The Honda Civic Tour featuring Linkin Park, Incubus, and Mutemath – Nikon Theater at Jones Beach, Wantagh, NY (8.15.12)
The Honda Civic Tour is one of the highlights of the summer concert schedule and has really stepped up the lineup of late. Ditching just one single headliner and instead opting for a pair of co-headlining bands, last summer saw the start of this with Blink-182 and My Chemical Romance. It saw the tour to one of its most successful years so they decided to continue the trend this year with Incubus and Linkin Park. Having headlined The Honda Civic Tour themselves back in 2002, Incubus are capable of headlining many of these venues themselves, as evidence of their packed crowd at Jones Beach a little under a full calendar year ago. Add to that Linkin Park, still a very popular and successful band despite their rather abrupt shift in style the past few albums, and you’ve got a line-up that could potentially fill an arena. But it being summer and due to tradition, The Honda Civic Tour saw stops around the country’s best amphitheaters and most recently at The Nikon Theater at Jones Beach.
Supporting on the entire tour (a rarity for The Honda Civic Tour) was Mutemath, a New Orleans alt rock band that comes with a pretty impressive fan base of their own. Having just headlined New York’s Best Buy Theater, they certainly didn’t play like a support act. And that’s what makes The Honda Civic Tour so unique. It’s not a standard support-headliner type of show, sure the bands are on different levels of popularity, but it feels more like a mini-festival of sorts than a standard gig. Mutemath started off the night well and having filled the venue quite well for being the first band on, it was clear a lot of the audience knew who they were already. Their frantic take on indie rock played well in the wide-open space of Jones Beach, the bouncy guitar riffs and vocals echoing as far back as the venue allowed. Though playing a quicker set than they’re used to, Mutemath got the crowd interested as towards the end of the set people were bouncing in their seats and singing along to popular tracks like ‘Typical.’
By the time Incubus had hit the stage the rain had started to pour, but it didn’t defer the crowd from filling the venue to near capacity. Unlike most bands they started off early with their hits, with ‘Megalomaniac,’ ‘Nice to Know You,’ and ‘Adolescents’ all appearing within the first four songs. It really helped ignite the soaking wet crowd, which would normally be a problem for most bands but when ‘Megalomaniac’ kicks in, it’s near impossible not to get excited. Incubus is no stranger to Jones Beach and it was clear by the way they simply owned the stage. With the sheer amount of hits they have, you’ll be hard pressed to have that typical slow or “new song” moment of the set with them. ‘Talk Shows on Mute,’ ‘Anna Molly,’ ‘Drive,’ ‘Pardon Me;’ a solid three quarters of the set were songs that saw the entire crowd absolutely losing their minds. Incubus seemed to benefit from the poor weather, and everybody knows once you commit to it, there’s nothing cooler than a gig in the pouring rain.
Soon Linkin Park walked out, having added crossing ramps and platforms at the front of stage, they definitely played like a big band. Packing the beginning of the set with mostly older material, it was a good way to start off the show. When ‘Faint’ is the first song you play, you’re basically guaranteeing the crowd will be insane throughout. Following that up with the likes of ‘Papercut, ‘With You,’ and ‘Somewhere I Belong,’ it’s a perfect way to establish the tone of the night. Unfortunately this made for a solid middle chunk of the set that was almost exclusively new material, which is a good thing if their new material speaks to you, but it being so divisive, it’s risky. They did pepper in some older hits, but after the heaviness of ‘Lying Away From You’ it’s hard to go back into the very different new material. There really isn’t a perfect way to merge the two different styles, but the crowd didn’t seem to mind. There was a slight drop-off in enthusiasm for songs from the last two albums, but it certainly wasn’t a dead crowd at any point in the show. Between the production and sheer energy Linkin Park projects from the stage, it’s easy to see how they’re able to pack out a venue of around 15,000 like The Nikon Theater at Jones Beach. Another summer has passed, and so has another incredibly successful run of The Honda Civic Tour.
Check out a full set of photos from the show here.
The 411: Though the styles of the three bands may have been radically different, Linkin Park, Incubus, and Mutemath all have one thing in common; they're incredible live bands. And when it comes down to it that's all that matters. The near 15,000 people at Jones Beach would testify to that.
|Final Score: 9.0 [ Amazing ] legend|