[Aimone Sharif | Contributing Writer]
The last time Linkin Park performed in the UK was this summer at Download festival, and no surprise they stole the show. As predicted when they announced a three day tour (22nd, 23rd and 24th of November) in the UK for the promotion of their new album The Hunting Party; the tickets sold out in minutes and the fans set their expectations high. When the London’s O2 doors opened at 6:30; the fans were ready for the time of their life.
Warming up the crowd on a cold November afternoon was the Californian based metal core group Of Mice and Men led by main vocalist Austin Carlile. They warmed up the set with ‘Public service’ from their most recent album followed by ‘Announcement’ getting everyone jumping and singing on the top of their lungs. After ‘Bones Exposed’ and ‘The Depths’, they confidently got the crowd’s momentum going. They ended their set with “You’re Not Alone” and ‘OM&M’s’ and the crowd was definitely ready for Linkin Park; their job was done.
Amid much anticipation Linkin Park blew the crowd away with their fearless single ‘Guilty All The Same’ commandeering the O2 with their immediate energy and fierce intensity. The band went straight on to play ‘Given Up’ making the crowd’s energy reach a climax with frontman Chester Bennington’s unflagging vocals. Co-frontman Mike Shinoda managed to alter between instruments and delivering his vocals with conviction and passion.
Of Mice and Men front man, Austin Carlile made a guest appearance and performed ‘Faint’ with Mike Shinoda from Linkin’s second album Meteora, seeing the whole arena off their feet. The bands old material sounded just as fresh as their new one, ‘In the End’ and ‘Numb’ were probably the fans’ favourites initiating full arena sing along. What made this sold out concert outstanding was their flawless and skilful blending of old and new material, of one style to the other something that could only be achieved with their numerous years of experience.
The introduction of A Thousand Suns’ ‘Blackout’ was followed by a brief version of ‘Paper Cut’ from Hybrid Theory which changed imperceptibly into Rebellion. From piano solos to electro style, Linkin Park managed to pour out their emotions to the crowd. Their choice of decor and lightning transformed the whole arena in an electro rave, a hard look for a rock band to pull off without seeming out of place.
Throughout the entire night the sextet oozed confidence and performed with a significant amount of energy that set the whole arena alight. The set ended on a extended version of ‘Bleed It Out’ from their third studio album Minutes to Midnight accompanied by a solo from drummer Rob Bourdon.
The band left the stage like they had entered it, unfaltering. Linkin Park have yet again proven that they provide excellent entertainment and are still the most original, ingenious and exciting band of today. Definitely one to see live.