In an age where generic sounds and over produced artists dominate the music charts, finding a band of authentic quality and musicianship with live talent is a near impossible task. This was my mission.
When I set out on a late summer day, battling through spastic rain and heat, I wanted to see if the band of my dreams, Linkin Park, would take the stage and guide me on a journey. Would they deliver through live stage mics just as they did when I listened to their music through ipod speakers? They did. They went beyond, transcending and challenging my ears in one mind blowing experience.
August 21, 2008, I saw Linkin Park play for the first time in my life at the Verizon Wireless Amphitheater in St. Louis, MO. This concert was held during their summer Projekt Revolution tour, featuring bands from 10 Years, to Chris Cornell, to drum rock trio Street Drum Corps. The real reason I was there, though, was to watch LP put on an astounding show. I remember it pouring rain all day as my best friend and I stood outside the revolution stage, counting down the minutes till the main stage was accessible.
The warm night air was filled with stars and anticipation as we awaited the start of the show. All of the sudden, glowing drummers and some mastered beats laid out by Mr. Hahn led into the most unforgettable performance of Linkin Park’s opening song “No More Sorrow” I screamed and yelled and danced and sang through the next few songs, giving absolutely no acknowledgment that anyone else existed. It was just me and the band. Fresh rain lingered in the air and I remember wondering, surrounded by sound waves, if nights could be any more perfect than this one.
I remember going crazy to songs like Breaking the Habit, Numb, and In the End, all crowd pleasers that united us common fans. Notably though, my heart dropped when I heard the intro from Reanimation play through the on stage speakers and Mike begin to rap ‘Hands Held High” over the cello track.
Chester wailed and thrashed beautifully across the stage, igniting the rawest passions in all of us as we sang along with him during ‘Crawling’ and ‘What I’ve Done.’ Phoenix and Brad skillfully accompanied him with equal parts showy stage presence and stoic bass stance.
Rob Bourbon had his time to shine when the entire show came to a halt to give the drummer a much deserved spotlight as he finally offered up a drum solo his followers had anticipated for years.
Mike shinoda peppered the performance with random rap snippets from his side album, ‘Fort Minor,’ that got the crowd jumping and throbbing to every word; and when finished, stating to a very happy crowd: “I like you guys.”
Arguably the best part of the show was, of course, the closing number. They saved the best for last, turning ‘Bleed it Out, into a long high energy performance involving a lot of crowd participation and help from the guys from SDC. Through it all, chester shouted “Thanks everyone for coming out! I know it’s been a while since we’ve been here.. 2004 was the last time we’ve been in St. Louis,” this was met with a cacophony of excited screams letting them know that yes, it has been far past due for us as well.
As the lights faded and the stage went black, my entire body cried for an encore. All my mind and all my energy was all driven towards one goal, it was as if the music was the only thing sustaining me... keeping me alive. And I was suffocating. All I had in me was expended just to get them back. Nothing was important, only an encore. With fist to the heavens and foot stomping concrete, my plea was answered.
Originally, I had forgotten more about this show then I liked, but because of the recent release of LP concert bootlegs, I downloaded my concert the minute it was available and since then have been audibly reliving the greatest night of my life over, and over, and over. It brings me back to that late August night, where my perception of live music was changed forever and I would discovery my love for the concert experience. Once in a life time was where it all began.