with all the Honda advertising) and Burning It Down was nothing short of spectacular. The song that really gets the hair on my neck standing straight up is In The End. When the lead in piano notes play everyone just goes bat-shit crazy. My son and his good friend, Tendo (@ten_do) were going crazy from start to finish. It sounded absolutely perfect! And again, those honey vocals of CB’s in the background over Mike’s rapping make the song, at least to me. If I had to name a signature sound for LP it may be In The End. They finished the show with an extended version of One Step Closer that was off the chain and brought the roof down.I never have seen a crowd jump and dance non-stop like this one did. But that sound, such force!
My bottle of water never stopped vibrating. My ears were buzzing as the stage went dark, the crowd sounding like a million hornets.
After a protracted five minutes, the stage lit back up and the band played a ballad I frankly can’t recall. Everyone was waiting to hear Lost in the Echo, knowing it’s the second single off the new CD. Of course we had a special connection to that song and as such, were very eager to not only hear it but see if they might debut the visual video figuring that since it was shot in the Motor City that would be a natural fit. Well that didn’t happen, but dayum it was just spot on killer! So excited to see and hear them perform it I can’t even tell you. Flashpots were going off, remnants from the last couple songs from the show and you could feel the heat. These guys just drip cool, I swear.
In the end (see what I did there?) I was left feeling like I had been taken out of my everyday world for nearly two hours of sheer exhilaration, both aurally and visually. I’ll always feel a special connection to this band. I’m probably a lot older than their demographic (50 baby), but maybe because I’m a writer and an artist, and because my oldest child grew up with their music, I feel that bond. I can’t wait to see the video for Lost in the Echo, as it will hopefully cap off an incredible summer. Who knows, maybe one day we’ll even get to meet them.
Thanks for allowing me to prattle on.
God bless Linkin Park and their fans, some of the most loyal I’ve ever seen.
And God bless Adie. What a special girl she is.
Joe Borri (@JoeBorri)
Adie: Thanks Joe for the review and the great poster design! Next up is An Van Oppen’s Summit Report, so stay tuned!