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"I personally would love to come out and play the whole album from front to back and have it laid out there," Bennington admits. However, "that's something that we haven't been talking about."
Instead, attendees can expect what he calls visual and artistic "pockets" of A Thousand Suns songs as well as "ten or 11 number-one tracks from other albums."
"Since Hybrid Theory, when we had one record, this is the first time we've played this many songs off of an album during a show," Bennington says. "We've always chosen five or six songs from each album, and this one we are literally playing almost the entire record, including the interludes."
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Further intimating the band's artistic state of mind are the choices for opening acts. Support for the North American dates are two English electro-rock acts, Does It Offend You, Yeah? and Pendulum, as well as select dates with punk-fused electronic pioneers the Prodigy. When prodded about additional acts currently piquing his interest, Bennington did what any savvy music consumer does these days — hit his MP3 collection. (Technically, he didn't say he was doing this, but he relayed his favorite bands in perfect alphabetical order.)
"I love Airborne Toxic Event, Broken Bells, Cage the Elephant, Civil Twilight, Crash Kings. I think Dead Weather's second album is amazing. Their first one I wasn't really — I feel like it was almost there, and they got it on the second one. The Delta Fiasco. I like the Horrors, Iron & Wine, MGMT, Miike Snow, Mumford & Sons, the National, Neon Trees, Towers — they're not new, but I love them. Stuff like that."
With such a mishmash of recent bands, it's easier to appreciate that Linkin Park truly isn't trying to relive the glory of Hybrid Theory every time the guys put out a record. Further cementing that are side projects waiting in the wings for Bennington's straight-ahead rock side (Dead by Sunrise) and Shinoda solidifying his hip-hop presence (Fort Minor). At this point, Bennington concedes that it's hard to know where Linkin Park can go after A Thousand Suns but says the current path is the right one.
"We feel like we're in a really good place creatively," he says, "in terms of the philosophy of what we want to achieve as a band and in terms of the style that we're working in, how well it's working. We threw the rule book out the window, and it was a liberating experience. We were like, 'If we write a song that's fucking eight minutes long, it's eight fucking minutes long.' "