Linkin Park do Shanghai – proper!

Review of Linkin Park's recent Shanghai show - awesome performance!

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[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 NaramikiPhoto 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 NaramikiPhoto 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.

  • Jeff

    Thanks for the review.

    How do you account for approximately 30,000 Chinese concertgoers were there despite the poor promotion? It must have been by “word of mouth/twitter/facebook/MMS/etc.” for two weeks that people knew about the event? Was the “new media” promotion that successful?

    btw: How were the production values of the program and who (if any) were the opening bands?

    Thanks

    p.s.: Enjoyed the video on your company’s website

  • admin

    Hi Jeff

    Honestly, I think with the success of Transformers (which was released in the cinemas here) and the fact that the band had come once before, I would have expected 50k+. I think there are some bands here that don’t need a whole lot of promotion.

    Production was way better. To be fair, Linkin Park has actually demanded it this time – their production guys had gone out to local production companies and scoped out who/ what they wanted to use in advance.

    There was no support act, unfortunately!

  • serious fans

    “30,000 serious fans”

    “serious” Linkin Park fans?

    Oh I didn’t know that this was a post for oxymorons.

  • jeff

    Recognizing that there are always posers and flamers, it would be great to hear from others on the promotion (or lack thereof), the production values and Linkin Park’s performance at the event.

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  • davolcano

    In response to
    “Production was way better. To be fair, Linkin Park has actually demanded it this time – their production guys had gone out to local production companies and scoped out who/ what they wanted to use in advance.”

    It was the exact same local companies that did this one as the one in 2007….demands were the same….they are demanding….Maybe LP got better or they have a new lighting person…sound guy the same too……Maybe the commenter had Better seats this time or maybe, just maybe, smoked somthing better this time 😉

    Anyway, good to hear “better” around here….great news!

  • jeff

    i agree, it is always good when people say that the production was better. If “davolcano” is correct (see above-listed comments), one wonders what was the difference. If the same local companies were used, same production people from Linkin Park – the only factor not mentioned is the venue’s facilities and staff.

    btw: Could anyone comment on the promotion that was provided – recognizing that there was little evidence of p.r. till right before the concert. There was word on the street that Branded-In was very involved with sponsorships and new media promotion. Since I didn’t see any, wonder if anybody else have additional information to report.

    Side Note:
    Since Karen Mok will be touring Shanghai and Beijing in December 2009 – along with her eclectic musical choices (compared to other Chinese artists), wonder how her concert production values will be and will she have opening acts (hmm, maybe Internationl/American artists that are trying to develop a draw in China)?

    side Note:
    Since the NBA is experiencing 30-35% growth in China, could this be an option to be considered for American/International or r&r/indie Chinese artists since China’s basketball fanatics can be the same demographics that attend concerts featuring Linkin Park or CarsickCars?

    Hmm, maybe – thoughts?

  • Ashley

    The fact that Linkin Park did “New Divide” for Transformers definitely made a difference. That movie was huge in China. Not all of the seats in the stadium were filled because tickets weren’t sold for them.
    They put on one hell of a show that night…Linkin Park is one of those rare bands that has their unique sound, really feel their music, and are great musicians that get the crowd involved.

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