I still remember the date: March 3rd, 2003 or the year of LPU 2.0 as it was better known back then. It was a Monday and I'd skipped a boring lecture or two. That afternoon, I arrived at Nottingham's Rock City in anticipation for the first UK leg of the LPU tour and met up with some members I'd befriended through the message boards. It wasn't the first time we had met. In fact the majority of us had met the previous October at a Lostprophets concert in Manchester, and had kept in touch in the LPUK thread of The Mine Field.
As the day passed, our group got steadily larger, and were interviewed by BBC Radio One who were broadcasting live that evening. Soon after, the venue doors opened and after a quick security check, we were front and centre as the floor began to fill. The charged atmosphere grew steadily as the lights dimmed and the band came on stage. The next few hours passed in a blur, although I recall my delirium from hearing new Meteora tracks such as Don't Say and Lying From You.
As the set ended and the lights went up, people began to filter out of the venue. However, for a select few, there was more to come: Meet & Greets. Here, my memory gets a little fuzzy. I remember being struck with nerves, being given a sticker to wear and passing through a wall constructed of two bulking security men. I remember the queues, and being awestruck as the guys I had just watched on stage, and followed for the last 2 years were right there in front of me, talking to me and my friends like normal people. I didn't say much, I simply couldn't get the words out. I think I managed the odd “thanks” as they signed my rather abused inlay of Hybrid Theory. Suddenly, I'd reached the end of the line and it was time to go.
After the gig, my friends and I headed back to the hotel for the night, but it took me several hours to come down from the adrenaline that rushed through my body. Four hours of sleep later, I said my goodbyes and rushed back to the train station so I could make my afternoon class.
Of course, this was only the beginning. I managed to lay my hands on tickets for London, Top of the Pops, Manchester and CD:UK. In the week that was to be immortalised as “LP Week”, my road trip buddies and I appeared on national TV and clocked over 1000 miles travelling up and down the country to see LP play five shows in six days. And that's it, right?
Two weeks later, I flew to Los Angeles to meet up with one of the LPU administrators (we were friends back in my moderating days) for a week. To coincide with the release of Meteora and my arrival in the US, Linkin Park closed their LPU tour with 2 shows at the Wiltern. And in exchange for tickets to both nights, I was to help LPUHQ staff organise M&Gs and work in the box office whilst listening to Dedicated – a track I listened to it for the whole week.
On one of the evenings, I recall a few tickets remained uncollected and so I was tasked by Michelle (another LPU administrator) to go and give them to people passing by. So off I went, and came across a guy looking especially bored in a Blockbuster store. Sensing opportunity, I approached him and asked if he'd like a pair of tickets. He snatched my hand off and so I flew back to the Wiltern like the Linkin Park Ticket Fairy I was. I never saw such delight from a stranger before, but it left me feeling warm and fuzzy.
Over the space of March 24th and 25th, I met many more from the message board and even fell in love. None of what you have read would have been possible without the LPU, their staff and its members. So there you go, this is why LPU 2.0 was my favourite year of the LP Underground.