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Concert Reviews:
Linkin Park successfully blends new with old at Joe Louis Arena

of the Oakland Press

Posted: Wednesday, January 26, 2011

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DETROIT -- Linkin Park throws a lot at its listeners.

The Los Angeles sextet's blend of heavy rock, rap and electronic flavors -- the latter particularly pronounced on its latest album, "A Thousand Suns" -- is heady, and in lesser hands would be nothing but a mess. But Linkin Park has parlayed it to sales of more than 24 million albums worldwide, along with three consecutive titles that have debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200.

And on Tuesday night (Jan. 25) at Joe Louis Arena, the group turned that sonic brew into a powerful, visually striking 100-minute show, crisply delivered with blow-the-roof-off dynamics and a sinewy, propulsive energy that kept fans engaged even during long segments of new material.

In fact, Linkin Park drastically changed Tuesday's song sequence from previous North American shows on this tour to more effectively integrate the "A Thousand Suns" material -- an ambitious 11 tracks from the album -- into the set. The album's opening track, "The Requiem," started the show, for instance, but the group quickly jumped into a blast of older material -- "New Divide," "Lying From You," "Given Up" and "What I've Done" -- before dipping back into the fresh fare.

Fortunately, four months after "A Thousand Suns' " release the fans at Joe Louis seemed well familiar with those songs, singing along to "Empty Spaces," "When They Come for Me," "The Radiance" and others as much as they did for previous hits such as "Numb," "No More Sorrow" and "Leave Out All the Rest." The show's emotional zenith came towards the end of the main set, when "The Catalyst," "A Thousand Suns' " first single, led into the U2-like "Shadow of the Day" before Linkin Park pounded through the rock radio staples "In the End" (with co-lead vocalist Mike Shinoda hopping over the barrier and into the crowd) and "Bleed It Out."

The encore, similarly, nodded to the new with the tribal "Blackout" before a gallop through "Papercut, "Crawling" (with co-frontman Chester Bennington taking his turn in the pit), "Faint" and a show-closing "One Step Closer" that spurred a mosh pit on the general admission arena floor.

For many bands, the mix of fresh with familiar can be a collision. But on Tuesday, Linkin Park made the combination sound perfectly seamless -- a rare and not at all simple feat.

Send your thoughts and comments to Gary Graff


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