Debashine Thangevelo

A staggering 63 000 die-hards made their way to see Linkin Park – brought to SA by Big Concerts – live in concert at Soccer City on Saturday night.

Nightmarish traffic aside (surprise, surprise!), the atmosphere was electrifying with young and old (not forgetting the hippies) already partying it up like rock stars – on beer.

Admittedly, I wasn’t au fait with South African rock band Kongos – two albums old. But their alternative rock tracks – taken from their self titled debut album released in 2007 and this year’s Lunatic – certainly warmed up the crowd. Although there were times at the outset when the sound bordered on monotony…but the band eventually redeemed themselves. That’s not forgetting zef rapper Jack Parrow’s guest appearance during their set, which drove the crowd wild with excitement.

An über-long set change later – the moment everyone had been waiting for had arrived as the lights went dark and the stage came alive. And Linkin Park dove right in with the electrifying electro beats to Tinfoil. Lead singer Chester Bennington and rapper Mike Shinoda were the epitome of rock magnificence the entire night.

Bennington was pure energy on speed – he never faltered or waned when he tunefully screamed into the mike and blew fans away.

The band, which incidentally won Best Rock honours at last night’s 2012 MTV EMA, have a distinctly appealing sound that oscillated between alternative rock, electronically-tinged jams (thanks to spin maestro DJ Joe Hahn) to a mesmerising acoustic melody that saw love struck fans turn into marshmallows as the stadium transformed into a magical starlit sight with cell phones and lighters waved in the air.

Linkin Park covered the gamut of their radio-friendly hits from their debut album, Hybrid Theory, Meteora (second album), Minutes to Midnight (2007), A Thousand Suns (2010) to Living Things (2012). And the stadium resonated with fans singing along to the emotionally penetrating lyrics Papercut, Given Up, With You, Somewhere I Belong, In My Remains, New Divide, Lies Greed Misery, Waiting for the End, Breaking the Habit, Lost in the Echo, Numb, What’s I’ve Done and One Step Closer.

And they returned for an encore with Burn It Down, In The End and Bleed It Out.

During the concert, Bennington also took a time out to acknowledge the Cape Town fans who were injured – one fatally so – last Wednesday.

Linkin Park are all about the music…and staying true to their fans. Their sound is sharp, pitch-perfect, harmonious and captivating. Passionate and a polished act – their concert still lingers on…and will continue to do so for some time!!!