Be warned: a very, very long recap/review of the gig! So many interesting things that I couldn't cut any of it out!)


This is a date I won’t forget in a hurry. I’d found out a few days before that I’d be meeting Mike Shinoda (of Linkin Park & Fort Minor fame) through the Meet & Greet program run by Linkin Park Underground.


I felt a bit (just a bit!!) bad as my 17 year old son Will was coming to the gig as well, only he didn’t get to the Meet & Greet and had to wait outside for over an hour to get in.


The M&G was great. Around 35 people waiting to say hi to Mike. I was really bowled over by his down-to-earth manner (it’s so nice that musicians as well known as he is, are really likeable, easy-going people). I managed to have a quick chat with Mike about my website and gave him the gig review that I’d written for Linkin Park’s O2 gig last November (and what a gig that was!!) He spent as much time as he could with each person, before rushing off to get ready.


Mike Shinoda came on around 9pm, starting off with two songs from Fort Minor’s 2005 album, Rising Tied: Petrified followed by In Stereo. Two songs that got the fans jumping around from the start!


'How are you doing tonight?' he shouted. ‘Do we have any friends with us from out of town?’ (Loads of shouting from the crowd!)


‘Someone told me earlier that they were from South Africa. That’s fucking crazy. It’s nuts. I know some of you are on holiday over here and you came along, which is cool. But I do know that some of you travelled to be here tonight. Thanks' (He’s so very humble)


He went on to discuss Fort Minor as being his side project. The idea of the gig was not just about the music as ‘I love to be able to tell you guys about stories, you know, behind the scenes and that kind of thing.’ (I had to include the stories, which is why there is so much to read here!)


Mike’d been talking about Hybrid Theory in some recent interviews, at which point he reminded everyone that Hybrid Theory was going to be 15 years old in October. ‘A lot of you guys have been with us that long. Incredible support.’


Making songs for Fort Minor & Hybrid Theory at 18 in his bedroom with no any plans for the songs, but ‘fast forward a few years and the songs are everywhere! Fucking mind blowing’ (or he may have said mind blown!) ‘I just wrote them because they came out and felt good'.'


‘The first two records that came out had a certain sound that people associated with Linkin Park’ (Someone in the audience shouted ‘Fuck yeah!’). ‘I’m going to start taking my ear plugs out between songs so I don’t miss the stuff you guys are saying!’


I’m going to cut the bullshit and get to another song.


I’ve always said that talking about Hybrid Theory or Meteora it’s like giving someone your card, you know, this is my name, this what I do and so on. Then after Meteora we knew that we wanted other stuff to come out, and after that other songs came out. Before Fort Minor, this song was created and here it is.'


It’s going down (X-Ecutioners)


'When I was sitting in my studio I knew wanted to play something with my guitar but it had to be something I wanted it to fit.'


(He began searching for something.) 'Does anybody have a pick? Oh there’s like a hundred of them on the mic stand!’ (You probably had to be there to understand that!)


Waiting for the End (Fort Minor-style)
The (very impressive) guy standing next to


me was able to repeat word for word at the same speed as Mike Shinoda for every song in his girlfriend's ear. I got the lyrics in surround sound!


Castle of Glass (Fort Minor-style) Kenji

Kenji is such an interesting song. (Check out the lyrics.)


'Mike Mike Mike Mike' There was a lot of chanting.


‘Thank you guys so much. Do we have any people of Japanese descent here? .....One person, that’s all?'


Then came the story of Kenji. When Mike wrote the song, he hadn’t intended to let anyone hear it. He was just writing because ‘you need to get it out’. He was living in a house and when you’re a Japanese/ American – well what happened after Pearl Harbour, in WWII certain people had to go to internment camps and stayed for the duration of the war. They were told they had two days to get on the bus and go. ‘Imagine picking up everything that’s important to you in your life, because you’re all of a sudden the enemy. It’s all fucked up.'


'On a serious note, sometimes this stuff is not new, when the US deals with racial tension, we’re not dealing with something that is just happening now. (Because things are so bad for us now) Part of the reason I’m here, is to let you know that you’re not the only one. People have been dealing with this for years. If you take a second to compare past experiences not in a competitive way– and then to see you guys singing the words, and knowing the words, that shows me that you guys get it.’


