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Linkin Park, whose distinctive metal sound is infused with electronica and hip-hop, will hold a one-off concert at Zhongshan Soccer Stadium next Friday

When Linkin Park's Chester Bennington fell off the stage and broke his wrist four songs into a performance less than a month ago in Australia, band members were afraid that that was the end of the concert. But a few bandages later and Bennington managed to rock on for another hour before calling it quits.

Dedication like this has earned the rock group a loyal following in a short period of time.

In a recent interview, the group's drummer, Robert Gregory Bourdon, attributed the band's success to its members' respect for their fans. "From our close-knit street team family, to our videos, to designing quality merchandise, to our hands-on Web site activity, we stay involved in order to put our fans first."

The approach is working for Taiwan's rockers. Most of the show's approximately 40,000 tickets have been bought, and the less expensive seats sold out weeks ago.

"It's the highest-selling foreign concert after Michael Jackson," said Melvin Yen (ГC¤№ВЧ) of Brokers Brothers Herald (BBH), the promotion company bringing Linkin Park to Taiwan.

That BBH was able to bring the group to Taiwan is a reflection of Linkin Park's popularity and the changing nature of the country's music industry. Yen says BBH spent two years trying to bring the band to Taiwan because market research suggests the group's music - a fusion of hard rock, electronica and hip-hop - is popular here.

"When we were first thinking of bringing them over, pirated CDs were a real problem, but they still [sold] 100,000 copies," Yen said, referring to the band's 2003 album Meteora.

According to Warner Music Taiwan, Linkin Park's recently released Minutes to Midnight has sold 45,000 copies in Taiwan since the middle of May, which is a huge number for a Western rock band.

Few foreign acts play Taiwan, but Yen said his company is attempting to put the country on the international tour circuit. He cites over 15 artists, ranging from the UK's Prodigy to Canada's Diana Krall, which his production company has brought to Taiwan since 2004. And, Yen says, the shows have all been big earners.

Yen says the success of these concerts has encouraged BBH to up the ante and bring in bigger-name acts like the Eagles and Guns 'n' Roses.

"The Eagles ЎK are a very difficult band to bring ЎK because they charge so much and their entourage is almost 100 people," he said.

Though the profits for these acts are high, ticket prices haven't gone down. Yen says that contractual obligations between the groups' management and BBH should ensure concertgoers get the most for their money, which could come as a relief for music lovers who remember last year's disappointing Missy Elliot concert.

As of press time, no local bands had been picked to open for Linkin Park. "We sent some profiles of some local bands. But [Linkin Park's management] felt that the music wasn't appropriate," Yeh said.

Taipei Times - November 17, 2007



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