By now you know what to expect from a Linkin Park concert: Fist-pumping anthems, over-the-top angst, and plenty of industrial strength grindfests like One Step Closer to help keep the moshpit bouncing.

And that's exactly what fans at last night's sold out Vector Arena show got. It was, for the most part, thoroughly predictable, yet thoroughly enjoyable.

Mike Shinoda delivered his amiable, occasionally awkward raps while Chester Bennington threatened to shatter windows with his ear-shredding screams as the Los Angeles-based band rapped and rocked through nu-metal openers Faint, Papercut and With You like it was 2002 all over again.

At this stage of their career, Linkin Park are polished professionals, delivering their brand of electronic and hip-hop-influenced rap-rock with the kind of pinpoint precision expected from a band with five top-selling albums behind them.


It's no longer cool to admit you're a fan, but for those that are, you're not going to see a bad Linkin Park show.

Which makes what happened next all the more surprising: For a brief moment, Linkin Park forgot who they were supposed to be and went stark raving mental. And it was awesome.

In possibly the most mind-blowing five minutes yet experienced at Vector Arena, the venue was turned into a kind of hellish future-rave complete with devilish dogs on a giant screen scanning the crowd with lasers beaming from their eyes.

Bennington wailed like a banshee. Shinoda yelped like a man possessed. Guitarist Brad Delson and bassist Dave Farrell stabbed at sample pads like some kind of heavy metal Kraftwerk. Yep, it was as good as that sounds.

The song was Victimized, and it's exactly the kind of futuristic electronic cacophony Linkin Park should do more of, if only to give underused DJ Joe Hahn more to do.

It may have been brief, but it showed why - unlike many of their nu-metal counterparts - Linkin Park have made it to 2013 intact: They're not afraid to experiment.

Some of the night's best tracks were rave influenced dancefloor stompers that wouldn't sound out of place in an Ibiza nightclub: The giant drum thumps and tribal chants of The Catalyst, the Mad Maxian doomsday thriller Lost in the Echo, the communal pop hooks, break beats and steel drums of Waiting For the End, and the Miike Snow synths and disco throb of Burn it Down.

Of course they have to play earnest anthems like Somewhere I Belong and Breaking the Habit, but the bored look on Hahn's face while he waited for the band to finish Numb said it all.

How awesome would it be if they had a whole album's worth of Victimized-style tracks to play? Do it boys, you know you want to.

Earlier, Corey Taylor took off his mask and unveiled his Slipknot side project Stone Sour for the first time in New Zealand, and got such an enthusiastic response he told the crowd he'd be bringing the band back as soon as he could.

A more straight forward prospect than his day job as a masked metaller, Taylor is the focal point for Stone Sour's accessable-but-unmemorable brand of rock. Made of Scars and Mission Statement tick all the boxes, but the lack of big riffs and hooks leaves you wanting just a little more oomph.

What: Linkin Park and Stone Sour
Where: Vector Arena, Auckland
When: Thursday, February 21