The pre-event vibes
This crazy week started on the 19th of March with a post of Linkin Park on Twitter/Instagram announcing they would come to Amsterdam on March the 24th. I was driving back home at that moment with a friend, still feeling the vibes of a Lindsey Stirling concert we’d been to, when she saw it. After I dropped her off I had to check social media for myself because I just couldn’t believe it. And there it was. The post.
— LINKIN PARK (@linkinpark) March 17, 2017
Excitement, joy, disbelief, anxiety, overwhelming, so many emotions that went on. In that moment I knew, whatever they were planning to do: I HAD TO BE THERE.
Two days later they managed to totally freak me out with a new post on Twitter. By submitting a question to the site “brandnewguys.co/LinkinParkNL” (link is down now), you could win entrance to be part of a special event “Up close with Chester and Mike” on March 24 (for the original Twitter post, click HERE). I remember spamming my friends and boyfriend with what on earth I could ask, since I so extremely suck in these kinds of contests. After an hour of contemplating and going back and forth with possible questions to ask, I finally submitted my question. The website didn’t mention the due date, so all we could do was wait impatiently.
Again two days later, on the 21st of March, the Facebook page of Ziggo Music uploaded a post about a new contest. Five clients of Ziggo could win two tickets each for this special event. Unfortunately the post isn’t visible for those who don’t live in the Netherlands. It seems they geo-targeted the post. Luckily we still have the photos! The original post (the photo left below) leaked the venue, namely the Melkweg in Amsterdam. A couple of hours later they changed the name of the venue into “a secret location” (the photo right below). The winners would be chosen on the 23rd of March. The same afternoon as the Ziggo contest, LPU members could also attend a lottery for this event. Apparently, there was another contest via Radio Veronica, a Dutch radio channel. So all in all, there were four ways to win tickets for this special album pre-launch event in Amsterdam.
The night of the 23rd I couldn’t catch sleep. I kept on half dreaming about the event; how I had to be there, feeling nervous and anxious. The anxiety turned into gratitude and excitement in the early morning when it turned out that I was one of the lucky winners! From that moment on, a new emotion was added to the palette: feeling hyper! I wasn’t able to function normally anymore. I was standing in front of class trying to teach, but inside I was feeling extremely hyper and nervous, in my mind already trying to scheme the best ways to get there. This meant I also had to reschedule some classes. Luckily for me my students are so supportive that they didn’t mind at all (big shout out to them!)
Up close with Mike and Chester
Then it was Friday. After my last class I immediately went to Amsterdam, where I joined the other lucky winners, including many of my LPU friends. At exactly 4pm CEST we were allowed to go inside. Everyone got a blue wristband, and some of us got an extra yellow one. We didn’t know what for but in that moment everyone was too hyped about meeting Mike and Chester to ask for any information. When I was finally inside I was so overwhelmed. The venue looked so absolutely stunning! The setting was extremely intimate, with a big and smaller sofa on stage for Mike and Chester and the host subsequently. At the back of the stage and on the left and right of the room, there were big screens projecting “Up Close with Chester and Mike from Linkin Park: One More Light.” In the audience there were two big sofa’s just across the stage, and the rest of the floor was filled up with around 60 luxury chairs. Other fans could also stand on the balcony. Only then I started to realize how extremely lucky I was, and I felt so wholeheartedly grateful to be a part of this experience.
The event started off with Chester and Mike talking a bit about the process and sound of the new album “One More Light”. They’ve mentioned that each album is more or less a world of its own instead of the albums being a progression. In regards to “Heavy”, Mike stated that the inspiration came from daily frustrations and when life just get’s in the way. Mike for example talked about how his kids accidentally flooded the bathroom, or when he had an ant invasion in his kitchen. After Chester and Mike were finished fooling around, they surprised us with fantastic news: they will have a headline show in Ziggo Dome, Amsterdam on the 20th of June! They will only be doing Beach Boys covers though, just so you know. After this announcement, they played two songs: “Burn It Down” and “Heavy”. Once they started playing I got chills over my body, reaching into my bones. It was so unbelievably beautiful. I had seen these songs via their live stream when “Heavy” came out, but there is such a big difference of being there, sitting there and experiencing up close what those guys can do to a person. What struck me the most was the silence of all the fans in the room. I don’t think anyone was singing along. We all sat there quietly, simply listening and letting Chester’s voice and Mike’s keyboard chords embrace us with their melodies. The starting off and these two songs were filmed live via a stream on the official Facebook page of Linkin park. For your convenience I also put the video here below if you haven’t seen it yet (or, in case like me, want to watch it over and over again). Unfortunately the live stream ended there.
