September 5, 2014
Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion - The Woodlands
The Woodlands, TX USA
Review by Lisa Sullivan
Photos by Michael Victorick
Carnivores Tour Rocks The Woodlands Pavilion
Linkin Park / Thirty Seconds to Mars / AFI
Let me start with a caveat. I am a huge Linkin Park fan. I have seen them on the last three tours and have found inspiration in their music since they first hit the scene. That being said, I felt it was really important to be hyper critical and look for any flaws I could find so this review would not appear to be biased. But, alas, there were none to be found. Linkin Park was precise and on the money and the fans got what they came for and more. For nearly two hours Linkin Park ripped through their standards, one after another, exuding a level of energy that invigorated everyone in the crowd from the front row to the back of the stadium.
Unfortunately due to the rush hour commute from Houston to The Woodlands, we missed AFI and arrived just after Thirty Seconds to Mars hit the stage. The band had powerful stage presence and great melodies, and had the crowd enraptured. I must have been the only person in the crowd who had never heard their music before, but I was instantly drawn in. They've got great hooks and catchy lyrics and were the perfect act to set the tone for the night.
Setup for Linkin Park went by quickly and the band hit the stage around 9:30, greeted by thunderous applause and flickering lighters and cell phones. They immediately slammed into one of the most urgent and aggressive tunes from the new release, Guilty All the Same, and they never let up. Given Up, With You, One Step Closer and Papercut followed in rapid-fire succession.
Though the band is comprised of only six members, they sound more like a full chorus or symphony, each member bringing his own unique personality and talents to a full myriad of instrumentation. As always, Chester soared with screeching vocals that somehow manage to remain shrill, heart-wrenching, and powerful no matter how many tunes he belts out, night after night. (My throat was sore for two days just from trying to sing along.) Mike provided the perfect balance to Chester, rapping, rhyming and adding mournful soulfulness at just the right times.
The rest of the band was stellar as well. Rob, Brad and Dave are all skilled musicians whose talents cannot be denied. While they aren't in the spotlight a lot, they conjure up some amazing tunes, and round out a dynamo in music that can't be touched by any other currently touring bands. And, of course, there's Mr. Hahn, who regaled the crowd with his antics on keyboards, turntables, and samples. He performed his obligatory solo - probably the only time the rest of the band got a chance to cool their heels - and entertained the crowd with his brilliance, accented by cages that dropped from the sky and crazy video clips.
The light show was not overwhelming but carefully planned out, and the perfect accent to each song as it was played. Screen shots, video clips and varying colors obediently served to accent what was happening on stage. Other musical highlights included "Wastelands," back to back ballads including "Leave Out All the Rest," "Shadow of the Day," and "Iridescent." "Waiting for the End," "Final Masquerade," "Somewhere I Belong," and "In the End" were also featured well before they ever kicked into the encore. My eight year old son started fading at this point but we got to hear the encore as we walked to the mall to find our car.
On a scale of 100, I'd give the night a 93. Strike 5 points for hosting the show at the Woodlands and the four freeway closures on the route home - yes four - I-45 at Shepherd, 610 at 45, 610 at 290, and 290 at 43rd. We ended up in far northwest Houston when we were trying to get home to southwest Houston. The drive home actually lasted longer than the concert. I'd throw in two more points if they ever played The Messenger and Hands Held High live. But, all in all, it was an unforgettable evening and the audience will not soon forget. Looking forward to the next show already!