Linkin Park stay live. That's instantly apparent from the first distorted din to blast through the P.A. on the band's brand new live CD/DVD, Road to Revolution: Live at Milton Keynes. In fact, Road to Revolution is one of those rare live packages that works on every level. It captures Linkin Park's onstage intensity, and it sounds slick to boot. Culling a sublime set list from all three of their studio albums, Linkin Park definitely chose the right show to record. There's no shortage of hits, and the songs take on a new vibrancy that's sure to please longtime fans and draw in some newbies as well. All in all, it's a road well worth traveling with them.
Recorded during the band's June 29th appearance at Milton Keynes, Road to Revolution shows Linkin Park at their most fierce, fiery and furious. Kicking off the set with their first bona fide hit, "One Step Closer," vocalists Chester Bennington and Mike Shinoda instantly ignite the mosh pit. The song brandishes a much heavier edge live, and Bennington's voice swings like a guillotine from pristine to punishing. Linkin Park don't waste any time, and each song flows into the next, with "From the Inside" instantly tailing "One Step Closer." The heavier fare like "Given Up" and "No More Sorrow" crushes and soars as necessary. Electronic flourishes coat the jagged guitars live, and Linkin Park achieve arena rock perfection on "Lying from You."
The interplay between Shinoda and Bennington channels the classic dual harmonies of Layne Staley and Jerry Cantrell. However, both vocalists also possess a hip hop swagga, canvassing the stage like wolves on the hunt. That swag serves them well, when Jay-Z shows up for genre-bending live renditions of "Numb/Encore" and "Jigga What/Faint" from their boundary-breaking collaboration Collision Course album. With mash-ups via indie heroes like Girl Talk all the rage right now, it proves that Linkin Park and Jay-Z were (and still are) way ahead of their time.
The slower songs, "The Little Things Give You Away" and "Leave Out All The Rest," felt like a resurrection of U2's earlier melancholic pop stylings. However, the real standout is "Breaking the Habit." Chester's voice sounds stripped bare, but he pours a lot of heart into the track. Taking center stage over a dreamy piano melody, he guides the song to heights of rock ecstasy.
Road to Revolution is a live record packs the punch of a Linkin Park show, without the stench and sweat. On an eight-minute jam for "Bleed It Out" all hell breaks loose, and the song illuminates everything great about Linkin Park. Cranked up, these songs kill. Linkin Park deserve to continue their reign on the road and the charts.
- Rick Florino