“The Official Review”: Linkin Park Week 2012 JKL/XGames
I’ve officially descended into post-concert depression mode and here’s why: Linkin Park Week is officially over. The past 10 days have been a whirlwind of excitement, sugar, adrenaline, and much, much more. Here’s a brief review of the amazing time I was fortunate enough to share with the band and several wonderful friends.
6/25 – Linkin Park: “Live From Berlin”
All across the US, thousands of fans gathered in theaters to watch the special one-night concert live on the big screen. I grabbed my pack of Rainbow Sour Belts and settled down at the AMC 15 in Century City in Los Angeles. Less than a dozen others had shown up at our theater, but the small crowd didn’t take anything away from the big energy of the movie. The setlist had my me and my friends singing along, and Linkin Park’s performance of “Burn It Down” brought back very fond and familiar memories of their first balloon-filled debut of the new single at the House Of Blues. It was the perfect appetizer to what was to come later that week.
6/26 – LIVING THINGS
The day was finally here. The day we had all been waiting for. LIVING THINGS was officially released worldwide! Lucky for me, I had received my pre-ordered CD in the mail a few days prior, and had shamelessly listened to it nonstop since the LPU Warner Bros. listening event. But nonetheless, I still popped it into my car stereo and pressed play at 1:00. While sitting in traffic on the 405N, I managed to sneak in a few tweets and texts to join Mike Shinoda and the rest of the world at the official online Twitter listening party. It was a great way to end the long wait for the album release, and LIVING THINGS continues to be the best new album of the summer.
6/27 – Linkin Park: “Jimmy Kimmel Live”
It was a 30 minute drive in traffic from my house to the El Capitan Theater. It was hot as hell too… I arrived in the afternoon to meet up with a few of our group’s most dedicated; one of which had been standing her ground as first in line since 8:30 am. With no shade or seats, we roasted on the sidewalk for a good hour or so until more of our LP circle began to show up for the party. Our crowd of loyal soldiers politely took turns holding spots in line for bathroom trips and water runs.
A small group of us took a journey down Hollywood Blvd, past the Michael Jackson impressionists and Mickey and Minnie Mouse costumes, broke for taco Tuesday lunch at Baja Fresh, and ran into Pooch and crew at the Coffee Bean on the corner. Once we returned to the long line outside, it was almost time for check-in and wristbands. One by one, we were lined up single-file and placed behind the wall where the band was preparing for sound check. We caught sideways glances at the band on stage through the cracks in the fence, and managed to see Chester drive into the private parking lot in a sporty, red Mini Cooper. By the time we were let into the stage area we were sun-stained and sweat-soaked, but the anticipation of the show washed away any fatigue we previously held.
With my arms draped protectively over the barricade on Phoenix’s stage left, Mr. Jimmy Kimmel and the Hype Man came out to pump up the audience and introduce the band. Then it was showtime! Linkin Park came out and played a total of 6 songs: “Faint”, “New Divide”, “What I’ve done”, “Numb”, “Burn It Down” and “Lies, Greed, Misery”. Although it was short, the crowd was energetic, and the band gave a fantastic performance as always. At the end of the set, I came within arm’s length of getting a hug from Chester and a handshake from Mike, but couldn’t quite get there in time… Luckily Rob saw my efforts and awarded me with a lucky drumstick to make my night. After the show, our team of friends headed out to the alley in hopes of scoring a couple autographs from the guys. We were unsuccessful, as the band had left promptly after finishing the show. So instead we all caravanned to the In N’ Out down the street and ended the night with juicy burgers, fries, and an inevitable live stream of Mike Shinoda on Loveline. Although my poor, sunburned shoulders would strongly disagree, I believe the day was an all-around success.
6/29 – Linkin Park: “XGames at Club Nokia”
I was extremely lucky and fortunate to claim tickets for this special performance. This was a special day for me personally. My long-time pen pal and fellow LPU soldier was flying in to LAX from the Netherlands that same day. It was a complete coincidence that her first vacation to the US, which was planned over 6 months ago, happened to fall on the exact same day as the show. I vowed to do everything in my power to make sure she would get a chance to see it. It was a very private show at a small venue in the heart of downtown Los Angeles. And if that wasn’t enough, the annual ESPN XGames and Anime Expo were being held right next door! My two favorite things in life; extreme sports and my favorite band all wrapped into one super-grande-awesome package. And it was all for free! The timing could not have been better…
I arrived at Nokia early in the afternoon and met up with a few friends. We were first in line and way too early, so we decided to go for lunch and check out the action (and the cute guys) at the XGames. We managed to see the Big Air skate ramp, grab some free Otter Pops, and witness an epic rally car crash. Luckily no one was harmed. After we had seen enough, we returned to the check in spot and waited until more friends showed up. As a decent crowd began to form, my friends from the Netherlands finally arrived! This was our first time meeting each other in person, and I couldn’t have been more excited. After a 14 hour flight and no sleep or food, I dragged her to the front of the line with the rest of us. Not long after, LPU’s Adam arrived to check us in and gave us wristbands for the show. We all headed up to the Club where we then waited outside the venue doors. We mixed and mingled for another couple hours until we were finally let inside. Everyone bum rushed the stage, and with a bit of crafty planning, I managed to get all of us to the front of the barricade. Mission accomplished.
Linkin Park came on stage shortly after 11pm. The show was fantastic, as usual. The setlist was a lot similar to the one at the Streetgig in Berlin. They played the latest and the greatest hits. The crowd in the pit area was a lot smaller than I thought, but the crowd energy was impressive, save for a few predictable, obnoxious fans scattered here and there. Chester was kind enough to sign a few hats during and after the show, and I managed to get Brad’s attention, earning me a distinguished, Delson-faced guitar pick.
After the concert was over, we all said our farewells and went our separate ways. I drove my Netherland friends back to their hotel, and bid them a temporary goodnight, as I would be spending all day tomorrow with them at Venice Beach, SURU, and wherever else the city of LA would take us…
Linkin Park Week 2012 was definitely one for the books. It was a marathon of intensity and an unbelievable way to celebrate, in my opinion, one of the greatest new albums of our time; LIVING THINGS. I’m glad to have been able to spend much of my time with my Team Free Will family. Thanks for keeping me company. I can’t wait for the next best thing. But for now it’s back to the ordinary routine of ‘normal life’; trying to get my 5am sleep schedule back on track, creating masterpieces on 11 x 14 vellum, and recovering from the barricade bruises that still decorate my knees. Until we meet again…
Adie: Thanks to Dayna for this awesome review! What a week! Stay tuned for another great review by Irene and watch the full X Games show here: