I attended the Carnivores show in Clarkston, MI on August 30, 2014, and let me tell you- out of the four other times I’ve seen Linkin Park live, this was by far the best show and the best overall experience I have ever, ever had.
To start our day off, my brother, his friends and I got into the venue so early that we didn’t have to pay for parking. When we pulled in, we all sat out in the parking lot and jammed to some LP and 30STM for a bit. We checked out the Infinity tour bus that was there.
Eventually I made my way over to the east entrance where the LPU Early Entry was taking place. As soon as I got over there, I saw that there was literally only one other guy there waiting. It turns out he flew all the way from Slovakia to come see this show! I had never actually met or talked to anyone out of LPU in person before, so this whole experience was very very cool for me.
We hung out and talked to the security guy there for a bit, just waiting for everything to come about. Eventually, Lorenzo (who is so, so awesome and so sweet!) came around and took the LPUers and the people who bought the premium packages in for the early entry. We went in, waited a little bit, and then Lorenzo led the LPUers first down to the seats and then the floor.
Now, for this show I was picked for a Meet and Greet; and for the twelve years I’ve been a fan of Linkin Park, I have never actually met them before, and the reasons vary from not wanting to miss other bands to not wanting to lose my spot at the barricade. However, at DTE, my Meet and Greet was perfectly timed because the ‘pit’ section was so, so tiny, it was only able to hold one hundred people. It was the smallest, most amazing thing I’ve ever seen!
AFI came on, and they were much better than I expected them to be. I dabbled in AFI while I was in middle school, but I quickly grew out of them. But because AFI’s set was so short, most of the songs they played were singles that I had known from years before, so I was actually able to sing along. There were girls to the left of me who were huge AFI fans and had followed them around for a while, it was their 23rd time seeing AFI, so Davey knew who they were. He ended up stretching his foot over to the barricade and was singing at them for a while, which was really cool.
After AFI’s set, I hung around for a little bit, but then just got too antsy and had to leave to get ready for my Meet and Greet. I met a few more people while waiting, one girl was certain she was going to cry and I kept telling her “you’ll be fine!” She was really awesome, really funny. She kept me laughing the whole time. I didn’t really know what to expect because this was my first Meet and Greet, so I didn’t know if I was going to cry or say stupid crap or something. But it turned out just fine.
The LPUers eventually lined up to wait for the premium package people to finish their Meet and Greet, and while we were waiting, Brad came out of nowhere and just went down our line and signed our stuff. The guy next to me told Brad that he was his inspiration and he appreciated him so much, and Brad was genuinely flattered by it and did a little bow with his hands right in front of him. This guy was so happy, ha ha. It was awesome. After Brad finished with all of us, he left and went back to the tented area. Shortly after that, we were led down there to do our Meet and Greet with the band. We took the group photo first, which Brad came back and stood in front of us with his arms wide open before the other guys came back out, and the photographer took that photo. Then everyone else came in and we took the group photo, and we lined up. Rob was the first one to come around, he was very sweet. I didn’t say too much to him, I just said thank you and he said “enjoy the show” and I was like “oh I know I will!” Then Dave came around, and I joked with him about doing his dance moves in the Chideo video.
And then Chester came around, and even the security guys were like “NO HUGS”, Chester was hugging everyone he could. He was so, so sweet. When he got to me I told him thank you, and that I had been waiting twelve years for this day, and he just reached out and gave me a huge hug. He was so genuinely sweet and caring and he really listened to what everyone had to say and everything. He’s beautiful, absolutely beautiful. I was originally kind of upset that I had to miss 30STM for the Meet and Greet… but after that, I no longer cared. This was everything.
Mike came around next, I honestly do not remember what I said to him because whatever it was, he looked me dead in the eye and sincerely said “thank you.” He was also very, very sweet. And as a personal note, he has been my idol for the last twelve years so meeting him and having him be so nice and looking me in the eye was literally just the best.
Joe was the last one to go around, he kind of took forever, ha ha. But when he came to me I told him that I was really proud of him for directing a movie, and he seemed really happy about that.
So I mean my night was already made but then it just got better. And better and better. After the Meet and Greet we were escorted back up to the seats, and I rushed my way back down to the pit. And my timing was perfect, because as I was going down, 30STM was picking people out of the crowd to go on stage with them. The bodies in the pit just started to dwindle, so I was able to squeeze in right on the barricade, right next to the people I was next to before I left for the Meet and Greet!
So while we waited for Linkin Park to come on, I chatted with everyone some more. The girl that was on my right became my buddy for the night, her and I were just rocking out together. The guy that came over from Slovakia made his way back, he had gone on stage with 30STM and he got one of Shannon’s drumsticks! I was so happy for him.
