This is my first ever blog entry. I don't usually do them as I don't usually have anything interesting to talk about, but I'd like to tell you something now.
I've been a Linkin Park fan since their Hybrid Theory Album came out and have been part of the LPU since LPU 3.0 and before and have now been to two Linkin Park concerts, the first was the Minutes to Midnight Tour on 28th January 2008 and the second was the A Thousand Suns Tour 10th November 2010. Both were awesome shows but I'm not here to talk about them, I'm going to talk about a much more awesome experience.
As I've mentioned, I'm part of the LPU which as a member allows you to book concert tickets to their shows before the public there I managed to get great seats for their latest concert. A few weeks ago however I received an email telling all members of LPU that Linkin Park are inviting all member to their first ever Summit in London. It was described that you can get to go on stage, look and play with their instruments, see their tour buses and get to hang out with other members of the LPU. It all sounded great, but for me there was only one problem… I had no more holiday left to take at work.
A week to go until the concert and I received more emails about the Summit including a free to upgrade LPUX which after upgrading you could apply for a Summit pass for free! More details emerged about the Summit like raffles for a meet and greet, to have a photo taken with the band and a backstage tour. It was starting to sound even better and I thought this is not an opportunity to be missed, so I moved half day of my Xmas eve holiday to November 11th. I work in the city (London) anyway so working half day then jumping on the tube shouldn't be a problem.
The Summit was actually over two days, 10th and the 11th. I would have loved to go to the LPU football (soccer) match but I was pushing it on holiday already.
Anyway, the day after the first London concert had come and gone… I had gotten in at half 12 that night and had to get up for work 5:45!!! So a bit tired :p anyway, that morning I made sure I picked up my Summit pass and decided as a spare of the moment thing to pick up my A Thousand Suns CD/DVD just incase (a very small chance I thought) I won the meet and greet. Anyway, I went to work as normal that morning with a change of clothes for later. I managed to finish work at 11, got changed and bolted for London Bridge Tube station to catch the Jubilee line for North Greenwich, The O2.
I got to the O2 at about half 11 and already there was a really long queue for the LPU event (the queue was where the Merchandise stand usually is). Whist waiting in the queue I met a German girl called Marion who had gone to the show last night too. In fact she had gone to quite a few of there shows lately but was in London for both dates, something I wish I did. Anyway, 45 minutes later I picked up my LPU Lanyard pass and moved to the queue for the events. Unfortunately the queues were taking longer than anticipated so not everyone got to do the events, Marion and myself included. We the. Moved onto the queue for Raffle tickets (prizes mentioned earlier) and bought the LPUX demos CD. I was disappointed that I didn't get to do any of the events but was holding out for winning a meet and greet. But at the very least I would get to see them when we take part in the q&a session.
We were told to come back at 1pm where we would be taken into the venue for the meet and greet. In the mean time Marion and I decide to go off and get some lunch.
15 minutes for lunch and we were back in the queue and were escorted into the venue floor meeting up with the other LPU members who had the opportunity to visit the tour buses, play Linkin Park's instruments and have their picture on stage. We got into the venue and were asked to sit on the floor. 2nd row from the front I had a good view.
We were then treated by the winners of the Jam band (LPU members playing LP's instruments) to their own version of Faint and I gotta say it was pretty good seeing they didn't have that long to practice.
After this we sat back down and waited to see what was next. A guy from Linkin Park's team told us he will be drawing the raffle soon but had to tell us first we ALL were going to meet Linkin Park! Amazing! Thank god I brought my CD. Obviously because of this, it was no longer a prize in the raffle. They replaced the prize with tickets to the BMI music experience.
First off we had a guy telling us about the equipment and mics they use and then someone telling us about the BMI experience.
After this the raffle begun for the backstage tour with Linkin Park band members. About 30 tickets were read out. Sadly not mine. About 10 people for their picture with Linkin Park, again not me nor tickets for the BMI. But hey, I was getting the chance to meet them. Little did I know there was a lot more to come…
Meet and Greet
Everyone was asked to line up along the side of the standing area which reached the back and round a bit. I was about in the middle of this line. We were all standing there in anticipation wondering when they'll be coming out. We thought we wouldn't be able to use our cameras but a guy from the Linkin Park team came round and said we can take photos as long as it had no flash and that we don't take any photos when we are right in front of them.
