Linkin Park rock Manchester

A review of Linkin Park at Verizon Wireless Arena on February 18, 2008

, Contributing Writer

Linkin Park hit Manchester, NH on Monday night to promote their melodic new album, Minutes to Midnight, the band\’s first release since Meteora four years ago.& While Minutes to Midnight is the most diverse album Linkin Park has produced, their live show remains consistently loud, energy-filled, and angst ridden. Monday\’s set list boasted a strong collection of songs from all points of their career to the delight of fans both old and new.

Opening the show by rising from a smoke filled cavern in the middle of the stage, Linkin Park swept the audience into an immediate frenzy with "What I\’ve Done". They followed it by "Faint" and "No More Sorrow", and by then it was clear that there would be no slowing down. The band took a few minutes to welcome the crowd and banter with each other before frontman Chester Bennington unleashed a fist-pumping, chest-beating rendition of "Somewhere I Belong". &

Bennington and the rest of the band kept the energy high throughout the 90-minute set, utilizing the large, open stage format, even taking time to sing to the fans in the obstructed view seats at the back of the stage. Bennington and fellow vocalist Mike Shinoda were able to compliment each other well, even when running around on opposite sides of the stage. &

It was especially nice to see some solo exposure for guitarist Brad Delson and drummer Rob Bourdon, and Shinoda showcased his talent throughout by playing guitar, keyboard, and providing his trademark rapping on several songs.

Later in the show, Linkin Park slowed things down and got help from the audience in singing the chorus of "Hands Held High" which proved to be a highlight. Bennington was able to flex his vocal muscles and physically connect with the audience as he entered the crowd during "Given Up".& &

"Shadow of the Day" began with just Shinoda on keyboard and Bennington on vocals before being joined by the rest of the band, and ended with Bennington on a flying V guitar. &

The tail end of the set was filled with Linkin Park\’s biggest commercial successes, starting with fan favorite "Crawling", moving on to "In the End", and finishing off with a high energy, testosterone-fueled "Bleed it Out" in which Shinoda was able to vocally take center stage.& &

The band briefly left the stage before returning for what would be the first of two encores. The first settled the audience down as Shinoda played the keyboard and Bennington quietly sang "My December". They were then joined by the full band for their power ballad hit, "Breaking the Habit". The second encore featured Shinoda appearing in the middle of the crowd performing an amped up version of "A Place For My Head", which then segued into a roaring, extended version of their recent mega-hit "One Step Closer".

Linkin Park have proven with Minutes to Midnight and their subsequent live shows, first this summer at the Tweeter Center and again on Monday night in New Hampshire, that their unique sound will continue to diversify and push boundaries.

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