Better Late Than Never
Not close to over: Linkin Park's intense Houston night shows this primal crew isgrowing
It took a couple extra weeks, but Linkin Park finally made it to Houston on Thursday night. The superstar rock-rap collective had to postpone its mid-February date as vocalist Chester Bennington was under doctor's orders to rest.
It appears those orders have now been lifted.
A completely healthy Linkin Park, arrived at the Toyota Center armed with a hit-laden new album, A Thousand Suns, and an arsenal of past chart-toppers that few other acts over the past decade can rival. More importantly they arrived to the enthusiastic greeting of Houston teens and young adults who know the band's high-brow mix of rock and rap is a defining sound of their generation.
Singer Bennington and the rest of the band seemed impressed by the wall of sound the packed general admission crowd on the floor sent their way through the 24-song set over nearly two hours.
"This is the last date of the tour and I"m happy we had to reschedule it in Houston," Bennington said, posed at the front of the immense stage that jutted out into the crowd like the tip of a diamond. "This is a good fucking crowd."
Opening with "The Requiem," the haunting instrumental dirge that also begins A Thousand Suns, the show stayed true to the new album's message of political uprising with images of military action and end-of-days ever-present in the lyrics and on the massive louvered screen that rotated behind the six-piece band. The bulk of A Thousand Suns was represented in the set including crystalline balladry by Bennington on "Waiting for the End," and the megaphone force of "When They Come For Me."
Within this framework Linkin Park managed to fit nearly all of the chart-toppers from their past three multi-platinum albums, allowing for Bennington and his lyrical partner, rapper Mike Shinoda, to whip the audience into a frenzy. Toward the end of the main set, the Depeche Mode-meets-Korn electro-thump early single "Crawling," gave way to the pounding shrieks of "One Step Closer," that had the floor crowd buzzing around each other like hornets.
Other favorites greeted with ear-popping enthusiasm were the helpless sing-a-long hook of "What I've Done," and the two-year old "New Divide" from the Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen soundtrack. These past hits all allow Linkin Park to get primal with their fans, but don't discount the snippet of a Martin Luther King Jr. speech that preceded progressive new track, "Iridescent," or the pseudo-Taiko drums circle that Shinoda and Bennington set up "Empty Spaces" with.
Linkin Park is definitely exploring new artistic realms and it's possible, despite all the past success, that this band is just starting to blossom.