'I feel like I have never said something so clear in my life! I’ve got no idea what I’ve said. I know you guys recorded it – I just want to know what I said! I don’t want to knowifitwasgood–Ijustwanttoknowif it made sense!' (It made total sense Mike!)


'The next song – the loop going on in the background - often I’ll just record on my phone so I won’t forget it. I recorded this thing on acoustic guitar – Brad asked me a question and I didn’t hear what he said. I just recorded it. It then became the basis of this song. I think you can hear Joe on that part to, and this ended up being on his movie too' (Mall - it's a great film by Joe Hahn, which if you haven’t seen it, you really should! I highly recommend it!)


Devil’s Drop (Linkin Park)


‘Thank you. I appreciate that.’ “Fort Minor’ rocks dude”, shouted a guy. Mike Shinoda said ‘Next time you need to start a fucking mosh pit with that song. It could be the world’s biggest inside joke! You haven’t done it to any other song in the set & that’s the one?!’' (You need to check out Devil’s Drop to get that!)


'I wanna make these songs special for you guys that come here. Sometimes we are programmed to think that the studio recording is like the best thing. But the live recording, there is something special about that. Being there is even better.


This song is called....and it’s about music': Cigarettes (from The Rising Tied)

Until it Breaks (Linkin Park)


Where’d you go? This is one of my favourite Fort Minor tracks.


'The first night I did this show, and I was wearing one of the Welcome black tees. Guy said nice shirt Mike – he deserved on, so I just gave him one. I feel a little silly doing it but at the same time. You guys deserve it.'


He was handed some t-shirts to give to the waiting crowd.


'These are different sizes. Put your hands down if you’re not a large.' Some lucky person got themselves a free tee.


'Hands down of you’re not an XL, this one’s a small. And I guess this is a Medium and it s going to go right at the back (actually behind me!!) 'Tough crowd.'


'You guys voted for this one on the poll online. You chose this, I remixed it with a piano loop from the raid score, and this song is called Funky Rebel Break.'


Funky Rebel Break High Road


The guy standing next to me was still going strong and repeating every single word of each and every song!


‘Ladies & gentlemen make some noise. Jump for this one.’ (What Mike says, everyone does!)


Believe Me


Mike Shinoda left the stage for no more than a couple of minutes.


He was cheered back to everyone chanting ‘Fort Minor, Fort Minor, Fort Minor’


‘Thank you!


So I had to rush back stage because I realized my drink this was getting was warm, and I didn’t want to get too warm. You guys wanted to hear a little more right?


Last show of the Hunting Party in Rome was a couple of days ago. At some point in the set we decided to do a request on stage like the first time ever. I looked at the guys and said what do you want to do?


So we’re going to try something. I don’t have the music to do anything you guys might want to hear. I just realized today I’ve got this drum beat, a funky drummer drum beat, and I can basically do whatever I want with it (with that, he gave us a little demo), so with that said....


‘With that said....what do you want me to do?'’ (Everyone was shouting out song titles.)


‘Which one? You want me to pick. I actually practiced this earlier. It’s a really random track. Actually it was like a B side, so it kind of goes like this.’


Then he played There They Go ‘I’ll do one more’.
A Place For My Head (Linkin Park)


Then came yet another highlight of the night (there were so many!), after a few notes, everyone knew that Mike Shinoda was about to play Welcome. (A brilliant concept from start to finish...and I have one of the limited edition vinyl all the way from the USA, personally signed...complete with staple marks in the vinyl cover’s corners!)


'It’s been a fantastic night. Thank you guys so much. I’ll see you next time.'


And as an added bonus, what Fort Minor gig would be complete without hearing:


Remember the name


Fantastic end to a fantastic gig.


If you’re ever lucky enough to see Mike Shinoda with Fort Minor or Linkin Park, you’re in for a fantastic gig. The energy that goes into his gigs, either by himself or with the band is incredible.


‘London you guys are really amazing. Make some noise!’


100 per cent reasons to remember his name have been given in this review.


MIKE SHINODA (don't forget it!)