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Concert Reviews:
Linkin Park's MIke Shinoda rises above at Fillmore concert
 

By Gary Graff
ggraff@digitalfirstmedia.com, @GraffonMusic on Twi

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DETROIT -- Mike Shinoda enters a venue these days as more than just a solo act from a famous band.



The Linkin Park co-founder and co-frontman's current trek, promoting his solo album "Post Traumatic," comes with a certain weight as the first public outing by anyone from the band since the suicide of the group's Chester Bennington nearly 16 months ago. Like other shows on the tour, then, his performance Friday night, Nov. 16, at the Fillmore Detroit served as a combination concert and public wake for Shinoda's fallen bandmate -- and, in a way, for the band itself, which is currently in dry-dock and has not signaled what, if anything, it plans to do next.



Shinoda was clearly aware of this duality during his 85-minute show on Friday and carefully, if somewhat tentatively, straddled the line between performance and homage. Joined by two additional musicians, he certainly didn't avoid his past, including more than a dozen Linkin Park songs -- along with several from his Fort Minor project -- in the set and acknowledging the band's friendly history with the metro area, including two early career concerts at the Fillmore (then the State Theatre). And the show's most heartfelt and moving moment came during back-to-back solo renditions of "Heavy" and "In the End," during which he encouraged the Fillmore crowd to "make Chester proud" as he led them through Bennington's sung parts of the song while Shinoda delivered his raps.



Before that pairing Shinoda spoke about Linkin Park's desire to "keep trying new things and trying to grow," noting that "this band made a bunch of crazy (stuff), and you liked some of it. Thank you." And he admonished fans to be careful about what they posted on social media, cautioning that "words are stronger than you think."



What the rest of the night made clear, however, was Shinoda's investiture in his own music. A rapper at heart, Shinoda really tore into "Post Traumatic's" intensely personal material, from the soulful "World's On Fire" to the surging singalongs of "Make It Up as I Go" and "Ghosts." Shinoda, who played keyboards and guitar as well, created a few new moments, too, as he mashed together Fort Minor's "Where'd You Go" with Linkin Park's "Waiting For the End" and, later, "Post Traumatic's" "Over Again" into Linkin Park's "Papercut."



The encore, meanwhile, featured charged renderings of Fort Minor's "Petrified" and X-Ecutioners' "It's Goin' Down," as well as a Linkin Park one-two punch of "Good Goodbye" and "Bleed it Out." Members of Britain's Don Broco, which opened the show, joined Shinoda for the finale of Linkin Park's "A Place For My Head."



Few artists get to "start" a solo career with as hearty a past as Shinoda enjoys, and on Friday he occasionally seemed encumbered by that legacy -- or, as he put in song, "Running From My Shadow." But his pride in it was evident, too, and that helped make the show more about the music than mourning, and about celebrating a durable, and still growing, body of work.

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