“Thank you Hong Kong for supporting us, especially during this past year - which has been one of the toughest,” said Mike Shinoda to a galvanised crowd at Kitec this evening. And if the sombre reaction from his audience is any indication, Shinoda's words couldn't be more true.
Post Traumatic is Shinoda’s first solo album, and first set of songs released after the death of his Linkin Park bandmate, Chester Bennington.
“But tonight is not a sad concert,” he exclaimed, as he made his way across the stage. “Tonight, we celebrate the ones we have lost,” he said before launching into the Fort Minor song, Welcome, and the energy from the audience felt palpable.
Over the course of 90 minutes, the unassuming rock star took command of the stage, and powered through a tightly woven arrangement from his new album, as well as numbers from his Linkin Park and Fort Minor days.
Other Linkin Park songs Shinoda performed included Castle of Glass, Hands Held High, and Road Untravelled, which were all received with loud cheers, and many joined in on the singing: a clear indicator of any cult favourite song.
His politically charged, Kenji, explored Japanese-American internment in the United States during the second world war, which saw approximately 120,000 individuals of Japanese ancestry forced to relocate to concentration camps, and the emotional impact that it had on his family. The song tells the story of Shinoda’s grandfather, who emigrated to America from Japan at the age of 15.
Throughout the concert, Shinoda makes it a point to engage with his fans, sometimes even speaking directly to one person in the audience. “Will you write a song with me?” he asked one fan.
But perhaps the highlight of the evening, etched in memory for any who attended the performance, was the emotional and rehabilitating moment when Shinoda had the audience fill in for Bennington in the song, In The End. The single that catapulted Linkin Park to superstardom among teenagers around the world.
As the concert progresses, it becomes clear that Post Traumatic is Shinoda’s musical diary. Over Again, Ghosts, and Running From My Shadow demonstrates the album's healing power for the singer, and perhaps this world tour is a journey from grief to celebration for Shinoda.
Arguably one of the biggest rock bands of its generation, Linkin Park’s success cannot be denied. But tonight Shinoda proved his solo presence is just as striking, and his songs speak to anybody who has lost someone special in their lives. Not only did Shinoda leave his audience entertained, he also paid respect to a man and friend with whom he once shared a stage.