Key Points:

Chris Cornell was selling out stadiums when Linkin Park were still at high school. But it makes sense the two should join forces for their sell-out New Zealand gigs. Both are heavy rockers with a sensitive side, love decibels as much as soaring melodies and share a bogan love of rock that doesn't discriminate against the softies.

Backed by his new band and standing tall in skinny jeans and white tee, Cornell was the picture of experience, a man who has rocked out so many stadiums he could do it with eyes closed.

His set borrowed heavily from his old repertoire: a grand rendition of Audioslave's Like a Stone, a frantic metal version of Soundgarden's Rusty Cage and, cheekiest of all, a lumbering version of Black Hole Sun. If Spoonman wasn't quite so thrilling he might not have got away with it.

Linkin Park upped the intensity through volume, effects and sheer manpower. Opening with a visceral One Step Closer set to pulsing back-lighting, and standing wide-legged on a set that resembled a construction site, their set was frosty yet exhilarating.

Much of it hinged on third album Minutes to Midnight and a solid backlog of hits from their previous two, Meteora and Hybrid Theory. Singer Chester Bennington stripped off his black suit to reveal his tattooed, cut torso, while sharing ringman status and verbal interplay with MC Mike Shinoda, the rhythm section focusing on keeping the groove, particularly the military-style beats from drummer Rob Bourdon.

It was a distant yet engaging performance that proved rap-rock isn't dead - it's reconfigured through drum'n'bass (Breaking the Habit), brazen funk (highlight Bleed It Out) and emotional angst (Crawling).

LP also flexed plenty of decibel-heavy muscle on Given Up, in which singer Chester Bennington proved his lung capacity matches Axl Rose when it comes to singing about "Misereeeeeeeeeeey".

They lost their momentum when Bennington was accompanied on keys for the soft-rock ballads Leave Out All the Rest and the saccharine anthem, Pushing Me Away. It was also a pretty standard performance of Numb.

But with enough big hits and playtime with the dynamics, fans went home feeling anything but.