Linkin Park shows staying power with series of successes

08.05.2008
Talk about bang for your headbanging buck.
Concertgoers got it Wednesday night at the Cleveland State University Convocation Center, where headliner Linkin Park and three opening acts hammered out four hours of state-of-the-art heavy metal and high-decibel hard rock.
Linkin Park's latest studio album, "Meteora," has sold 3.5 million copies, according to Nielsen SoundScan. It was the third-best-selling album of 2003, trailing only releases by 50 Cent in first and Norah Jones in second.
When it came to delivering an energetic performance, however, Linkin Park took a back seat to nobody. On a scale of 1 to 10, the Southern California sextet started at 11 by way of the revved-up opener "With You" and intensified from there.

True to the title of the band's smash 2000 debut, "Hybrid Theory," Linkin Park's sound was a formidable cross between heavy metal and hip-hop, blended with a touch of electronica and more panache than most rock-rap outfits can muster.

Mike Shinoda and Chester Bennington took turns handling lead vocals. Shinoda rapped; Bennington crooned, caterwauled and, during "One Step Closer," treated us to his impersonation of Satan passing a kidney stone: "BWWWAAAHHH!"
The tag-team frontmen were backed with power and poise by guitarist Brad Delson, turntablist Joseph Hahn, bassist Darren "Phoenix" Farrell and drummer Rob Bourdon.

The sold-out show drew 10,000 fans. They sang along loud enough to make the arena quake.

Signs posted around the venue warned: MOSHING MAY OCCUR. Suffice it to say this was akin to predicting a chance of snowfall for Cleveland in the next few months. As Linkin Park tore through "Papercut," "Points of Authority," "Faint," "Crawling," "In the End" and other cathartic crowd-pleasers, the mosh pit inevitably roiled with slam-dancers and crowd-surfers.
Band members got a workout, too, running up and down ramps and hopping on and off crates. Arty videos depicting everything from urban warfare to suburban sprawl complemented the music.

Up first was Story of the Year - or was it the Flying Wallendas? In addition to acrobatic moves, a soft spot for punk and a well-received rendition of Metallica's "Enter Sandman" distinguished the quintet.

Hoobastank went on next, following suit with a tongue-in-cheek stab at Cyndi Lauper's 1984 hit "Girls Just Want to Have Fun," a tune older than most of the audience. The quartet settled into post-grunge mode for the rest of its set.
P.O.D. completed the crowd-stoking duties with an impressive mix of rock, rap and reggae. Vocalist Sonny Sandoval, guitarist Jason Truby, bassist Mark "Traa" Daniels (a 1986 Warrensville Heights High School graduate) and drummer Noah "Wuv" Bernardo struck an uplifting chord with "Youth of the Nation," "Alive" and selections from their new CD, "Payable on Death."

Cleveland Plain Dealer - January 23, 2004


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