10 minutes pass and we hear a cheer from the front. They're here! The first out are Chester and Rob, followed by Brad and Mike, then Dave and finally Joe. Begin the meet and greet.
It took 15 minutes to get up to the the guys. "Now we put the camera area" we hear as we approach the band. Now to decide what to get signed, either my new LPUX CD or A Thousand Suns… A Thousand Suns it is. First to hand my CD to was Joe. Joe and Dave were having a discussion on how to say worcestershire sauce… Dave then decided, he has more money therefor he's right! Okay, moving on. Next stop was Mike Shinoda. After telling Mike that I enjoyed the show last night and that I love the work he did on Fort Minor he looked up and shook my hand. Brad was the next to sign, he didn't say anything, he just put his hands together, closed his eyes and gave a short bow. The next two to sign were Rob and Chester. After the signing we were given a Linkin Park guitar plectrum and asked to move round to get ready for the Q&A. In all, the Meet and Greet lasted 35 minutes.
After finding Marion again (right at the front of the group) we were asked to move forward and take a seat on the floor. Again I was the second row from the front.
Chester picks up the Megaphone and says to everyone "Thankyou all for coming" [CHEERS] "it's been really awesome meeting all of you" [CHEERS] "I've always wanted to talk into a blow horn, inside of an empty arena, right beside Joes head. It's a dream come true for me, thank you guys for making it happen." Brad then takes the megaphone "Olla".
After the band asks the fans to vote whether they should use mics or not (votes nay), they take their seats. Someone calls out, "Smile Chester", and he replies with a straight face, "I am smiling".
I won't go through all the questions as some were a bit silly like, "why are you so good?"
One question I found interesting, "When writing songs, do you think 'how am I going to play this live?'" - Chester answered this one. He said he used to, but you think about it too much, like when they were recording the song With You, Chester's lyrics overlapped, and he was told, don't think about that, that's someone else's problem, later Chester finds out it's his. Since then they haven't.
A Special Treat
The Q&A lasted about half an hour. Next was something not expected. At the end of the Q&A Mike says "because this is a special crowed (300 people), we have a special treat for you". Mike then grabs an acoustic guitar and him and Chester move closer to us and tell us to move around. Everyone does and Chester yells "Not too close!" Mike then starts talking, but stops mid sentence, "wow, that's a lot of cameras!", "you should be used to it!" yells a fan, and Chester's reply was "Not like this". Basically nearly every single person, myself included had their cameras out ready to video or take photos of what happens next.
Mike and Chester then do an awesome acoustic version of Leave Out All The Rest. After Brad replaces Mike to play The Messenger. This experience was awesome, Mike and Chester literally a couple of feet in front of me. All that s missy was a camp fire and marshmallows and it would have been even more perfect than it was already. Everyone was just singing along to the courses of both songs. It's hard to describe the awesomeness of the performance, all I can say it was very intimate and emotional. I've uploaded my video of the performances here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LIjUmPSnDug&feature=youtube_gdat...
(the best version on YouTube IMO)
Another Special Treat
After the small acoustic set, Brad gave us the choice of either playing one more song or we can watch them do their sound check. The voting was unanimous, watch the sound check. This time I got right at the front. Most of the time it was the band playing small bits of songs, including Joe scratching away to the intro sound bite of Wretches and Kings. As the previous night I was in the seating area, it showed me what I was missing out on. The view and the sound from down here was awesome. They played Papercut in full and the sound of it was just great.
One of the best days of my Life!
This event was supposed to finish about 4 but we didn't leave until just before 5. My head was buzzing for the rest of the day, in fact still now. I'm still watching back the video I recorded, looking at the photos and listening to my new LPUX CD. I do wish I went to the concert that evening too as with the LP Underground pass, we would have been let into the venue before anyone else, but I'm satisfied with the experience I did receive. It turned out to be one of the best days of my life! I hope you'll have your turn one day, it's just amazing!!!
Shfonic aka Rich