Linkin Park came on, and opened with “The Requiem/Catalyst” intro, then went into “Guilty All The Same.” I promptly lost my mind. Then they went into “Given Up,” “Points of Authority,” and “One Step Closer.” So, so kick ass. The best part about it is that I had no idea what the setlists contained, I never wanted to know. I did it at the Honda Civic Tour in 2012, and the element of surprise was just amazing. So I stayed away from reading about setlists the whole way, and so everything was a surprise, and everything was just that much more beautiful.
Halfway through the setlist, they went into “Waiting For the End” (me and the girl next to me were rapping Mike’s “Until It Breaks” intro like nobody’s business!), and at the outro, Chester came down and was singing with people at the barricade. He made his way over to me, and I was just so pumped all I could say was “fuck yeah!” and he reached in, gave me the biggest hug, and legitimately kissed me on the head. He kissed me. On my head. I’m still trying to recover.
A little while after that, a girl who was volunteering for Music For Relief was trying to make her way to the barricade. And she was so, so dedicated, she was screaming every word with me, so I tried to scoot over as much as possible to get her in. Eventually she squeezed in, and she thanked me a few times for it. It turns out she traveled all the way from Trinidad to Michigan to see Linkin Park, and she had seen them so many times she was really familiar with some of the crew. The main security guy (I think?) spotted her and handed her the setlist. In between songs she held it up to me, and I thought she said “I got the setlist!” and so I was like “Hell yeah, that’s awesome!” but then she handed it to me and said “No, you take it, you got me to the barricade, you can have it!”. And having a setlist to a show has always been on the bucket list, so I naturally gave her the biggest hug, and after the show she had me find myself on her Facebook so she could add me. Thanks again! <3[LPFC Note: That’s Sian, one of the kindest fans out there. That’s what the whole experience is about- growing your family of Soldiers!]
Later on during “In The End,” while Mike was in the crowd, some guy handed him a San Fransisco Giants hat, which Mike took and put on over his own hat. A few minutes later he looked really confused and struggled to take it off and return it to the guy, ha ha. Chester came back around at the end of “In The End,” and he hugged me, again. He seriously outdid himself.
All in all, out of the four other Linkin Park shows I’ve been to in Michigan, this one was by far the best, and I think the guys would agree, as well. I had never heard them say anything about Michigan crowds being so loud before, and they said it multiple times last night. Brad was smiling the whole night, and you know when a crowd can make Brad smile and really get into it, they’re pretty great. Mike and Chester both were just really shocked by how loud and responsive everyone was, and from what I can remember and the videos I’ve seen of it today, we really were a kick ass crowd! I was very, very proud to be a part of it.
After the show, I had met up with my brother and his friends again. It was pouring down rain, so we stayed under the pavilion for a little bit and waited for it to calm down a little. I don’t know what happened, if he happened to be going that way or if he saw me and came up to me, but Lorenzo came up the steps I was waiting by with my brother and he handed me one of Mike’s guitar picks (which was another thing on my bucket list, to have a guitar pick). He gave me a big hug and told me it was great meeting me, and he told me he’d see me next time (to which I obviously responded “you will, absolutely!”). So after my night was already amazing, it kept getting better.
I kept telling myself over and over that last night was going to be the best night of my life, because I was going to be meeting my favorite people on the planet for the first time, and I was going to see them live for the fifth time. But not once did I ever think that it would’ve been this great. These were things I always told myself would never happen to me. I never thought I would even get to meet the guys, let alone experience all of this other stuff. And I am truly so incredibly thankful for everything I got to experience.
Thank you to all the amazing Linkin Park, 30STM, and AFI fans I met. You’re all so incredible, you were so welcoming and so much fun. I couldn’t have asked for better people to be around for this show. I hope we can see each other at another show again! Thank you Lorenzo, and everyone else who helped out with the LPU Early Entry and Meet and Greet. You guys are seriously just the best. I promise you, all the hard work and bullshit you have to go through every single show does not go unnoticed. You all help in making these shows the best days of our lives, every single night.
And of course, thank you Linkin Park. Somehow, I was able to gain more respect for you last night than I already had. I’m not really sure if whether or not you’re the best band in the world is an arguable topic anymore; I think you just are the best band in the world, no matter what. I don’t think anyone else compares. The passion you have for making the best music you can make matches the passion you have for trying to make sure us fans really enjoy ourselves at your shows, and for that I am truly, forever grateful. I really mean it when I say that the five times I’ve seen you live have been the best days of my life. I have never felt as happy as I do when I’m seeing you guys on stage. I thank you from the bottom of my heart for being so kind, so sweet, and just so incredible. And I can’t wait to do this all again soon.