Linkin Park & 30 Seconds to Mars deliver one-two punch

A review of Linkin Park, 30 Seconds to Mars at the Xfinity Center on August 16, 2014

, Staff

It was a tale of two frontmen at the Xfinity Center on Saturday night, as Linkin Park and 30 Seconds to Mars rocked the packed crowd on their summer blockbuster “Carnivores” tour. Linkin Park’s Chester Bennington and 30 Seconds to Mars’ Jared Leto delivered a unique one-two punch, giving the Massachusetts crowd a memorable August evening.

Over the course of 90+ minutes, Linkin Park tore through almost thirty songs with consistent, in your face, flawless performance and authenticity throughout the set that covered their expansive fifteen year career. There are few frontmen quite like Chester Bennington, whose angst and passion rage through him and immediately create a connection with the crowd that he doesn’t have to coerce out of them.

In a nearly perfectly constructed setlist, the crowd was so consistently into the performance that you could barely tell the difference in enthusiasm between classic tracks “Numb”, “In the End” and “One Step Closer” as compared to the new material from their recently released sixth studio album, The Hunting Party. Of particular note from the new album was set opener “Guilty All the Same” which was a massive entrance that set the furious pace in motion from start to finish.

The highlights of the set, among many to choose from, were a stirring edition of “Somewhere I Belong” that had the crowd losing their minds deep into the night and Bennington’s vocals on “Shadow of the Day”, which were piercingly beautiful and a wonderful contrast to the screaming his lungs out which he did for most of the evening.

Mike Shinoda, the band’s rapper (and guitarist/keyboardist), pairs wonderfully with Bennington, as his positive, giddy energy throughout the set worked with Bennington’s fierce vocals to produce among the most interesting choruses in music. The portion of the set that stood apart from the rest was towards the end of the main set, when Shinoda toyed with the crowd in featuring samples from his work with Fort Minor and Linkin Park’s Collision Course collaboration with Jay-Z that sent the crowd into an uproar.

Aside from a few DJ interludes that allowed for Bennington to take a rest, there were no frills, tricks, or distractions throughout the set. On Saturday night, Linkin Park did what every rock band hopes to do every night live: deliver a consistent, high energy, tight set that thrills from start to finish.

The stark difference Linkin Park and 30 Seconds to Mars was highlighted by the always entertaining antics of the latters’ tireless frontman Jared Leto. The Califonia native and newly minted Academy Award winner thrives in his role as frontman of the powerful rock band because he is a showman. The band’s performance began with a slow build, leaving the fans salivating for the band to take the stage as the classical anthem “O Fortuna” pumped through the speakers for minutes. The band’s entrance did not disappoint as Leto arrived in his typical flamboyant style, donning a long white robe, white vest, gold crown, and a pair of aviator sunglasses sending the adoring crowd into a frenzy.

30 Seconds to Mars’ set thrived at the beginning and the end with a serious lull in the middle. One of the best moments of the set was an early performance of the massive track “This is War”, with Leto playing a white bass and massive balloons dropping onto the crowd halfway through the song, helping to cover up some difficult moments for Leto vocally throughout the track. “Kings and Queens”, arguably their most successful song, was a vocal train-wreck for Leto, who began the song a a cappella and was notably off key before recovering when the accompaniment began; few in the crowd seemed to care or notice because of his incredible energy and commitment to making the crowd have “the best night of their lives”.

The best moment of the entire night came when Leto came off the stage and into section 5 of the amphitheater to be with his fans. Touting his acoustic guitar along with him, he noticed a young boy in the crowd wearing a shirt that had a picture of Leto and the boy from a previous show. Leto and his new friend led the crowd in acoustic versions of “Alibi” and “The Kill”. The set closed with Leto inviting many fans to come on stage and party with him during a roaring rendition of “Closer to the Edge” that left the fans satisfied and waiting for Linkin Park.

Overall, the two bands served as the perfect complement to one another. Where 30 Seconds to Mars wines and dines you into a good time, Linkin Park punches you in the face and the pain feels good. Well done, men.

Kicking off the show was fellow California-bred alt-rockers AFI.

Linkin Park Setlist
1.  Guilty All the Same
2.  Given Up
3.  With You
4.  One Step Closer
5.  Blackout
6.  Papercut
7.  Rebellion
8.  Runaway
9.  Wastelands
10. Castle of Glass
11. Leave Out All the Rest – Shadow of the Day – Iridescent (medley)
12. Robot Boy
13. Numb
14. Waiting For the End
15. Final Masquerade
16. Wretches and Kings
17. Remember the Name
18. Lying From You
19. Somewhere I Belong
20. In The End
21. Faint
22. Burn It Down
23. Lost In the Echo
24. New Divide
25. Until It’s Gone
26. What I’ve Done
27. Bleed It Out

30 Seconds to Mars Setlist
1.  Up In the Air
2.  Night of the Hunter
3.  This is War
4.  Conquistador
5.  Kings and Queens
6.  Do or Die
7.  City of Angels
8.  End of All Days
9.  Alibi
10. Attack
11. The Kill
12. Closer to the Edge

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