[You can read our review of Linkin Park’s 2007 show HERE.]
Linkin Park’s unique blend of rap, rock & electronica ignited the hot Shanghai Saturday night. Complete this time with a massive (and working!!) rig, their non-stop (but relatively short – 90mins), show of testosterone fuelled angst was one of the best shows Shanghai has ever witnessed. How Chester Bennington doesn’t kill his vocal cords during every show is nothing short of a miracle.
We arrived late but the show hadn’t started. We couldn’t find any water (or beer – boo) but if you wanted any HaagenDaas you were in luck. Whilst everyone is trying to look a their rock n roll best, we were not convinced as to the popularity of the tiny icecream tubs – if it was a sponsorship, then the American company’s marketing manager should rethink their strategy.
Within seconds of finding our (excellent) seats (about 8.30) a massive roar came from all around us – the band were in position. From stage left, Chester bolted from the wings like an animal released, trademark raptor scream ensuring full attention. Once again at an Emma/ Ticketmaster show, we couldn’t help but be disappointed that such a great opportunity to showcase local talent was wasted.
Photo Credit to Naramiki
Chester’s performance is complimented by co-frontman Mike Shinoda who the Radar’s eyes were fixed on for most of the show. Mike maneuvers between keyboards, rhythm guitar and vocals – regularly beaming smiles to the crowd, his casual approach was strangely endearing…
The only downside to the evening was one idiot wielding a powerful (and probably illegal in any other country) laser, often directly at Chester. Chester, very politely asked not to have the laser shone in his face and it did seem to stop. Nevertheless, this laser’s owner has copped a lot of criticism on the Chinese blogs. This kind of problem could see additional costs in security if China becomes a place where bags need to be searched.
Although the stadium’s upper and back half was mostly empty, it seemed they were still playing to approximately 30,000 serious fans in a 99% Chinese audience. All too soon, the band had belted out their encores but no one was ready to leave. It was with sad resignation that the crowd filed out to an inappropriate and unidentified elevator ballad. Rumor has it that it might have been ‘Home’ by Westlife or something equally anodyne. Michael Buble? Surely not…
What does this mean for China? Well, although Kenny G has come back repeatedly to play theatres (the last time was the 1,500 capacity Yunfeng theatre in Shanghai), this is the first time a Western stadium act has actually RETURNED to play China. There was speculation (on this blog more often than not) that a band returning, less than 2 years after their first performance in China, to a stadium three times the size with tickets just as expensive as before (100-1600RMB (US$15 – US$240) might fail spectacularly.
Photo Credit Naramiki
We are happy to report that, despite really, really poor promotion, more people turned up than in 2007. Perhaps without 2008’s cancellation by the band, Emma/ Ticketmaster’s well publicized problems in March of this year, plus had there been more than 2 weeks of dedicated promotion, Shanghai Stadium might have been fuller. Linkin Park are one of the world’s biggest bands at the moment, but this turnout and the strength of the show does bode well for foreign music here in China.