Rewind to late 2000 and think of where you were…
If you are in your late 20’s now, you are very much like me and most likely, back then you were in high school finding your footing in life and within the social scene at school. You might have also been one of those kids that was always racing home to see who was #1 on TRL. None the less, you were right smack dab in the middle of the now “defunct” nu-metal movement. Names like Jonathan Davis, Aaron Lewis, Jacoby Shadixx, Kid Rock and Fred Durst (it’s ok not to be proud do admit to that one, I understand) are all names that you recognize and make you want to grab a Red Bull, slap on your red Yankees cap (thank you Fred Durst, for killing that trend) and rock a chain wallet in your back pocket.
Over a decade later since the release of their multimillion selling debut masterpiece Hybrid Theory, Linkin Park arrived at Jiffy Lube Live to kick off the Honda Civic tour to a crowd of faithful fans awaiting to reminisce on a life less complicated and for those that are now in their teens, just a chance to vent and scream “shut up when I’m talkin’ to you!”
This year’s Honda Civic Tour was being promoted as a double shot of late 2000’s best selling artists on one stage. The biggest drawback for opening night was the fact that the co-headliner Incubus was not there. For reasons unbeknownst to me, for opening night Mutemath took the stage as the opening act.
My first reaction was that of surprise. Not knowing what their sound was like, I was pleasantly surprised to hear a modern band doing their own thing while still embracing their influences. The most noticeable one? U2. The Edge guitar riffs and Bono wails were unmistakeable. The surprising part was not that they had a hint of U2 to their sound, but rather that they masterfully combined that influence with their flair and Cajun seasoning to each track. Hailing from New Orleans, Mutemath had me wanting to yell laissez les bons temps rouler, mon ami (and pass the beignets!) I really dig it when artists dress up to hit the stage. It just adds another level of anticipation and an air of professionalism to the show. After all, the average concert goer pays at times, a pretty hefty price tag to see a show. The least the performer could do is dress up and sweat it out for our entertainment. The fellas from Mutemath were very sharply dressed and that, I really enjoy. After a total of 10 songs, Mutemath said goodbye and left the stage for the roadies to clear and setup for the headliner.
Like many of the other shows I have attended so far, I was looking forward to seeing Linkin Park for the first time. Admittedly, I had been a bit turned off by the band after I heard their newest album Living Things. Yes, bands evolve, they need to change and offer new layers to their sound. But sometimes my grief strays in the fact that why do they feel the need to “re-invent” themselves when they had a really good thing going initially. Personal strife aside, the band arrived to the tune of With You from the album Hybrid Theory.
A rather simple stage setup served as a backdrop for the true star, the music. Seeing Chester Bennington, Mr. Hann and Mike Shinoda live made me feel like I was back in the 9th grade and thinking about how much I was gong to brag to the boys in my crew of friends that I had seen Linkin Park live (mind you, they never have played Puerto Rico, hence the enthusiasm). The band followed up with one of my personal favorites (and one of my all time favorite music videos too) Faint, off the Meteora album. I was happy to hear Chester’s vocals were on point; just like I remembered and was hoping for them to be. It wasn’t until they finished the song Given Up, where the band addressed the crowd and interacted with those in attendance for opening night.
A masterfully crafted setlist covered the band’s career and also included some “b-side” tracks like QWERTY and several medleys or mash-ups that just made the crowd roar. My favorite musical moment of the night quite possibly was the stripped down performance of Leave Out All the Rest / Shadow of the Day / Iridescent. This set gave me goosebumps and more than transport me to a memory, it took me back to the day I left my family and friends at the airport and boarded the plane to Virginia. It was THAT powerful.
Other great moments: Hearing Papercut, Bleed It Out which featured a mix of Beastie Boys’ “Sabotage” at the chorus and closing the night with One Step Closer, was pretty awesome too. The fact that the song Crawling didn’t make the setlist had me giddy. Some may complain, but I was happy it wasn’t played. I’m sorry, I just can’t stand that song.
Trippy visuals accompanied the setlist beautifully. The fellas from Linkin Park demonstrated why their career has been solid for a bit over a decade now. Band chemistry? Check. On point vocals? Check. Chester’s screams? Check. Riffs and DJ scratches? Check. So what was new at this show compared to other tours? Pyro; and fireballs too. Though their new material is really not up to par with their previous recordings, I would be more than confident to say that Linkin Park still has a long career ahead of them. Legions of fans that span generations will always be there along for the ride, and opening night proved just that.
Setlist for Linkin Park @ Jiffy Lube Live (and video of full show below)
Victimized / QWERTY
Lying From You / Papercut
(Mashup; no second verse/chorus on LFY and Papercut)
Somewhere I Belong
(2012 Ext. Intro)
In My Remains
When They Come for Me
Waiting for the End
(Apaches Intro, Wall of Noise Outro)
Breaking the Habit
Leave Out All the Rest / Shadow of the Day / Iridescent
Burn It Down
In the End
(Outro w/ Numb/Encore Lyrics Tease)
Bleed It Out
(w/ Beastie Boys’ “Sabotage” … more)
Lost in the Echo
(w/ New Ext. Intro)
What I’ve Done
One Step Closer