Live Music + Gig Reviews

Linkin Park @ Elysee Montmarte, Paris

2 March 2003

Linkin Park

Linkin Park

Ooh, look at those parents spending quality time with their kids, some as young as 12. Could it be true? Could this really be some sort of boy band?

Some accuse Linkin Park of being merely a metal boy band (but they’re secretly elated when In The End shows up on MTV), just another one in the long line of the nu-metal generation. But analyse this: They don’t have the shiny goldilocks and the matching bleached white teeth; they don’t have the choreographed smooth moves; they sing the old-fashioned way by using hand-held microphones; they write their own songs and play their own instruments and (usually) keep their shirts on. And they play some good music, enough to make even the most contained adults loosen up. Get crazy, in other words.

“Show we how crazy you are!” Non-rapping singer Chester Bennington yells to the crowd. Judging from the crowd’s decibel-tearing response, there are some wild hybrids out here tonight. And they know by heart the lyrics to ALL the songs, at least the ones to the first album Hybrid Theory. The security surrounding the as-yet unreleased Meteora has so far prevented leaks, but the fans seem to like the new sounds, which are strangely not too different to the multi-million-selling Meteora. But who cares?! They rock! (and rap).

The concert lasts an hour. Okay, maybe an hour and 10 minutes. It doesn’t justify the rather elevated ticket price; there’s not even an opening band. But who needs one when Linkin Park is – whooaaahh – playing. But then again, there’s school tomorrow morning and the young fans need to go to bed early; the parents are here to make sure. Chester, rapper Mike Shinoda and Phoenix the bassist regularly use the amplifiers as thrones, singing to the mesmerised hybrids below who are hailing them with fists, rising and kicking the smoky air. Both singers shake and high-five the hands of eager fans in the front rows, who now have something even more exciting to talk about at school tomorrow.

No real surprises here, but the raw energy cuts right through you. Good music? yes. Great showmanship? Yes. But let’s try not to sound exactly like the CD, OK? Performance-wise, it’s as exciting as it could get. But the rest is just square.

Three tracks from Meteora (Don’t Stay, Somewhere I Belong, Lying From You) then three from Hybrid Theory (Papercut, Points Of Authority, Runaway) then a track from Reanimation then six more tracks from the first and second albums – wow, how organised is that? Chester has some great vocal cords, but his singing is often drowned beneath the overtuned guitars. And how clever, they left the most popular tracks for the pre-encore end – Crawling is followed by In The End, the official Linkin Park hymn; the crowd goes wild. This time, Chester’s voice is drowned out by that of 5,000 chanting fans.

More chants arise after the band leaves the stage – you know when they “fool” you into thinking that the show’s over before coming out and generously playing some more. The rather boring semi-ballad Easier To Run is the first of three encores. Rather disappointing. The energy seems to be waning. One Step Closer follows A Place For My Head – and it’s bedtime for the kids.

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More on Linkin Park
Linkin Park – Living Things
Q&A: Linkin Park
Linkin Park – Live In Texas
Leeds Festival 2003, Day 2 @ Bramham Park, Leeds
Linkin Park – Meteora