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Live in Texas ()

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Live in Texas features material recorded during Linkin Park's Summer Sanitarium jaunt in 2003. It draws equally from the band's two studio albums, including past hits from Hybrid Theory and some soon-to-be's from the 2003 follow-up, Meteora. This makes it essential for any LP completist, but the casual listener might do well to steer toward the studio material. Vocalist Chester Bennington and MC Mike Shinoda play off of each other well enough, and their supporting players deftly recreate the layered, processed sound that has come to define Linkin Park. But this also works against the band, because their cool professionalism makes Live in Texas sound somewhat sterile. Sure, there's the usual stage chatter like "I wanna see your hands!" and "Alright, let's do this people!" -- there's even an encouraging pep talk before "Pushing Me Away," dedicating the track to "all the musicians in the house." But besides some impressive harmonies on that cut, as well as the undeniable closing trio of "Crawling" (in lean and mean, stripped-down form), "In the End," and "One Step Closer," Linkin Park doesn't generate very much energy on Live. Bennington seems to struggle with the melody to "Somewhere I Belong," and at times the band seems lost inside its own sound. The buzzing, processed guitars separate from the percussion while the samples and vague turntablist scratches seem like a studio loop on reset. This kind of nitpicking shouldn't matter to LP fanatics; Live in Texas will likely serve as a their memento of the tour. But it's clear that top shelf production and mixing plays a significant role in making Linkin Park's albums so powerful. As a final comment on the record's sanitized feel, a random F-word from Shinoda is edited out of the final, fading cheers. [Limited versions of the album came with a bonus CD featuring additional music and video footage.] ~ Johnny Loftus, Rovi Hide synopsis

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