Linkin Park and Incubus Wrap Up 2012 Honda Civic Tour in Southern California (LIVE REVIEW)
It's not easy to make an outdoor soccer stadium feel intimate and even club-like, but leave it to two of Southern California's most trusted and true bands to pull off the musical magic.
Though they've never toured together before (mind-boggling in a way), they did climb the ranks together to reach the rare heights that allow them to headline at this utmost level: Linkin Park and Incubus, together at last in what became one of the summer's hottest tickets. And what better way to close the much talked about Honda Civic Tour than with shows right in their own backyard (after this penultimate gig, the bands will wrap up the trek in San Diego on Sept. 10).
On Saturday, Sept. 8, the Home Depot Center in Carson, just outside of Los Angeles, became the scene of a wondrous summer night of full-throttle performances that no doubt took much of the crowd back to high school and and college, while also delivering a modern blast of music that was as intense as it was refreshing.
After a well-received opening set by the New Orleans alt-rock outfit Mutemath, Incubus took the stage with "Privilege," then proceeded to rage and wail through an epic 16-song set that nicely covered the band's year career. Given the recent news that Incubus would soon be taking an extended hiatus, the air was bittersweet among some fans, and the band made sure this send off show left everyone wanting more. Frontman Brandon Boyd, who'd been battling some recent throat issues, rose to the occasion and was his swaying, sashaying self throughout the night. There was much warmth back and forth between band and audience, lots of emotion and musical nuance, and as the show closed with "Tomorrow's Fool," the goodnight started to feel like a long and lingering goodbye.
About 20 minutes later, the Beastie Boys were cranked over the house PA, and it was time for the main event. Fresh on the heels of their blockbuster album, LIVING THINGS, it's been another huge year for LP. But for all of the sharp, smart, modern-age marketing of the music, this is at heart a live band that has always understood the power and dynamics of performance. Yes, there were jaw-dropping fireworks, towering columns of steam and fire, and brain-churning visuals across a multi-screen, multi-colored LED backdrop. But first and foremost, there was the music.
Against all of the crunching riffs and thick, syncopated beats, blasts and textures, the humanity of the music is never forgotten with LP. The soul-stirring energy of Mike Shinoda and Chester Bennington crossing each other's paths as they rapped, plus the sizzling, metallic and punky eletronica generated by Rob Bourdon, Brad Delson, Joe Hahn and Dave Farrell was breathtaking - but that's just how LP does things - that's what their musical DNA demands.
They fuse with their audience into one seamless organism that feeds and re-feeds on the music, growing stronger into the night along waves of soaring, throbbing, shimmering anthems.
LP staples like "Numb" and "One Step Closer" balanced nicely against the new songs, including a wild and blistering "Victimized" and a passionate reading of what has become the sound of this summer, "Burn It Down." All in all, this second to last night on the tour was a feast for the locals that have grown up with both headlining bands, in mind, body and spirit - this was a triumphant tour de force that left the crowd exhausted in only the way bands of this magnitude can deliver.
In particular, Linkin Park continues to push the spectrum and thresholds of the live concert experience, evolving in an upward spiral that makes one dizzy thinking about what just might be next.
Watch A Day in the Life of Linkin Park