Projekt Revolution Tour 2007
with Linkin Park, My Chemical Romance, HIM, Saosin and more…
Jones Beach, NY • 8/15/2007
After a two year hiatus, the Projekt Revolution Tour is back on the road and for the first time without any rap groups getting in the way of the rock. Mixing rock and rap groups on a tour was a revolutionary idea back in 2002 when Linkin Park started the tour, but after only three years the tour went away, only to reemerge this year with a solid rock bill. With heavy commercial sponsorship, no rap (except for Mike Shnoda on many Linkin Park songs) and a Warped Tour-influenced Skate Park – the only revolutionary thing that remains is the misspelling of project. With all that said, this year’s tour has a great variety of rock bands, and at times is even enjoyable.
Over at the Revolution stage, I caught Saosin already into their second song. I was slightly perplexed at the need for two stages, since none of the set times overlap, but not wanting that to cloud my mind I quickly joined the crowd and got lost in the wonder that is Saosin. After gathering a large following in Southern California, from where the band originates, lead singer Anthony Green unexpectedly quit the band. After an extensive search for a new singer, the band choose Cove Reber, a young and inexperienced singer from the same area in Southern California with a surprisingly similar vocal range to that of Anthony. During their performance I was impressed by how far Cove has taken this band, and how well he can sing Anthony-era songs like “Seven Years.” Bands nowadays are known by their singer’s voice, and for Cove to be able to take over from someone as unique-sounding as Anthony Green says a lot about his abilities as a singer. As Cove explained it to me on their tour bus before their set, “people tend to compare Anthony and me, more than other bands that try so hard to copy him, and I’m not even trying to copy him. I can name 10 bands right now that try to do exactly what Anthony does.” The highlight of their show was their performance of their latest single “You’re Not Alone” which I think is their greatest work to date. It still has that original feeling of a Saosin song, but at the same time heads in a brilliant new direction.
I didn’t realize it at the time, but my euphoria from watching Saosin was about to be crushed by the worst musical performance I had ever seen, at the hands of Mindless Self Indulgence. While a few of their songs are slightly tolerable to listen to in the safety of your own home, their live show is disturbing to say the least. James Euringer, the bands lead singer, who goes by the stage name of “Little Jimmy Urine,” told the crowd of pre-teens and teenagers “I managed to stop jerking off in order to come out here” and while looking down his pants exclaimed, “you better give me a boner” which was met by cheers of exuberant adolescent admiration. That was Jimmy Urine on his best behavior, when you consider that the controversial singer is known for drinking his own urine on stage, and was even arrested for attempting to light his own pubic hair on fire during a show in Detroit. Take equal parts of Insane Clown Posse, Death Metal and a pile of shit and you still don’t have the crappiness that is Mindless Self Indulgence – and I thought Shock Rock was dead.
It would be pretty hard for my Projekt Revolution experience to get much worse, thought I, as I headed over to the main stage for the rest of the day’s festivities. The opening band on the main stage was Julien-K whose job, as they put it, was to wake us up for the rest of the bands that night. While I wasn’t asleep by the end of their performance, I wasn’t particularly awake. The same can be said for the British rockers Placebo who didn’t seem to excite the crowd much either.
I had great hope that the Finnish rock band HIM would rescue the crowd from the nose dive that the concert had taken with the past three bands, but I was sadly mistaken. While his voice at times sounded great, lead singer Ville Valo barely moved from the stationary microphone. He just stood singing and constantly smoking the entire set, as if he had somewhere better to be. The only interesting thing about their set was watching Valo’s neck vein pop out in the shape of a pitchfork when he sang.
The band that finally got the concert back on track was Taking Back Sunday. Their stage presence was actually alive and energetic – a first for the main stage. The back of the stage was draped in a red curtain and while a large marquee with the band name flashing really helped give this band an interesting vibe. Dressed in a red plaid shirt, Adam Lazzara, the band’s lead singer, jumped around the stage and swung the microphone violently in the air by the chord. They performed the hell out of “MakeDamnSure” and the crowd was finally energized.
My Chemical Romance, the next band to hit the stage, was the biggest surprise of the concert. Judging from my disdain for their music, I was expecting to be equally unimpressed by their live show – but I was wrong. The band entered the stage with streams of fire shooting up into the air behind them, lighting up a giant tapestry of angry wolves worked into the band name at the back of the stage. While songs like “Welcome to the Black Parade” and “Famous Last Words” still sound as unappealing as ever, the energy that the band puts into their performance makes them surprisingly enjoyable. They are an amazing band to see live, if you can put up with the high-pitched screaming of their teenage fans.
While Linkin Park didn’t have any pyrotechnics, they made up for it with an amazing light show and pure energy during their performance. With over 40 million albums sold and two Grammys in their hands, I expected a great deal from this band, and they didn’t let me down. The band entered the stage behind a large veil with their silhouettes only visible, and in dramatic fashion the veil dropped as they began to play. They have a great way of interacting with their fans, and they bring such emotion to their songs that you can’t help but get into the music. When I saw that they were scheduled to play for 1 hour and 45 minutes, I couldn’t imagine that they would be able to keep up the same intensity that their songs put out. At the end of “Numb” most of the band left the stage leaving Mike Shonda on piano taking over the end of the song, and Chester Bennington waiting patiently in the front of the stage. Mike altered the end of “Numb” with a beautifully crafted piano part, and continued it into a duet with Chester on “Breaking The Habit.” It was great to see a different side of Linkin Park, and it really showed how talented they are as musicians. The only disappointment of their performance was Mike’s rap interlude on “Points of Authority” (which was met with an awkward silence from the crowd) and “The Little Things That Give You Away,” a song written for the victims of Hurricane Katrina, which comes across as very contrived. Overall I was very impressed by Linkin Park’s performance. They have really mastered their stage presence, and it will be interesting to see how they progress as they mature as musicians.
Linkin Park: http://linkinpark.com/ ◼