Smells like teen spirit

08.05.2008
Linkin Park pleases at rare, jampacked outdoor concert
Leonard Cohen would have sung Hallelujah to rejoice with the Bangkok crowd at Linkin Park's concert this past Sunday over the fact that it didn't rain, as was expected, indeed dreaded.

The new 43,000-square-metre outdoor venue located opposite Impact Arena Muang Thong Thani (spectacularly named "AkTive Square" to get with the generation of SMS-speak goons) was jampacked with all sorts of attendees ranging from devoted Linkin Park followers (scary), curious individuals (still scary) to parents in their late thirties (very scary) chaperoning their 12-year-olds.

Scepticism about this first major outdoor concert in years had abounded since the organisers made the first announcement. Some of the concerns included security, traffic control, sound system and most importantly, Mother Nature.
Hard to believe but everything mentioned went quite well considering how unorganised concerts on these shores can be (and usually are).

As stated and celebrated, it didn't even drizzle and the crowd wasn't as unruly as expected; they just moshed at will and had a good time, while security guards on hand kept a tight yet distant watch. If you arrived at the right time, the traffic wasn't so bad and the BMA provided stinky mobile toilets for the beer guzzling souses to relieve themselves.

In the past, it was given that the sound system would most likely suck, suffering, as always, from the cruel fates of ignorance and chaos. The massive production and preparation, however, salvaged Linkin Park's sound system from being another disappointment. Actually, it sounded quite good, considering it was an outdoor event. Especially, if you stood in the middle of the arena, hoping to locate the most optimal point for sonic pleasure which often goes AWOL these days. It wasn't anything that would blow your socks off and make you shed a few tears but at least it didn't take any of the joy out of the audio pleasure.

Rob Bourdon's drum set-up must have been under the meticulous care of expert drum technicians as it resonated perfectly with the bloodthirsty guitar willed by Brad Delson.

Being one of the biggest bands on earth at the moment, Linkin Park didn't fail to bring the "crazy people of Bangkok" a mightily good time as they switched from one hit to the next, relying visibly on the song list of the debut record, Hybrid Theory. Hits like Numb and Somewhere I Belong from the second and latest effort Meteora also were performed much to the crowd's satisfaction. They are clearly not a band that would shy away from repeating hits night after night for the sake of getting people to scream along.

Vocalist Chester Bennington, sporting a new suitable haircut, held nothing back as he belched out each word and even flashed his guitar playing skills. MC Mike Shinoda was more cool and composed as he brought rhymes together in a rap rock, nu metal scheme of things.

The stage was big enough for the band members to run around in chaos. DJ Joseph Hahn's and Bourdon's areas were lifted up, making them more visible, while boxes were placed on other parts of the stage for the rest of the band members to stand on, allowing them be more ocular to the crowd in the back. Smart boys, they are.

Linkin Park opened with Don't Stay and immediately followed with Lying From You. Most of the audience can croak along loudly with the selected songs as they've been rotating heavily on music channels for years and years now and the simple lyrics about teenage angst and life anxiety couldn't be more grabbing especially when shovelled directly in one's ears.

Four hits in a row, Papercut, Points of Authority, With You and Runaway, marched behind shortly after and successfully got the crowd going berserk in a so-called hard rock fashion _ nodding heads, waving frivolous hand signs, piggy-back riding skinny boyfriends and, of course, perspiring heavily in black T-shirts.

Breaking the Habit moved in the realm of a passing serenity with Shinoda on piano and Bennington flashing his bare vocals and then it was back to business with Numb and Faint.

Mega hit In the End ignited the biggest sing-along chorus ever, leaving Bennington encouraging the crowd to go even louder. Place For My Head closed the so-to-speak pre-encore session as they didn't leave that much time for the audience to be left with a hungry desire to see them back on-stage.
One Step Closer finished off the night. No, actually, the fireworks did. Possibly the crowd was left dumbfounded when the blasted "spectaculars" flew off the handles as they seemed like they wanted to scream their way into forcing the boys back on-stage again. But hey, it's not every day that you can duck behind a portable loo in fear of fireworks that might possibly end up burning off your scalp!

It was an entertaining affair even if you don't particularly care for Linkin Park and their brand of formulaic, predictable nu metal rock. It was like watching a Hollywood flick with well-timed lighting, well-rehearsed lines, a budget that would make you weep over its vast size, humongous amount of crew members and good-looking leading stars who know very well what makes people tick.

And unlike European arthouse movies, you know it's not intelligent enough to impress your music purist friends but you kind of have fun and you like it and you would do it all over again. Or even secretly buy a DVD.

Bangkok Post - June 23, 2004


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