Live Review: Linkin Park - Madison Square Garden, New York
Sat, 05 Feb 2011 13:43:36
Rock in the 21st century was defined by Linkin Park tonight inside of the world's most famous arena -- Madison Square Garden for those who don't know any better. The band's 'A Thousand Suns' tour blazed for thousands of ecstatic fans.
The digital age has been embraced by LP's openers on this tour. Does It Offend You, Yeah?, with their kitschy question mark moniker, make synthy, "electrock" music, and yes, I meant to spell it that way. Their style certainly fits what Linkin Park are doing right now, at this phase of their career, so they were a worthwhile opener that scored a plum gig, for sure.
Pendulum, who are walk-in closet sized metalheads, as their half-length cover of Metallica's "Master of Puppets" demonstrated, are drum 'n' bass heads that deftly dose their electronic music with rock. Pendulum's set was a synthy serving of rhythmic rocktronica. Seriously, you don't need drugs when you see Pendulum perform live because their deafening set elevates you to a different and somewhat altered state of mind. They came to conquer with propulsive, percussive, European club style fierceness. They were able to win a largely rock crowd over because Pendulum know how to rock.
The first I ever saw Linkin Park, they opened for P.O.D. and were one step closer to the edge, single wise. They were just taking off. Millions of album sales and concert tickets later, the band is supporting its artiest record to date. I am not going toss off the set list or talk about Mike Shinoda's crowd banter or bemoan the fact that Chester Bennington wore his sunglasses at night (and inside.) Other than mentioning that the stage had a V-shape to it so every member was showcased, I am going to make the declaration that Linkin Park have grown up and their music is no longer reserved for frat house shenanigans. Their digitally minded music and their live agility is seasoned like a slow cooked meal that stews in its own juices and renews its own flavor. Sure, the dudes in the pit still jump around and are raging moshaholics, but their heroes are plugged in and clued in at the same time. Linkin Park's career trajectory is following that of the Beastie Boys - they've lost some of the silly, youthful fun and baby fat of their formaative years and they’ve become both cultural temperature takers and cultural reflectors. The edge has not been blunted in that process, which is difficult not to do.
The show began in silence to sound, darkness to light. Then it became a full-on, 25-song dance party and I felt the earth move under my feet and not because there was a mid-Winter earthquake. It was Linkin Park and their fans shifting tectonic plates thanks to the band's ability to be metallic, melodic and digital all at once.
Linkin Park could be digital rock's answer to Radiohead. They have crafted unforgettable pop songs and then went in a completely different direction without losing a fan along the way. That's another near-impossible feat.
Linking Park's stop at the world's most famous arena was full of hits and heart. They closed with "One Step Closer," which was my first taste of them. To borrow a phrase from my favorite song on A Thousand Suns, "the hardest part of ending is starting again."
Were you there?