Creating music away from Linkin Park is not uncharted territory for Shinoda as his work as Fort Minor is just as known to some but this new project contained a lot of new energy that neither before contained. 2017 was a tough year for Linkin Park fans as Chester Bennington, vocalist and co-frontman of the band alongside Shinoda, tragically passed away and there was a period of time where it seemed that the music would only live on in headphones. However, the Linkin Park fans banned together and thoroughly supported Shinoda in the months that followed. This support was the catalyst which fueled him to create as he sifted through this difficult year he was presented with – the result was a light in the dark for Shinoda and the beginning of a new era.
In late January of 2018 the communities supportive comments paid off as Shinoda released some of the first tracks from this new project into the wild. They were raw, lyrically complex and most importantly they were genuinely fantastic tracks – but there was no official word as to whether those few songs would be it or if more would come. Time revealed that the four tracks were just merely a sample of what as to come as debut of a solo album titled “Post Traumatic” released on June 15 and the music it contained was among some of the best and intimate tracks of Shinoda’s career.
After a few small venue appearances, radio concert appearances and festivals, Shinoda announced his initial headline solo tour this summer that spanned the country and was branded as the Monster Energy Outbreak Tour. The routing was expansive and fans rejoiced on social media as they were eager to experience these new songs live as well as possibly hear some of their favorites from Linkin Park, Fort Minor & more. On Monday, October 15 the tour stopped locally at the Sherman Theater in Stroudsburg, PA for a night that would go down as one of the most emotionally charged and truly remarkable gigs the venue has ever hosted.
There was no shortage of material for Mike Shinoda to sift through when determining his set for the show as the ample number of Fort Minor, Linkin Park and new solo songs gave him a widely diverse array of music to draw from. The sheer volume of possibility gave his performance a unique edge of anticipation for the entire set that many artists never fully capture over the course of their entire career. There were emotional highs, moments of moshing and passionate sing-a-longs as Shinoda commanded the stage on his own for a twenty song set. Whether it was a Fort Minor mainstay like “Remember the Name,” the Linkin Park deep cut “When They Come for Me” or the clever mash up of “Over Again/Papercut ” Shinoda kept the Sherman Theater crowd engaged through out the night.
It is hard to say just how long Mike Shinoda’s shows will be like the one he put on Monday night in Stroudsburg and if the time comes that there is more of his solo material with less of Linkin Park/Fort Minor. However his show made one thing clear, Chester Bennington will always be a part of his work and therefore his show as well. Whether it be the beautiful late set tribute that had Shinoda at the piano with the crowd singing Bennington’s parts or just being the subject of his new material he will always be present.
That presence of Chester Bennington in the set doesn’t keep Shinoda from being his own artist as he owned the stage in a way he never used to and proved to any doubters out there that he can do it solo. 2017 was the end of an era for Mike Shinoda but the new one that 2018 brought is bright and hopefully 2019 will be even brighter as Shinoda continues to do what he does best – connect us all through music.