A Night for Soldiers to Unite
By Farrah Mae Polestico
It was four in the morning of August 13 when I woke up. I only had three hours of sleep due to the excitement coursing through my body. This was it. The day I’ve been patiently waiting for almost a decade. My dream of seeing Linkin Park live is just a few hours away from being fulfilled.
I arrived at the Mall of Asia arena at around 10 AM, 10 hours before the concert itself.
Prior to that day, the members of the Linkin Park Philippines Street Team agreed to meet in front of Astroplus. Soldiers in various customized Linkin Park T-shirt arrived one by one and I got to meet and interact with them. They were all very nice and fun to talk with. The soldiers present were from different parts of the Philippines, some of them are from Cebu, Rizal, Laguna, Quezon and other parts of the country. Being around these people made me happy because it shows that despite the mainstream pop songs that are dominating the music charts of the Philippines, Linkin Park still has loyal and dedicated fans in my country.
At one point when we were roaming around the mall, the Linkin Park crew saw our huge Linkin Park Philippines banner and asked us if we’re going to see the show later that night. At first I couldn’t believe we were talking to Linkin Park’s tour crew. I only see them in LPTV episodes and now I was seeing them in the flesh and I was interacting with them! They are the guys who make every Linkin Park concert possible! I was very ecstatic to meet them.
Later that afternoon, we headed to the Seaside Boulevard for the Human LP Logo. A writer and a photographer from Gala Magazine were there to cover our said activity. We were exposed in the scorching heat of the sun and our butts were scorched when we had to sit on the pavement but it was all worth it because it was a success.
The gates to the MOA Arena itself opened at around 6 and by the time we were at the concert venue my heart was beating loudly and my body was shaking both from the sheer cold of the venue and from the nervousness and excitement. We had to wait for two hours before the front act came to the stage.
Urbandub were the front act of the Linkin Park concert and even though I am not that familiar with the band, I was really impressed by their performance. They performed some of their greatest hits and some songs from their new album, Esoteric. The crowd was cheering for them and I, personally, loved their performance.
After the front act, the crew came to the stage to make some final check with the equipment. By that time I thought my heart was going to burst with excitement.
While waiting, I took the time to observe the stage. The first thing that I noticed was Rob Bourdon’s drum set. Now I am not a drum expert but I couldn’t help but notice that everything in that drum set was the same with his drum set in their other live performance. Same goes for the position of Joe Hahn’s turntables, and Mike Shinoda’s keyboards and all the other instruments on the stage. There were three screens on the stage, two on either side of the stage where close-up shots of the band are shown and one big screen behind the band where close-up shots and awesome 3D graphics and special effetcs were shown. At a glance, you’d instantly know that it’s Linkin Park who will be performing on that stage and you’d know it’s ought to be great.
Aside from being dubbed the “concert event of the year”, the concert was also said to be the “most technologically advanced concert in Philippine concert scene” and based on the sound quality of the equipments, the timing of the lighting with every beat of the song, the awesome graphics shown in the big screen behind the band, the energy and enthusiasm of the audience and the sheer brilliance of Linkin Park when they perform live, I can say that it really lived up to its name.
At last the wait was over, Joe first came to the stage, followed by Rob and then the rest of the band. When Mike started singing the intro to A Place For My Head, the audience went wild and sang along. At first I wasn’t sure if I should just sit down and quietly sing along or join the other fans in jumping around, head banging and singing at the top of their lungs. But chances like this don’t come often and I decided to grab it while it lasts. By the time Given Up was being played, my throat was aching from screaming and singing along to Chester’s lyrics but it didn’t matter because in that moment nothing else existed except me, the band and the music.
At one point I started crying because I couldn’t believe the day I’ve been dreaming for so long is finally coming true and it was better than I could have ever imagined.
I was expecting they’d play their classics from the Hybrid Theory album but I was surprised they played With You because I haven’t heard that song being played live in their recent tours. Nevertheless, it was a pleasant surprise to hear an old favorite being played again.
Every song they played was executed to perfection and the crowd was so enthusiastic I can barely hear the music through the screams and cheers. When Lies Greed Misery’s first notes played, I was jumping in glee because I was really hoping they’d play it and when they did it was so amazing! The lights on the stage were also timed to flash every time Chester screams the lyrics and the timing was exquisite. Kudos to Linkin Park’s crew for the beautiful light effects.
When Waiting for the End played I really shouted, “This is my jam”, because it is! Waiting for the End is one of my favorite LP songs and I don’t get tired of listening to it.
During their performance of Castle of Glass the band was shown on the big screen behind them with the breaking glass-effect that I think is very awesome. At some point in the concert, they showed a 3D image of the soldier with dragonfly wings, just like in the T-shirt I was wearing at the time of the concert, and it was one of my favorite moments during the concert.
The highlight of the concert, in my opinion, was the ballad medley where they combined Shadow of the Day, Leave Out All the Rest and Iridescent in one song. This part of the concert is the most emotional and intimate and the one I really looked forward to. When the first notes to the song Leave Out All the Rest drifted through the air the wild crowd calmed down and we let Chester’s soothing voice calm the adrenaline coursing through our body. During the medley an unexpected thing happen, the lights went off and all the audience raised their mobile phones in unison and the whole arena looked like a pitch-black sky with twinkling stars. It was the most beautiful sight I’ve ever seen.
In the End is one of Linkin Park’s most well-known songs and everyone sang along Mike’s rapping and Chester’s singing. The crowd went wild once again when Mike and Chester went to the crowd to high-five some lucky fans. I wasn’t near enough the stage to be one of those lucky few but if I were, once either Mike or Chester high-fives me, I’m never gonna let go.
Another thing that surprised me that night was when they performed Lying from You. I wanted to see them perform the song but I wasn’t really counting on it so imagine my happiness when they did. And boy did it sound better live!
One Step Closer ended the concert but I didn’t realize it was over until Joe went down from his turntables and waved the fans goodbye. The other members also did the same and I am very impressed with how down-to-earth they are, thanking and bowing to the fans. The concert lasted a good hour and a half but for me it seemed only a blink of the eye. If only they could play just one more song. If only I could be in that moment forever. And when the members of the band went backstage that was how I realized it really was really over. Though the night ended, the memories of it will forever be in my heart. And I, with all the other Filipino soldiers, hope they’d come back soon.
Jonah Alabastro https://www.facebook.com/jonah.alabastro
Linkin Park PH https://www.facebook.com/linkinparkphilippines
Philippine Concerts http://philippineconcerts.com
Farrah Mae Polestico http://flavors.me/twelvepinkhearts
About the Writer
Farrah Mae is a seventeen-year-old LP soldier from the Philippines. Reading books, watching anime, writing stories and fangirling aren’t hobbies for her, they’re her passion. She’s been a LP fan since 2008 and plans on being a loyal soldier for life. You can reach her via twitter @musicmae12 if you have questions, violent reactions or just want to say hi.