By Oliver Butler (@notoliverbutler)
On Thursday, I got offered a free ticket to see every angsty teenager’s favourite band, Linkin Park. As part of this free offer, I agreed that this review would be in a certain format, so here goes…
Oh also I missed an entire hour of their set because have you ever tried checking in early for a Eurowings flight? Yeah, I thought not buddy. But as you’ll see, an hour was more than enough. Is that good? Is that bad? Read and find out, viewer.
What does a Linkin Park gig taste like?
This is the hardest one to describe, but if I told you what it sounded like first you wouldn’t stick around for the rest of this. A Linkin Park gig doesn’t really taste of anything, unless you count the beer-y, pizza-y burps I was having throughout count, but I don’t know what Linkin Park themselves taste like. Sweat and success, seeing as they’ve sold over 10,000,000 copies of fucking Hybrid Theory alone, never mind the rest, and the fact it was well over 30 degrees inside the Barclaycard Arena. So to answer your question I don’t know.
What does a Linkin Park gig smell like?
Like someone left CeX down the back of a radiator and took a shite on it. Jesus, it was smelly.
What does a Linkin Park gig feel like?
As if I’d time travelled back to the early 2000s, but instead of watching Kerrang! channel and getting excited In the End or Faint came on, I was a 24 year old man, getting excited because In the End or Faint came on, but it was live, for free, on a Thursday. Also incredibly sweaty. Very sweaty. You know what sweat is? Sticky bollocks, and other things. Sad!
What does a Linkin Park gig look like?
I’m going to ignore the fact I was surrounded by rowdy Brummies all night because that wouldn’t be fair to the visual masterpiece that Linkin Park and their stage crew threw together. The bright, moving lights were expertly choreographed and were as much a part of the show as Chester Bennington’s Big Bald Head. So it looked very good, the gig would get at least a 5/10 if it was just lights and no sound, with a bunch of lads in their forties jumping around all night. That good.
What does a Linkin Park gig sound like?
Ahaha! Here we are! The important part. Really I’d like to say that this gig was just yer auld da still trying to make it work, but the thing is, they made it work in a big way. Of course, I only caught the second half of the set, but if the first half was the same as the second, then it was a solid first half.
Stood at the back, the sound felt like it fell a tiny bit flat on the low end, but that may be a distance issue, but when you get to hear Breaking the Habit, Crawling, Faint, Numb, What I’ve Done, In the End and Papercut in quick succession, what the hell have you got to complain about? Their new album One More Light was universally derided, but does that matter? They’re cemented as rock royalty, and the reaction to their meaty morsels of phonic pornography more than proves that. A lot of the people at that gig were likely the old guard, the Hybrid Theory/Meteora crew, rolling out to show their appreciation for a band that were, for at least one point, a huge part of their life, much like they were in mine.
They did sound pitch perfect, to the point a more cynical reviewer would accuse Chester Bennington and his big bald head of using a backing track, but no, for a man who’s been doing this some twenty years, he’s still got the same vocal vigour and virility that made Linkin Park in the early 2000s, which was especially showcased, in my view, for the vocals during Faint. As if it were 2003 all over again. But where some rock and nu-metal bands their age struggle to emulate their past glories, it’s as if Linkin Park are still trapped in 2005 and Chester Bennington’s screams are actually him screaming for us to release him and his band from their frozen-in-time hell. Have you ever thought that your favourite nu-metal band are stuck in a certain year and can’t escape? No, because you only think of yourself. He hasn’t aged a day and I’m really scared now. Nor has Mike Shinoda. Those guys are stuck in time and the only way they can escape is if they sell 10,000,000 more copies of Hybrid Theory.
In all seriousness though, whatever expectations I had of Linkin Park this evening were smashed, broken and sent back in time. Whilst the cynic in me expected little, the 13 year old in me craved everything, and I think he was pleasantly satisfied. They put on a show, they sounded great, and more importantly, from what I could pick up, they made their fans very, very happy, which at the end of the day, is all that matters. After 17 years, there’s still a lot of bark in this old nu-metal dog.