Linkin Park Live in Texas DVD/CD
Grade
C+
 
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Track List:
1. Don't Stay
2. Somewhere I Belong
3. Lying From You
4. Papercut
5. Points of Authority
6. Runaway
7. Faint
8. From the Inside
9. Figure.09
10. With You
11. By Myself
12. P5HNG ME A*WY
13. Numb
14. Crawling
15. In the End
16. A Place for My Head
17. One Step Closer

Overview: These recordings are culled from two live shows that Linkin Park did in Texas as part of their Summer Sanitarium Tour this past summer. Their DJ/uber-producer Gabe Hahn put the DVD and Album together in time for Christmas, and I'm just now getting around to reviewing it. Though I am a big Linkin Park fan, I'm not generally a fan of concert videos or live albums, so I definitely didn't have a positive bias before exposure to this.

DVD: The DVD is actually very well done. Simple, but well done. Pop it in and you enter onto a song selection screen with highlights playing in the background. You can watch the 'complete' concert as put together from the two shows (though it flows pretty seamlessly) or just whichever song you want. If you watch the whole thing, it starts with the band being golf-carted up to the back of the stage while the music is warming up. The fans cheer and the band gets adjusted to their instruments, then begins to rock out. They put on a good show, but there's not much more to see than some sparkly background billboards and some guys jumping off speakers. The show is during the day in an open stadium, so there's not much for lightwork, any fireworks or U2-style stage props. The concert footage ends with the band leaving in golf carts back the way they came. The video is pretty good, though, as I said, there's not really much to see. The audio is excellent, kicking around on the Dolby Surround. Blast your stereo and enjoy. Honestly, the problem is just that I can't imagine anyone wanting to watch this more than once in a blue moon. You'd have to be a rabid fan to want to just sit and watch footage of a concert over and over. I could understand watching a music video, which involves a certain artistry, but this is really just a concert that you're not interacting with or present for. If that's your bag, then I'm sure this will do ya, but I can't imagine this appealing to that many people. There are no extra features, no behind-the-scenes, making-of, or cutting-room-floor featurettes. No footage of the band goofing around, or interviews. Very disappointing on that score.

CD: The disc that comes with the DVD is exactly the same tracks as are on the video, minus five (Don't Stay, Figure.09, With You, By Myself, & A Place for My Head) and less a little talking to the crowd from the DVD. It flows in the same order, and is edited well so that if you didn't watch the DVD you wouldn't think of any tracks as being 'missing'. My beef here is that the CD only comes in at about 42 minutes…I don't see why those tracks couldn't have been included as well, other than LP's long-standing policy of releasing ultra-short albums (Re-Animated being the notable exception.) Anyway, what's here is pretty good. The track list is nearly impeccable, even including songs like Faint, Numb, and Lying From You, which became hits after this DVD came out. I find that a lot of rock bands tend to have their vocals drowned out live; I've seen LP live, and this can be a problem for them, too. This isn't much of a problem on the album however, as they must've tooled with the levels to bring Chester's vocals even with the guitars. Still, LP is a band that's benefited from mixing and sound design in the studio, and trying to replicate these songs exactly live can be somewhat problematic. On the albums, Chester belts out vocals and stretches them into long screams that overlap with the onset of new lyrics. Live, they have yet to replicate this effect. Sometimes the MC, Mike Shinoda, sings a little over Chester to create an overlap, and sometimes Chester just cuts the vocals a little short to be able to sing the next line on time, in which case the song suffers slightly in comparison to the album. Songs that suffer a little in this respect are Papercut, Points of Authority, and Runaway. Still, for the most part, Chester hits all the notes, including some gut-wrenching screams you'd swear were edited in the studio, but you can see him pull off on the DVD…the man's got lungs. The songs from the most recent album come off much better. Perhaps the last studio recording was more reflective of what LP has learned through their extensive touring over the past few years? Anyway, Mike Shinoda is in fine form lyrically, pulling off a particularly blistering version of Faint. The music is perfect. The best part about live shows is seeing the artists change up the songs a little from the versions you're used to hearing. While LP doesn't do that a lot, you can see how some of the songs have been informed from the process of 're-animating' them on the second album. Some slightly altered lyrics here and there, a few different beats from Mr. Hahn. In particular, P5HNG ME A*WY is a full on Nu-metal version of the old song, with plodding guitars and a darker feel. In the end, the CD is the hidden gem in this package. It doesn't add to the cost of the DVD at all, and while you might not watch the DVD more than once, if you're a fan of Linkin Park, you'll probably listen to this live album almost as much as any of their other albums. Overall this package is only going to be for hardcore LP fans, but I guess there's enough out there that they won't be disappointed.

- - Jeff Light

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