Hybrid Theory was half an hour long. Meteora was not much longer. An hour for a gig, even with the entire discography played back-to-back. Nevertheless, my attempt to catch them supporting Deftones many years ago was futile as it sold out fast. After Meteora, I kinda lost touch with their material. Then four years later, they finally came up with new material after a couple of remix albums / Jay-Z collaborations / Fort Minor thingemabobs. Yup, I finally got to see them when I’ve not done any drop-D jams on the guitar to Points of Authority. Then again, it’s Linkin Park. I’m sure to know the tunes. Kinda like “is this Papercut or One Step Closer?” know the tunes.

I was very surprised to hear Biffy Clyro opening for the likes of corporate rock. I have their Vertigo of Bliss CD which I didn’t really like, until I caught the vid for Who’s Got a Match on telly. They were fantastically raw (you guys should know by now how I like watching three-piece bands that sound heavy), but I felt they were so out of place this Friday evening. But don’t get me wrong, Biffy’s an intensely tight band to catch.

It was like a 45-minute wait and I thought Julien-K was playing next, during which time was kinda swearing under my breathe a lot. This long for a rehashed has-been (ex-Orgy)? However, I was thankfully proven wrong when the silhouettes of five guys were projected onscreen to the pounding intro of No More Sorrow.

It was a weird crowd, demographically. I felt some of the punters were of the wrong age (this review writer, notwithstanding). One thing you have to remember, though, people grow up. The young ‘uns listening to them in 1999 are probably now station wagon-driving young parents driving living in the suburbs. With three albums under their belt, Linkin Park didn’t disappoint. Whilst I didn’t really listen to Meteora bar three tunes, I thought Hybrid had no duff tunes through and through, as I was expecting for the evening’s performance. Some of the tunes had been rehashed slightly, but when the first few recognisable notes were played, the crowd immediately became 18 once again jumping to Papercut and Breaking the Habit.

With Minutes to Midnight having a few more mellow tunes like Leave Out, I guess Chester Bennington could give his larynx a break after all that screaming. Was disappointed that they didn’t do In Between as it’ll be interesting to hear Mike Shinoda sing for once. He played the piano and acoustic on throat-resting tunes like Little Thing, where Brad Delson played a solo on the Strat (another new thing for Linkin Park). Joe Hahn didn’t do much behind his Mac and keys, apart from performing menial duties of throwing a tuala to Mike and water bottles onto the crowd. In the End was another intense crowd moment before ending the main set with the U2-esque riffing, clap-along Bleed it Out.

Most of the songs were from Minutes, and it was welcoming to hear them sound a little more organic. When they got back onstage, they played What I’ve Done and complimented that this was the best crowd they’ve played to. I couldn’t help myself but to mutter “righttt…”. This is a band that played to a near-million crowd in China recently. Tak pe la, lasi orang Sheffield rasa seronok sikit. I did feel seronok too. Managed to snag meself a limited edition Sheffield-only silkscreen mini poster (37 out of 150), similar to the Ames Bros ones you get for Pearl Jam. That aside, it was another evening that corporate rock didn’t disappoint.

The Arena, Sheffield 25.01.08 set: No More Sorrow / Don’t Stay / Somewhere I Belong / Wake / Given Up / Lying From You / Papercut / Points of Authority / Leave Out All the Rest / Numb / The Little Things Give You Away / Shadow of the Day / Breaking the Habit / Valentine’s Day / Crawling / In the End / Bleed It Out // What I’ve Done / Pushing Me Away // One Step Closer / Faint

[Set list from the message boards on linkinpark.com]