Linkin Park (****), a band who seem to have caused some controversy this year with their latest album release One More Light, returned to the UK this month with a smaller run of shows than what we may be used to, choosing to play only three dates on our shores (one of which was unfortunately cancelled due to the recent terror attacks in Manchester). Now with over seventeen years and seven albums to their name, it’s safe to say that Linkin Park have been through some musical changes, and their latest album has divided fans and critics alike, with them taking a turn down a different sounding route altogether, leading us to question: are they the same band we’ve known and loved for all these years? Have they gone down a more mainstream route? Can they still perform the older heavier tracks live? Well we took a trip to London’s O2 Arena for the first of their UK shows to find out.
Opening with Talking to Myself, a track off their new album, we begin to wonder whether we’ll be seeing the same sort of Linkin Park show we’re probably all used to; that high energy, loud, sweaty rockiness that LP bring to the stage, but with a more pop/R&B style on this record, you have to question whether this is the right set opener, however the song quickly grows on you with a catchy beat that you can bounce to and before you know it, it feels like just how it used to.
Not having a support act on this tour enabled Linkin Park to perform a much longer, much needed, set considering how much material they now have to choose from, and with a mammoth 26 song set list crammed in to a 2 hour plus performance, fans were treated to tracks from across all albums and all eras of the band; One Step Closer is always a set highlight and having it performed so early on was a bit of a shock, but one that paid off. Yet the biggest shock of the night came from London rapper Stormzy being brought out to perform on his collaboration Good Goodbye; a surprise yes, but one that went down a storm.*sniggers*
From the Inside, and Breaking the Habit were particular highlights of the night, with Chester’s vocals highly on point, however a ballad break in the set caused a slight lull in the pace, especially with Crawling being played on a Piano; as beautiful as it may have sounded, it wasn’t the track we all know and love, but they showcased their diversity and just how far along they’ve come in their musical career.
Heading into the final songs of the night, In the End and Faint brought the set to a powerful close where I’m sure several thousand voices were hurting due to the crowd participation of these fan favourites. Sharp Edges and Numb brought the band back out for the start of the encore, and with Heavy, Papercut and Bleed it Out bringing the night to its end, we learnt a few things about tonight:
- Love or hate the new album, Linkin Park are a talented bunch of guys who have changed with every album but they are still the same band we know and love.
- Their extensive and diverse catalogue of music enables them to put on one hell of a show; one that will never get old.
- Live music is one of the most powerful things on the planet and we love it when everyone comes together in unity for something they care so passionately about.
Thank you Linkin Park, we look forward to seeing what path you take next!