I hope no one expects this review to be unemotional because as I sit here starting to write, I am still completely in awe that it really happened. I met Linkin Park! I met the band I have idolized for nearly 12 years now. The ride to New Jersey (and even home for that matter) was a complete disaster. Like something was trying to stop me from finally meeting them. But I made it, and it was so worth it! Read on to find out what happened!
I arrived at the Susquehanna Bank Center at 9:00, since that’s what time registration was scheduled to start. Standing in line, I met a few fans and we chatted for awhile. Another group of fans came around with a flag they designed and asked us all to sign it. Well, nearly 90 degrees and an hour later, we were finally let in! Adam from LPU greeted us at the door, checking our waivers and handing out our LPU Summit passes. As we entered the arena we chose either a backstage tour or crew bus tour. I chose the backstage tour.
Once inside the lobby, you could choose from a few activities. You could design your own hoodie or t-shirt, enter raffles, take pictures with guitars, or participate in the silent auction. My new friends and I bought some raffles (prizes included photographer for the day, picture with the band, Linkin Park inspired Dell laptop, backstage tour and Q&A with Mike and Phoenix, and chance to watch the first 3 songs from the side stage.) I didn’t win any, but one of my new friends won two!
Around 11:30 Cory (LPU) announced that we would be starting the backstage and crew bus tours. We were split up into about 5 or 6 groups. Our tour was conducted by Pooch. We saw the crew setting up the stage, the rooms where the band relax, rehearse, and eat and change for show time. He explained what his job is (to make the band sound good out in the audience, as close to album-like as possible yet still live.)
After that, around 12:30, we headed out to the buses that were taking us to lunch at the Hardrock Café (HRC) in Philadelphia. Adam boarded the bus I was on, and he answered a bunch of fan questions (how did he get his job? Why did he choose New Jersey for the summit?) He is a really nice guy and great with the fans! He also informed us that HRC was kind enough to donate the buses we rode on, the entire restaurant (just for LPUers), and lunch! They were so excited to be a part of what was going on that they wanted to help. I couldn’t believe their generosity! And of course, they played LP and Incubus while we ate.
Once we were done with lunch, we boarded the buses back to the arena for the best part of the summit! Yup, the Q&A and Meet and Greet! As we proceeded to sit on the floor, we could hear the band doing sound check. And of course, they sounded amazing! Seeing the 6 chairs in front of us was almost more than I could take. They were really going to be about 20 feet away from me!
While we waited, Cory and Adam explained what would happen next. They told us how it would run so we wouldn’t be disorganized and scare the band away. One of the tour guys came out to talk to us for a few minutes and answered some questions. Jim Digby came out soon after with his son. And then, the band came out! We cheered and clapped (of course.)
Before the Q & A started Joe grabbed the mic and asked us if we wanted to play a game first. He asked anyone with $1 to stand up (I had one but didn’t.) He had the fans pass the money back and forth until it came down to 4 people. Those fans had to do rock-paper-scissors until there was a winner. The last fan standing had to battle Joe. Of course, Joe let him keep the money 🙂
Mike then walked over to his keyboard and Brad grabbed his guitar. Time for the acoustic set! I’m not usually one to get emotional at songs or during live performances. But hearing Chester sing The Messenger was so moving and so passionate, I couldn’t help it! Chester then explained that they were going to sing one of the songs they warm up to, In My Remains. He killed it! His voice was so powerful. Mike asked us to help him out since his part was too low for him. 201 fans singing “like an army falling, one by one by one” not the best voices, but we loved it! He told us he would use that version if they ever decided to re-record it.
The Q&A session opened up and the band was very receptive and really funny. They applauded a fan that flew from Dubai to participate. No doubt about it, LP fans are very loyal! Chester was asked about the green guitar project. Phoenix answered a question about doing more acoustic LPU CD’s (he mentioned the Mmmm….Cookies and how acoustic CD’s scare them.) Rob said they are definitely interested in collaborating with another artist when the time is right. He mentioned the Jay-Z collabo and how it was only supposed to be one song but worked out so well they made a whole CD. He then asked us who we thought they should collaborate with. Answers ranged from everyone from Eminem to Kelly Clarkson. He said if they did team up with someone again, it probably won’t be anyone we mentioned. He was very funny! Brad granted one bonus question with the preface that if it sucked, there would never be a bonus round again. A fan came up asked how they got started in the music business. To which he replied “thank you for attending the first and last bonus round ever.” As we all laughed hysterically, he joked that they are still trying to make it in the music business.
At this point we all stood up and were directed to form a single line all around the room so the band could come by and sign our stuff. We were told that this is the best way for the band to meet everyone, spend a few minutes and give autographs. It was very organized and well planned. The first band member to come around was Joe. I said “thank you Joe” after he signed my shirt (the shirt that was on me) and he said “no thank you!” Next was Brad. He was asked about taking a picture but said he could get in trouble if he did. Phoenix was after Brad. Fans were asking if anyone from the Olympic Team has come to any show yet. He said none of the gold medalists from the US have yet but one from Russia did. I told him that they still had time to come and he said “oh yeah absolutely.”
As Rob made his way around, I couldn’t help but notice that these guys really are so down to earth and appreciative of us fans. I saw Rob about 15 fans down from me and had to brace myself for a freak out. Knowing that he was going to be right in front me with all his handsomeness was too much for me to take. My girls had to help calm me down. I wish I had said more to him when he signed my shirt, but I was so in awe that all I could muster was “thank you.” Yes ladies, he is WAY cuter in person (In my opinion anyways)!
Rounding up the end were Chester and Mike. As Mike passed my group he said that they were being told they had to wrap it up because they needed the room to sell the water and such. I have to thank one of my new friends, Amy for taking a few minutes with Chester. She was asking him to write part of a lyric so she could get it tattooed. In doing so, Mike said “he’s taking too long, let’s take a picture.” I almost died! He grabbed me and Kim (who is also one of my new friends) and Jenn (another new friend) took our picture. Absolutely the best moment of my life!
After everyone got an autograph, we moved around for the group photo. The band came back out and Mike had popcorn. Let’s just say a few fans wore it after the third picture. At that point, whoever had pit passes and tickets hung around while those us without tickets had to leave. Yes, I was one of the only fans without a ticket to the show. (I had seen them in CT and MA that same week, couldn’t swing another one. Next time, I will!) And with that, the summit was over. It really was the best experience of my life! I am still in shock that I met them and that Mike posed for a picture with me, without asking! I am still reeling with excitement, and can’t help but be sad that my “LP week” is over.
Adie, thank you for allowing me the opportunity to review this for your blog! I really hope the fans enjoy reading about my experience. You do great work for the band (too bad you don’t work for them, wink wink). Thank you to Cory, Adam, and everyone at the LPU and crew for such an amazing experience! I am a grown woman, and I felt like a teenie bopper meeting Justin Beiber. Unbelievable! And of course, thank you to Linkin Park! I always knew how much they appreciated their fans, but it was never more evident than at this event and I am an even bigger fan now, if that’s possible! They made us feel like the rock stars and I am so grateful to have been a part of it. 8/17/12-best day of my life!
Adie: Thank you so much, Melissa, for the kind words and the great review! This is No 3 of 4 Summit reports and the last one will be by An Van Oppens, so stay tuned. I’m really behind with all the reviews, I have to admit. Joe Borri has sent me one of the Auburn Hills show, Irene Krygowski has written a great review of the Tinley Park show and Nichole Portales just sent me her Englewood review, so there’s still a lot to come in the next days.
Check out all of Melissa’s pictures in the gallery below!