But on Tuesday night at
Often, Leto seemed to be trying a bit too hard. He strode onstage wearing a gold crown and a customized white lab coat over a white shirt and white pants; with his full beard and caramel- and coffee-colored locks that fell almost halfway down his back, he looked a bit like Jesus in aviator shades.
As he sang 2010 hit "This Means War," dozens of gigantic balloons were released on the crowd. Later, confetti rained on it. During newer single "Do or Die," he twirled an American flag like a samurai sword. And before finishing up with "Closer to the Edge," he invited about 50 fans onstage to jump up and down in the background as he belted.
Those are gimmicks. They're amiable gimmicks, and Leto bolstered them with charm and an easy rapport with the crowd -- but they're still gimmicks.
Bennington came out in a denim-colored button-down shirt, sleeves rolled up, untucked over jeans (the shirt later came off). Rapper/guitarist/keyboardist/producer
And all they did was play. Hit after hit after hit after hit.
If you know the venerable band, you know its unique, time-tested formula: Bennington, now 38, sings tuneful rock melodies, but regularly tears into guttural, throat-shredding growl-screams; Shinoda, 37, plays keys or guitar and jumps in routinely with a crisp, bold rap, flinging his axe behind him so it hangs low as he rhymes, whipping his hand up and down with bravado.
Picking just one highlight is difficult. The rock-hip-hop-reggae fusion that is "Waiting for the End" came off magnificently, elevated by Bennington's donning of a Tar Heels hat foisted on him by a fan. Shinoda dusted off 2005 pump-you-up rap anthem "Remember the Name" -- by his side project
And solos by drummer
There was no banter, no storytelling. At one point,
This is not to mention the fact that Bennington's ability to do so much screaming without turning his vocal cords into mush defies both logic and the laws of physiology. It's like his voice is a superpower, like he should be wearing a cape -- or a crown.
Maybe going forward he should wear Leto's?
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