Mike Shinodat in Tel Aviv, March 25, 2019 (Orit Pnini).
(photo credit: ORIT PNINI)
As dozens of rockets were being launched from Gaza on the South of the country Monday night and residents were gathering in shelters, a couple thousand young music fans in Tel Aviv were swaying and singing in the sold-out cavernous Hangar 11 in Tel Aviv. Was it an act of defiance or simply a realization that in Israel, you grab whatever joy you can?
On this night, it was Mike Shinoda who provided the joy, with a riveting two-hour performance. It was more than a performance though. The Linkin Park vocalist – who last performed in Israel at Hayarkon Park in 2010 – provided healing powers and salvation for fans still devastated by the 2017 suicide of his band’s co-frontman Chester Bennington.
His unflagging energy, good cheer and sense of authenticity permeated every song in the set – based on his lengthy solo career along with a few Linkin Park nuggets. Backed by Israeli drummer Dan Mayo and multi-instrumentalist Matt Harris, Shinoda nimbly moved from animated hip-hop verses to rousing metal sing-along choruses, with the audience’s voices acting as full band members.
During an interlude featuring a solo Shinoda on piano performing some old classics, he let the crowd take lead vocals. In between songs, instead of the usual rock-star “great to be in Cleveland” patter, Shinoda told stories about his life, his love of Israel and engaged with the audience.
On a night when there was a sense of uncertainty over possible war and a sad puzzlement over the loss of one of their heroes, those gathered needed to feel like they belonged and that there was hope. Mike Shinoda provided it.
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