Photos by Katrina Wong Shue
It has been said that music is one of the best forms of therapy; it brings people together during the best and worst times of their lives. Everywhere you looked on Thursday evening you were met with Linkin Park t-shirts and unbreakable smiles. You felt at home because you knew almost every single person was feeling everything you were that night. As Mike Shinoda took the stage, you could tell that he felt it too.
From the first bar of “Petrified” the crowd was absolutely buzzing, they sang almost every word and set the tone for what was still to come later in the evening. We were taken on a musical journey of all three musical stages of his life. Hearing Fort Minor songs again was really something special.
Shinoda was so thankful for every single person there that night, he said he wanted us to all heal together and to celebrate the life of Chester Bennington. It was extremely emotional. I remember where I was when my brother brought home “Hybrid Theory” for the first time and I remember where I was when the news broke about Chester. I’m sure every person in that audience had a memory or a story that could be linked back to Shinoda and Linkin Park, which was why this evening was rather cathartic.
For each classic Linkin Park song that was played Shinoda asked for everyone to sing Chester’s part loud enough for him to hear. From “Castle of Glass” to “In The End” and “Numb”, every single person poured their hearts and souls into the sing-a-long he created.
By bringing songs from all three of Shinoda’s journeys he really put his musicality and genius on display. From rapping to playing piano and guitar and adding auto-tone during more of the upbeat songs, you were left wondering if there was anything he could not do. He just has the seamless ability to leave you in completely in awe. Another thing that should not go unnoticed is how incredible his set design was, with multiple LED panels that moved and changed colour to the feel of a song, really just put a bow on one of my favourite concert experiences of the year.
As he closed the evening out with “Running from My Shadow” from his Post Traumatic album, he wanted to be close to everyone so he jumped off the stage. Walking the barricade from each side of the stage he tried to reach out to everyone, which was such a special thing to see. Nobody was ready for the night to end, “Thank You” and “I love you, Mike” were being blurted out as a final goodbye. He helped us heal that night, the way his music had for years and hopefully will for years to come.