So, what happened after this live stream? Following up “Heavy” there was a Q&A with the guys, with the questions chosen from the winners of the Brand New Guys contest mentioned earlier. The winners were allowed to ask the questions themselves after they got a mic handed over. The only small thing that I didn’t like here, is that the questions being picked out were more or less the same that were already asked in previous interviews talking about the new album and songs. However, what was really cool and amazing is how relaxed Chester and Mike answered all these questions, and more importantly, how in-depth they answered them. I really respect these guys for that. In regards to the new album cover, Mike told us that it is a photo taken by their friend called Frank, who they have worked with frequently for other cover photos as well. They originally didn’t have the intention to use this photo, they just like it a lot. It kept on coming back and eventually they realized the cover was there the whole time. Chester added that he liked the photo so much because it reminds him of the pure innocence of children and the wonder and excitement for life that children have. It doesn’t matter to children if that water is cold, they would freeze their butts off to go do the one thing they just want to do that day. Another question was about the genre of the new album. I happened to film the answer to this question so you can watch it for yourself here below 🙂
To the question “does the name One More Light mean it’s the last Linkin Park album?” they answered it exactly the opposite. They mentioned that the song of which the album is named after is about all those people they knew passed away, and instead of being pessimistic about it, they feel it has a far more positive message to it. Chester said it resembles hope, and therefore they would most definitely not see it as their final album. So this is very good news for us! They also answered to what would have to happen for them to stop being a band. Mike and Chester both felt it’s not worth it to think about that stuff. The band includes six members, and if for some reason it cannot be the six of them anymore, then maybe it’s time. However, Chester mentioned it’s more like the idea of a prenup. They don’t want to imagine all the things that could go wrong. Instead, they want to live in the moment. I think a lot of us can learn from this positive attitude and message.
They also had to answer to the inevitable question: how do they feel about all the mixed responses to the new album? They both came to the realization that fans either hate them or love them. Even if a hard core fan doesn’t like one or two songs, he immediately starts hating them. Chester stated they always lose fans, but they also always gain new fans. Fortunately they also have a lot of fans that stay true to them, and they thank us for that. In regards to the future of rock/metal, Chester was very, very clear. He wants everyone to make music that you want to make, take influence from each other but make sure you do it different and better. If the music sounds completely the same as any other band, he will not like it at all. You have to make sure you are putting your own twist to it.
One fan also asked what was the funniest thing that happened during one of their shows. Mike started by remembering how one time he was talking during a concert, and out of nowhere a bra landed on his mic. This wouldn’t be so bad per se, but the bra was smelling extremely sweaty. If you have missed this moment, you can watch it back HERE. Chester added to this that bra’s make him happy, but there are some exceptions. If you want to know what Chester his most awkward moment during a show was, just watch the video below here, since I’ve filmed his response.
After the Q&A, the boys still had two songs waiting for us: “Crawling” and “What I’ve Done”. During “Crawling” I really had to hold back my tears. Words couldn’t even describe how beautiful it was. If you don’t believe me, just watch my recording of it (don’t mind my stupid laugh and the sound of the camera zooming in in the beginning).
They’d just rehearsed “What I’ve Done” earlier that morning, so it was a complete new try. However, just like all the other songs, it sounded incredibly awesome and breathtakingly beautiful. You can watch my recording below.
After the songs, Mike and Chester received a Dutch flag from their fans with the new LP logo on it. This was also a premier, since it’s the first flag they’ve received with the new logo on it. Go Holland! You know I have to feel proud right now. Mike and Chester then decided they wanted to talk and meet up the fans. Security guards already came running, but they assured them everything was fine. Once again, you got to love these guys. They are so extremely genuine and so interested in their fans, it’s unbelievable. I managed to get a photo with both Chester and Mike, which I had only dreamed about for so long. Needless to say, this was the perfect ending. Before we were all send away, the fans with the yellow bracelets could stay in the room a bit longer. It turned out they were also getting a professional photo with the guys. I have to be honest that I don’t know if it were only LPU winners who got these yellow bracelets, or that the fans were chosen randomly. I was so lucky to also have a yellow one, so I could also go on a pic once again with the guys. My day was made when Mike said “she is so bubbly!” when I came standing in between him and Chester. It was the cutest ever. Then unfortunately it was really time to go.
I ended my Linkin Park experience with having drinks and dinner with my Linkin Park friends, some of who I already knew, and some who I met through this event. The thing that I love about Linkin Park, and what actually made this event perfect for me, is having the opportunity to meet new friends who share the same kind of passion. They are just a bunch of extremely awesome people that truly feel like a family to me. The Linkin Park family is just the best.
The post-event vibes
It took me the whole weekend to recover from this event. It was simply amazing. I’m so grateful to have been part of the experience, I am grateful for meeting up with my friends and I am grateful for meeting new fans. It was a once in a life time experience that I will never forget. Chester and Mike, thank you! See you on the 20th of June!
— LINKIN PARK (@linkinpark) March 25, 2017
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