A little less than a year ago, the death of Linkin Park’s frontman Chester Bennington by way of suicide rattled the entire music community. Longtime friend and band mate Mike Shinoda was hit even harder as he struggled to understand, why did this happen? Naturally, Shinoda took time like any human being would to process this tragic event. Just over a year later, Mike Shinoda released his solo debut album titled Post Traumatic.
Post Traumatic was Mike Shinoda’s way of processing and dealing with this tragic event. Songs like “Looking for an Answer” signified that he was still in the process of grievance. Writing an album wasn’t going to solve all his problems but creating new music was a starting point for him to move on and figure out what it means for him to be artist in 2018 without his longtime friend and collaborator.
Mike Shinoda hit the road on October 10, 2018 for the first date of the Monster Energy North American Outbreak Fall Tour in Montreal, QC. This tour is Shinoda’s opportunity to show his fans what a solo performance looks like. Shinoda pulled out music from his extensive catalogue including songs from his lesser known early 2000’s hip-hop side project, Fort Minor as well as song his most recent solo debut album Post Traumatic.
His set list for the night included wide variety of music and mashups including “Where’d You Go” and “Remember the Name” from Fort Minor’s 2005 studio album The Rising Tied. Shinoda performance was high in energy as the crowd matched his level with a massive amount of positive vocal support throughout the entire show. One male patron kept yelling “We Love You Mike” throughout the entire night. Fans couldn’t help but smile. At one point, Shinoda even broke his seriousness and cracked a smile. Just looking around the room you could tell how many people were so genuinely happy to be able to see him considering most weren’t sure if he would ever tour again.
Shinoda recalled stories about his earlier days when he was just started out taking piano lessons and how asked his piano teacher how to play melodies from popular, non-traditional songs. After he showed much success with his formal piano lessons, Shinoda’s teacher encouraged him to quit and to start making his own music. She could see his passion and talent for music at a young age. “I spent all my money buying stuff” Shinoda said referring to musical instruments and production equipment he purchased as he began mixing and mashing up songs that he thought was “weird” or different. Shinoda recalled a notable mashup between Michael Jackson, Led Zeppelin and Wu-Tang Clan and another one with James Brown and Biggie (The Notorious B.I.G.).
The most emotional part of the show was when Shinoda took a few minutes to speak to the audience very openly and directly “I want to take a minute to just talk to you guys, there’s a thing about when you become as big a band as Linkin Park has been”. The crowd began cheering very loudly. Shinoda politely interrupted “You can say ‘Yea’ and you can get excited about it and there are parts of it that are awesome and exciting, but there are parts of it that are a little bit not.” Shinoda spoke very openly about the mental and physical challenges of a touring musicians life and how it isn’t always glamorous as it looks.
Shinoda began to talk about Chester. “When it came to getting on stage, He was just a beast, he had magic”. The crowd cheered louder than I had heard them all night.
Mike Shinoda concluded his conversation with the crowd by honoring his late friend Chester Bennington with an emotional ballad of one of Linkin Park’s most famous songs “In The End”. Shinoda asked the audience as always to sing Chester’s vocals in the song.
It was a very powerful and emotional moment in the night as the entire audience sang “I tried so hard and got so far. But in the end, it doesn’t even matter”. Several people in the audience began to cry.
Shinoda quickly lifted everyone’s spirits “I always want to take these moments to remember that this stuff doesn’t have to be sad. He was so great and we have an opportunity to just appreciate and be grateful for the great music that we got to make with him, (grateful) that we got to enjoy it with him and the great performances we got to see. So, thank you for being a part of that” Shinoda concluded.
Mike Shinoda’s show gave us a glimpse at the raw emotions we all experience and have to deal with in life. Shinoda preformed several songs off his new album Post Traumatic, mashups with fort minor songs as well as playing a tribute to his former band mate and late friend Chester Bennington. By keeping Linkin Park’s music alive, Shinoda as well as the rest of us will remember Chester’s legacy for years to come. While exiting the venue, one patron told me it felt like Mike Shinoda was gave all his fans some sense of closure to this painful chapter in life.