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Live Review: Linkin Park – 3rd July 2017 – O2 Arena, London

4 min read
Photo: Warner Music Australia

Fresh off the heels of the release of latest studio album One More Light – the seventh in a career of a little over twenty hugely successful years – US rock juggernauts Linkin Park have returned to U.K. soil to dish up the hits, as well as a handful of new numbers, to their British fans.

The collective have played many shows in the capital over the course of their career but as lead singer Chester Bennington confessed last night during their sold O2 Arena performance, the first of two shows in London with the next to be held at the smaller and more intimate Brixton Academy tonight, the crowd was “one of the best audiences of any of our previous London shows”. It certainly seemed to be that way too as fans eagerly herded into the security tight venue and filled every seat and space there was available to see their rock idols.

The bands latest record did the opening honors with Talking To Myself ushering the band on to the stage, jumping straight into an onslaught of wailing guitars and Bennington’s distinctive metal vocals ripping through the venue. He was equally robust when it came to additions like scream metal hit Wastelands and Faint; the latter allowing Bennington the chance to be rid of a sweat-dripping t-shirt and transform the entire O2 Arena into one giant mosh-pit. It was also on tracks like Faint that allowed his band mates to truly shine beside beside his powerful front-man duties. Fellow band vocalist and rapper Mike Shinoda, who spent a good portion of his time on stage moving enthusiastically behind a Union Jack flag donning mixing desk, delivered an impressive rap section to Faint beneath a storm of laser lighting effects, while Invisible saw Shinoda and Bennington in duet form; Bennington dedicating the track to his kids.

While the band may be best known for the full throttle nu-metal hits that have helped them shift over 30m records over the years, sentiment also came through performances of the relatively down-tempo Battle Symphony from new album One More Light with Bennington getting himself strapped to a guitar for the number. Castle of Glass set a somber tone with a vocally soft inclusion in the first half of the set and a several song piano-led segment containing singles One More Light and breakthrough hit Crawling found the front-man getting up close and personal with his front row fans for selfies and a singalong as the tattooed rocker descended into the crowd to perform the stripped back hits with some very emotional punters. As with most bands who have stared longevity straight in the eyes, the crowd gave Linkin Park their biggest reactions when the hits were pulled out of the suitcase. While Crawling was given a major face-lift, set additions like Breaking The Habit and In The End had the entire audience belting along to each and every word that fell from the front mans lips. Bennington also encouraged the crowd to get as involved in their performance as possible with a request to places every fist in the air for rock ballad Waiting For The End and announcing that he wants “to see everyone in this fucking place bouncing up and down” for the unveiling of Hybrid Theory’s One Step Closer.

Fans were also treated to a special appearance from UK rapper Stormy who dominated the stage during the musicians collaborative effort with the band on Good Goodbye.

The show was a much bigger live experience that what fans will undoubtedly be treated to at tonight’s performance in the much smaller Brixton Academy. The lighting that propelled the outfits catalogue along was nothing short of spectacular. As the 5-piece tore through the hits, strobe lights set of, beams of light shot around the venue and the stage became a giant movable light show to compliment each band members impressive showmanship.

As each member of the audience – most wearing either a Linkin Park t-shirt or that of another equally iconic rock band – left the O2 Arena, you could easily see that they had just witnessed one of the finest rock shows of their lives. The band were on top form and the audience – some 20,000 strong were certainly left feeling very satisfied.

Talking to Myself
Burn It Down
The Catalyst
One Step Closer
Castle of Glass
Good Goodbye (with Stormzy)
Lost in the Echo
Battle Symphony
New Divide
From the Inside
Waiting for the End
Breaking the Habit
One More Light
Crawling (Piano Version)
Leave Out All the Rest
Somewhere I Belong
What I’ve Done
In the End

Sharp Edges
Bleed It Out