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Linkin Park Thailand concert review

The short, sharp shock that was Linkin Park in Bangkok had tight security, obstructed views and a silly round of Simon Says, but the ‘crazy people’ didn’t seem to mind Sharp at 8.30pm, the national anthem blared out of the speakers in Aktive Square next to Muang Thong Thani’s Impact Arena. Everyone in the crowed of 30,000-odd youngsters stood in respect. It was the last “quiet” moment of a Sunday evening that had already seen jumping warm-up sets by homegrown nu-metal band Ebola and pop rockers Scrubb and Cantaloupe.

But there was still another jangling 20-minute wait, as Dayglo sticks and bangles bounced around, before the raising of the Linkin Park banner sent the crowd surging forward and then, when the band launched into their first number, jumping up and down in time so hard that the ground actually shook.

The show had well and truly begun for the hardcore fans – the “crazy people”, as singers Chester Bennington and Mike Shinoda called them

A sea of hands waved mobile phones to grab snapshots and noise for the benefit of friends stuck at home. Regular cameras had, of course, been confiscated at the door, along with any sharp objects, including necklaces and bracelets.
Security was indeed tight, but the organisers needn’t have worried: these kids were really there to play a game of Simon Says.

“When I say ‘Let’s go!’, you say ‘Down!’” Bennington screamed. And who wasn’t going to go along with the gag? Everyone hollered when they were supposed to and jumped on command.

Lyrics aren’t exactly Linkin Park’s forte, but they still had the fans rocking with chart-toppers like “Somewhere I Belong”, “Breaking the Habit”, “Numb” and of course, “In the End”.

At one point, Shinoda chose the “crazy guy in the Yankees cap” to come up and jam. He was after all a “Japanese brother”, and was duly carried to the stage by one of the band’s heavies. There was even a quiet moment when one of the rappers did a keyboard solo as an intro.

Apart from that, Shinoda kept the audience happy by frequently yelling “You’re all crazy people!” and “This is the biggest Linkin Park show ever!” Clearly the gigs in Indonesia, the Philippines and Hong Kong before they got here weren’t such an extravaganza. Their next and last stop on the Asia tour is Singapore.
Though most people expected to be drenched at the open-air concert, the weather remained merely hot and sticky. And the organisers were kind enough to occasionally send a blast or two of cool air for those up front who’d bought the Bt2,500 tickets. Some kind rockers even threw ice-cold water around to cool people off.

Unfortunately, those who’d paid between Bt600 and Bt1,500 had to sweat it out at the back and settle for watching the performance on the big screens. They couldn’t even push their way forward because each section had been sealed off, although it didn’t look like that was the intention.

There appeared to be no complaints about having nothing but Singha beer and water to drink all night, or that there were no elevated places for people at the back to stand (though Bennington did do a couple of numbers from the highest point of the stage).

Nor did anyone seem concerned that alcohol was being sold to pre-teens and that television cameras blocked much of the view.

The organisers chipped in, too, with air-conditioned public buses to Victory Monument, as announced continuously in English all evening.

Still, the buses began filling up 80 minutes after the concert began, even though Bennington had told The Nation beforehand that the show would be 90 minutes long. No amount of pleading for an encore would bring the band back.
Instead, the disappointed youngsters were treated to fireworks, and they were enough of a treat that everyone calmly filed out. After all, as the Linkin Park number goes, “In the end, it doesn’t even matter”.

The Nation - June 21, 2004



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