Whenever a band is struck by tragedy, one of two things happen; it deals with the pain and emerge stronger than ever, or it folds under the pressure and dissolves into obscurity. For Mike Shinoda, the only option was to turn the pain he felt after the untimely and tragic passing of Chester Bennington into art. And like all good art, it tugs on your emotions in a compelling way.
Wednesday night, 22 August saw Mike Shinoda hit fans in Singapore with a wall of emotions. Performing in the Lion City for the first time since Linkin Park's headlining performance at the Singapore Grand Prix in 2011, Mike made his solo debut one to remember with a well-balanced mix of his solo material and fan favorites from Linkin Park and Fort Minor.
Fans of the Japanese-American rapper and musician showed up in droves, most of them decked out in Linkin Park t-shirts and black outfits. As everyone filled Zepp@BigBox, the crowd began chanting out Chester Bennington's name in tribute, with several members of the audience shouting out "We love you Chester! We miss you!" and slowly, the audience turned the chants for Chester into chants for Mike. Before long, the man of the hour burst onto the stage, jumping straight into Fort Minor's 'Petrified'. Almost instantaneously, the crowd began rapping along word-for-word, waving their hands from side-to-side.
Mike's backing band joined him onstage as they transitioned into 'Watching As I Fall' off Mike's debut solo effort Post Traumatic. Shortly after, the first singalong of the night occurred as Mike played the opening piano chords of Linkin Park's 'Castle Of Glass' with the crowd drowning out Mike's vocals, a testament to the power of Chester Bennington. As the song wrapped up, Mike greeted the crowd, thanking them for coming out to support him and for playing a large role in his road to recovery. Mike surprised fans with 'Hold It Together', which he remarked was the first time the song had ever been played live.
All throughout the set, Mike treated fans to material from his extensive discography with tracks like 'High Road', 'Papercut' and 'In The End', the latter of which saw the crowd sing along to Chester's parts so passionately that Mike was visibly shaken. The entire set saw fans go through a myriad of emotions, from jumping up and down during 'Bleed It Out' to crying their hearts out during 'In The End'.
The night can be summed up in one word – cathartic. Mike and his fans celebrated life and death, they wept together, they laughed together and they came out of it feeling better. So thank you, Mike. I might have missed my chance to catch Linkin Park live in Singapore but with that performance, I'm finally at peace with that.
Mike Shinoda's set list:
- 'Petrified' - Fort Minor
- 'Watching As I Fall'
- 'Castle Of Glass' - Linkin Park
- 'Hold It Together' - Live debut
- 'When They Come For Me' - Linkin Park
- 'Roads Untraveled' - Linkin Park
- 'Waiting For The End'/'Where'd You Go' - Linkin Park/Fort Minor mashup
- 'Sorry For Now' - Linkin Park
- 'Crossing A Line'
- 'In The End' - Linkin Park
- 'About You'
- 'Over Again'/'Papercut' - Mike Shinoda/Linkin Park mashup
- 'High Road' - Fort Minor
- 'Make It Up As I Go'
- 'Good Goodbye'/'Bleed It Out' - Linkin Park mashup
- 'Welcome' - Fort Minor
- 'Remember The Name' - Fort Minor
- 'Running From My Shadow'
Special thanks to LAMC Productions for the invite.