Can I Get An Encore?

After years of zig zagging their way across the US each summer with their own musical carnival that’s often likened to a lightweight Ozzfest, Linkin Park finally brought their Project Revolution to the UK, or more accurately The National Bowl at Milton Keynes, a place renowned for its strange fascination with concrete cows and for one day only home for the only UK stint of Project Revolution.

Crashing headfirst into their set, Linkin Park open with a raging rendition of ‘One Step Closer’ that charges through the crowd aggressively as lead singer Chester Bennington screams and roars with energetic passion, instantly causing the crowd to erupt in a rush of heavy bodies. Refusing to pause for a second, Linkin Park storm ahead, embracing older tracks such as the brutally raw ‘Papercut’ that thumps with a shuddering menace and the throat ripping cries of ‘Points Of Authority’, placing them neatly alongside newer material from the rage led blast of ‘Given Up’ to the heart wrenching emotion of ‘Leave Out All The Rest’, that insure the crowd are yanked relentlessly from the aggression packed punch to the tenderly gentle whilst eagerly awaiting more. With ‘Numb’ making an early entrance, hints at a Jay-Z collaboration appear to be quashed but this is all forgotten in the excitement of the track as it melts into the determination of ‘Breaking The Habit’ complete with video, that oozes brilliantly into the spine tingling ‘Shadow Of The Day’ that echoes around The Bowl causing all to come to a sudden halt and become absorbed in the song.

It appears that Linkin Park aren’t in the mood for idle chit chat tonight and whilst Bennington may stop briefly to remark how this is the biggest Project Revolution crowd they have ever played to, the band are in no great hurry to slow things down. Mesmerisingly rapping in between songs, Mike Shinoda’s improvised stints are the closest the sextet come to chatting to the enthusiastic crowd before them. But Linkin park don’t need to talk to interact with tonight’s crowd. These are people who have waited all day for them and its as if the band want to repay them with as many songs as possible, each welcomed with an eruption of cheers and an outburst of pounding fists, jumping bodies and even some swaying lighters in the air.

Effortlessly hurtling around the stage, Bennington seems to be everywhere at once with his blood curdling screams ripping their way through an infectiously visceral ‘Crawling’ before he is actually drowned out by the crowd’s wholehearted contribution to ‘In The End’ as they command control of the song much to the band’s delight and amazement. As ‘What I’ve Done’ explodes into life, crashing and charging with added fury and hostility, Linkin Park make a quick departure, fuelling speculation that they will return with a certain guest. Dragging out the anticipation it is a certain Jay-Z who returns to the stage with them, playing the only song fitting for an encore as ‘Numb/Encore’ sends everyone into a frantic flurry of excitement, topped only by the tracks contagious beats and hook swamped chorus. But Jay-Z isn’t content with one song and quickly they delve into ‘Jigga/Faint’ bringing the band’s previous collaborations with the rapper to life for a UK audience for the first time and truly making this stint of the Project revolution tour unique.

Having delivered a set that ushered in the old with the new, the rare with the hits, as well as providing a collaboration with one of the biggest rap artists, Linkin park should have really been done by this point but still the band seem reluctant to leave. After asking if the crowd want another song, greeted with overwhelming shouts of “yes”, the five piece storm into ‘Bleed It Out’, pulsatingly whipping the crowd into an overexcited frenzy of intensified energy and elated joy that brings Project Revolution to a astonishingly exhausting close. Project Revolution has made its UK debut but how Linkin Park will ever top it is anyone’s guess.