Linkin Park at the Great Western Forum in Inglewood, CA

08.05.2008
Whether you're talking about a soul, pop, hip-hop, or rock hit, invariably, every great song must have one essential, life-giving element: a super-sized chorus. On Monday night (3/15), Linkin Park served up plenty.

The band's ingredients included two vocalists--one jabbing through the rhythm section's monster sound, the other warping melodies or wailing away. Both were stacked on a plate of turntable wick-wacks and a heap of effects. Yum.

Postponed five weeks from its original date, Monday's show at The Forum had Linkin Park mesmerizing a frantic, downright eager Los Angeles audience. For 90 minutes, the band blended one mind-numbing explosion of emotion, distortion, and melody into the next. On this, the final night of its Meteora tour, the six-piece rocked with pure, balls-to-the-wall elation.

Sourcing a chunk of the night's material off their powerful second album, Linkin Park proved why they are among the rock and roll elite--regardless of whether or not the rap/rock game ended when Wes Borland bolted from Limp Bizkit.

The reason Linkin Park will be around till 2019's inevitable rap/rock revival and beyond? It's the melodies, stupid. With singer Chester Bennington bursting memorable hooks over rapper Mike Shinoda's world-weary flow, the band has built an impressive catalog of music, with nearly every song crystallized by a smart refrain even your mom can sing along to.

On disc, the band's two-singer set-up combines with Joe Hahn's ethereal, trippy turntabilism and the heavyweight wallop of drummer Rob Burden, bassist Dave Farrell, and axeman Brad Delson to maximize the gut-busting emotion of every song. These boys will make you cry. Live, they are no different--perhaps more powerful, more cohesive, tighter.

On Monday night, Bennington wailed, cried, and screamed his throat out while Shinoda's flow bounced off the arena's walls. These places are the worst venues for concerts--especially for bands with rappers and lots of heavy guitars. Big arenas strip every song of its hooks, each sound homogenized by a cavernous echo. But with Linkin Park, thanks to each song's singular chorus, the band overcomes any cave's crap sound system.

Relying on some well-placed spotlights--a mammoth lighting structure was lowered from the ceiling midway through the set--plumes of smoky effects and a screen projecting psychedelic imagery, the band plowed through its strongest tracks, including "Somewhere I Belong," "Numb," and "From the Inside."

"Lying From You" and "Faint," both off "Meteora," were simply spectacular. With DJ Hahn and skins-basher Bourden sitting above the front four, Linkin Park was a whirlwind of flailing bodies. As each riff came barreling through the hall, fans responded in kind, singing along, slamming into each other, and taking full advantage of the release this music offered.

Linkin Park is more than just a sack of distortion pedals. The band gave proof of its far-reaching talent with dramatic epics like their first hit, "Crawling," and the eerie piano trills of "In the End." On the former, it was Bennington's courageous vocals that carried the crowd, while Shinoda's relentless, hook-packed verses took the latter song to a debilitating climax.

"One Step Closer" was the show's finale. As lights and raucous noise pounded the arena, P.O.D.'s Sonny Sandoval and Story of the Year's Dan Marsala (two of the bands that opened the show--Hoobastank's singer was absent) joined the headliners for the song's final chorus.

On a night that included an audience serenading Hahn and Bennington with "Happy Birthday," the members of Linkin Park seemed genuinely pleased with themselves and the success of their Meteora tour. L.A. fans waited a long five weeks for this show, and Linkin Park rewarded their patience by leaving pools of sweat and raw emotion on the stage. Wow.

Live Daily - February 4, 2004


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