MANILA -- Friday night, September 6, was equal parts lovefest and songfest as several thousand fans trooped to the New Frontier Theater at the Araneta Center to catch Linkin Park co-lead vocalist Mike Shinoda on the penultimate show of the second leg of his Post Traumatic World Tour.
As much as Shinoda’s solo debut album, "Post Traumatic," has been well-received, you could not fault the fans for coming out and wearing t-shirts of Linkin Park or for clamoring for the songs. After all, the band has sold more than 70 million records worldwide and performed thousands of sold out shows throughout the globe as one of the new millennium’s biggest bands.
Even if the band performed in Manila twice now – in June 2004 at the height of the success of their second album, "Meteora," and in August 2013 in support of the band’s fifth album, "Living Things" – no one could still get enough.
The local show, produced by concert promoter Insignia Presents, represented the best chance for Filipino fans to hear music live from Linkin Park -- possibly for the last time as the band is on indefinite hiatus following the death of lead singer Chester Bennington in July 2017.
Shinoda is wrapping up the second leg of his world tour that has taken him from Germany, France, England, Hungary, Italy, Switzerland, Czech Republic, Netherlands, Luxembourg, Israel, Taiwan, Indonesia, and then to the Philippines (he is in Japan right now for the last concert).
If our collective image of a young Mike Shinoda was the spike-haired rapper on Linkin Park’s videos for “In the End” and “Somewhere I Belong,” the man who has gone on tour to promote his first solo album sports a light beard, cropped hair and a baseball cap, and looks somewhat thinner. Not in a gaunt manner, but someone perhaps also exhausted after a long tour.
The enthusiasm and the spark in his eyes remains evident. This is a man getting back on his feet after struggling in the wake of the loss a dear and cherished bandmate.
And the fans were treated to an incandescent performance where he performed 13 songs from Linkin Park, seven from his Post Traumatic solo album, three from his hip hop ensemble, Fort Minor, and his collaboration with DJs X-Ecutioners, “It’s Going Down” that was a huge hit post-"Meteora."
“Looks like there are some Linkin Park fans in the house,” observed Shinoda right before he launched into “When They Come for Me” from the band’s fourth album, "A Thousand Suns," that was released nearly nine years ago from the night of the concert.
The show was also special because it was the day after Shinoda’s anime-inspired video for “The World’s On Fire” dropped and the rapper made sure to mention it to the New Frontier crowd.
Performing with Shinoda was Israeli drummer Dan Mayo who regularly performs with post-rock trio, Tatran (they already have released three albums) and English multi-instrumentalist (and sometime actor) Matthias Harris.
The trio were amazing and they covered a lot of ground, especially on the Linkin Park songs (considering the band used to have six members). In an interview for Music Radar, Harris said that Shinoda needed someone who could play more than one instrument.
“Being a jack of all trades was a big factor with this gig; Mike needed someone that could play lots of instruments rather than just one. I was in the music world for a long time doing my own bands, then I went into session work playing principally bass. I did different things for different artists including touring, then I moved into musical direction and becoming a musical director.”
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Leading up to the encore, they were joined on stage by Rob Damiani and Simon Delaney, vocalist and guitarist respectively for opening English alternative rock band, Don Broco, for the Linkin Park song, “A Place for My Head.”
Despite being largely unknown in the Philippines, Don Broco banged out a terrific livewire set that set the stage for Shinoda’s nearly two-hour show.
The quartet out of Bedford, England, has some history with the Philippines as their first single, “Beautiful Morning” was played by radio stations in Manila in early 2011 when the song was first released.
The performance elicited a lovely response who the crowd who heartily sang along, clapped, and cheered to the songs (even the ones from Fort Minor and "Post Traumatic"). And Shinoda knew and felt it. Shinoda’s recent solo work both in music and art has been a way to deal with the pain, an act of healing.
The show was cathartic and the crowd demonstrated to Shinoda, that he has a support group, albeit 8,000 miles away. Such is the power of music, and a fitting way to end a beautiful day.