The first thing you’ll notice at any Mike Shinoda show is that Linkin Park fans are a dedicated bunch. People were camping out beginning as early as 3 a.m., braving the cold, windy London day. Members of the Linkin Park Underground, the group’s worldwide fanbase, passed out signs reading, “We missed you so much,” and had fans sign a large Union Flag to give to Shinoda. You felt immediately immersed in the group, making conversation with strangers and running into old friends.
What we witnessed was just a small part of the sense of community and family Shinoda and Linkin Park’s fanbase has established over the years. That connection is needed now more than ever. It’s been two years since Linkin Park singer Chester Bennington passed, and fans aren’t the only ones seeking recovery. Shinoda’s latest solo release Post Traumatic is a reflection on his grief and where he is going next.
The Roundhouse is a relatively small venue when one considers Shinoda’s popularity, holding a maximum capacity of 1,700 people. Most of the venues on this tour are around the same size, creating a level of intimacy between the artist and the fans that isn’t possible in a stadium setting.
The crowd was buzzing, anxiously waiting for the show to begin.The LaFontaines, a Scottish trio whose sound mixes nu-metal and pop melodies, opened the show during the London stop. The production was tight, each member in sync with each other, hitting note after note where needed for maximum effect. The group carried themselves confidently, earning praise from the crowd.
The excitement in the crowd became even more intense when the lights went out and the intro music kicked on. Shinoda emerged on stage to roaring cheers. He dived straight into the opening track, “Petrified,” a West Coast hip-hop-inspired track from Shinoda’s early solo days under the stage name Fort Minor. The set had something for everyone—from a fan request of “Step Up,” during which a fan loaned their phone to Shinoda who couldn’t remember some of the lyrics, to mashups of his solo work with Linkin Park tracks.
The two-time Grammy Award winner has a great intensity that he brings to his performances. One second he’s unassuming, calm and smiling, and the next, he’s rapping with great intensity, moving rapidly across the stage, each line clear and precise. With over 20 years of performing under his belt, the “Crossing A Line” singer is as lively as ever. He is an expressive artist, emphasizing his lyrics with facial expressions and hand movements to show the audience that he means every word he sings.
The connection between the audience and Shinoda was undeniable. He took time between songs to talk, crack jokes and even sign someone’s poster. There were chants of, “We love you, Mike,” and, “We’re so proud of you,” throughout the entire show. In return, Shinoda was constantly thanking the crowd for their support throughout the years, especially since Bennington’s passing.
Halfway through the show, the mood changed. The singer brought out Eg White, a guitarist he wrote with during the recording of Linkin Park’s most recent release One More Light. All around, people were singing their hearts out with Shinoda, wiping away tears. People hugged each other. Someone in the crowd shouted “Chester,” and everyone followed suit. Shinoda, on the verge of tears himself, thanked the crowd for shouting Bennington’s name and talked about the last time he and Bennington were in London, telling the crowd to tell their loved ones how much they appreciate them and to make sure they know.
“One More Light” was followed by “In The End,” for which Shinoda asked the audience to sing Bennington’s parts. Again, every voice became one as we yelled the lyrics at the top of our lungs, with phones and lighters over our heads.
Emotions ran high again as Shinoda brought out another One More Light collaborator, Jon Green, to perform two Linkin Park songs, “Battle Symphony” and “Nobody Can Save Me.” The crowd didn’t expect this, so sure enough, the tears started flowing again. This show was truly more than just another tour stop—it was a moment of release for Shinoda as well as the fans.
To close the show, Shinoda played “Running From My Shadow.” The mood instantly lightened as people begin moshing and Shinoda came down to the front of the pit. He emerged from the crowd, smiling from ear to ear, taking everything in. The lights came on, and everyone was exhausted, not just from standing, but from the intensity of the night as well.
Shinoda treated every person there like an old friend. This show wasn’t just so fans could see him perform again. It was a way for Shinoda to reach out. It was a way for everyone to come together after a tragedy and know that they have support. The show was not only a thank you to the fans, but a way to say that we can make it through this together.
Featured Image: Instagram (@m_shinoda)