HOLMDEL, NJ—Any doubts of how Projekt Revolution would turn out were probably surrounded around the line-up. It’s hard to set up a tour with such a variety of different bands, especially when their musical styles clash; it makes it difficult for fans to find middle ground. If it weren’t for both Chris Cornell and Linkin’ Park, the show would have been mediocre at best. The lightning storms and heavy rain that came after the sun went down weren’t enough to make people want to leave early.
Even though the opening bands weren’t as eventful as the main acts, some did put on good performances. I missed Armor For Sleep, but Hawthorne Heights had maybe two or three songs that appealed to more than a handful of people.
Ten Years came on after them and did a better job of attracting those who were just wandering around. With a sizable audience forming, it didn’t feel like a parking lot anymore. Vocalist Jesse Hasek worked the crowd over well enough to get a decent response and set the tone for Atreyu.
Hundreds piled over top to get closer to the stage for Atreyu. The band has an awkward combination at times of screaming and singing. It’s not as noticeable on their albums as it is live. Every time the singer, Alex Varkatzas, would hype up the crowd with his deep vocals, drummer Brandon Saller would come in with a ballot like singing. It was like changing between a metal band and an alternative band. Despite the mixed reactions, they did a lot better than anyone else outside of Cornell and LP.
On the main stage, people were disappointed when they found out Busta Ryhmes was a no-show, instead we got Street Drum Corps. They were your run-of-the-mill punk band. I was expecting drumming to be the emphasis of the band but it never seemed like it. It should have been. They struggled to get some good attention.
The Bravery seemed to inherit some of the same problems Street Drum went through. People at the show wanted bands similar to Cornell and LP, everything else wasn’t good enough. Their techno-influenced rock was good enough to keep the “Boos” away. Having seen them before, it was refreshing to hear songs like “Fearless,” “Honest Mistake,” “Believe,” and some other songs off The Sun And The Moon again.
I wasn’t sure what to expect from Chris Cornell and I’m not sure anyone else did either. I’d never heard of any of his solo stuff so it was great to hear him come out with an Audioslave song. One song from his solo album that I did like was “Long Gone”; it reminded me of his older stuff. The whole set was Soundgarden and Audioslave with maybe four songs outside that. I never thought I’d be hearing “Spoonman” live, I do know that much. A couple of songs in and everyone was on their feet, but for anyone that was sitting, they surely got up for “Hunger Strike.” During the chorus, Cornell was joined by Chester Bennington from LP. Of all of his Audioslave songs, “Like A Stone” was a true crowd pleaser as Cornell did an acoustic version of it.
But the most memorable moment of the night was during “Black Hole Sun” when Cornell walked off the side of the stage and jumped out to the grass on the side. He went down on his knees with no one around and the spotlight on him. He hopped back over and made his way to the middle of the theater and was surrounded by fans. Any one that really wanted to be around him rushed down and did so. You couldn’t even see him anymore and all that you could hear were the hundreds of fans alongside him singing to “Black Hole Sun” at the top of their lungs.
Following such a kick ass performance from Cornell, I was ready to go. I needed to be reminded by the LP fans that their was someone else coming up. Of course I stuck around, LP always puts on a great live show, and this time was no different. They had a drum intro leading right into “No More Sorrow.” For anyone that was putting up with all the other bands to get to LP, their grief was over. The ridiculous rain and lighting wasn’t sending anyone home. Tons of people were hopping over from the lawn to get a dry spot and there wasn’t an empty seat around, I was sharing my seat area with two other people. The performance in front of all us was enough to make us forget about everything else.
Linkin Park had a lot more songs from Hybrid Theory and Meteora than they did at last year’s show, still they played half of their latest album during their set too. They played “Numb,” “Faint,” “Breaking The Habit,” “Pushing Away” and “Points Of Authority,” just to name a few. A couple of their songs featured some rapping from Mike Shinoda. I want to say some of those raps came from his Fort Minor project but I’m not exactly positive. During “Crawling,” Chris Cornell came out and did some back-up vocals, which was another one of those highlights.
Its tough to get the crowd into a show, especially when they’ve been out all day waiting and waiting, but LP always knows how to please a crowd and it was no different this time out.
Photo Credit: James Minchin