Manchester M.E.N. Arena
Sunday January 27, 2008
With the release of their third full studio album, 'Minutes To Midnight', American quintet Linkin Park have looked to shake off the nu-metal tag which dragged down the likes of Limp Bizkit and Papa Roach. Featuring less rapping from Mike Shinoda, it signalled their intention to break previous boundaries and be established as a respected rock group.
Shrouding the stage in curtains ups anticipation, so when they finally drop to reveal the band with a minimal setup, it's somewhat of a surprise. Regardless of this, 'Given Up' is a guitar-heavy and energetic way to get the crowd going and what follows is a good blend of old hits, new songs and the odd surprise. 'Somewhere I Belong' is epic, while the thumping 'No More Sorrow' reveals a gigantic light screen to aid visual enjoyment of the show. During a snippet of X-Ecutioners collaboration 'It's Goin' Down' Shinoda breaks off in laughter before declaring 'you guys fucked me up, that never happens!' referring to the energy of the crowd, before launching into 'Points Of Authority'. They replicate their studio sound with ease and this is particularly impressive from co-vocalist Chester Bennington who powerfully executes the growls and screams on numbers such as the awesome 'Numb'. During a stripped-down section he also shows he is as adept at a softer approach, making old b-side 'My December' a highlight of the evening.
After indulging in some cheerleading with their respective sides of the arena, the vocalists then give the perfect example of how their styles compliment one another on a well-received 'In The End', which signals a flurry of their bigger hits. The simple riff of debut track 'One Step Closer' is as thrilling as when it first hit airwaves, evident by the thousands of pumping fists on bouncing audience members, while the first encore is ended by 'What I've Done' which has quickly found favour with Linkin Park's followers, judging by the huge applause it is afforded. Returning for a final time, they then roll out two of their most up-tempo tracks, 'Bleed It Out' and 'Faint', whose energy is fantastic way to end a show. As with the previous 90 minutes, they are note and beat perfect, leaving the only gripe being the omission of 'Papercut', but it is forgivable given the enjoyable entertainment that has been on show.