Seven days after coming back home from the Carnivores Tour up by New Jersey and New York, I headed to Texas for the LPU Summit in Houston, adding Dallas to my plans, again, at the last minute. Despite the heat and humidity, Carnivores in Texas was a blast for all the right reasons. This trip was the absolute opposite of my first Carnivores trip- up in the east coast, we were constantly on the move from show to show; this time my trip was ten whole days revolved, initially, around one show like my other Summit trips, and I think it makes all the difference.
I landed in Dallas, Texas Saturday before the Summit in Houston. Climbing into our beloved rental (that little guy tackled miles like nothing), we drove straight for Houston from the airport, heading for the apartment we’d call home up until the next Saturday.
We spent the week doing not much of anything and it was glorious for the two of us knowing nothing much but working every day; we had Lake Conroe right next door, were convinced by commercials to eat here and there, found the heated pool, had a Criminal Minds binge and visited the Natural Museum of Houston! There, I hung out in a shark cage after trying to convince my friend to touch the sharks at the exhibit. She didn’t go for it.
Finally, the day for the usual volunteering with Music for Relief prior to the Summit arrived. After a bit of a difficult morning with Siri leading us in circles, we found the meet up spot at Houston’s Memorial Park; our friends were there, along with local LPU members and our favorite dream team- Lorenzo, Lulu and Emilio. We were going to weed and spread pine straw over the plants we were cleaning around, while trying to avoid colonies of fire ants. Fun.
With Lorenzo and Emilio, I helped weed through a corner and dig through the dirt to clean it up a bit. Any worms we found, all you would hear is “Ewww!” and it wasn’t from me, ha ha! It was a great time despite the heat, humidity and ants up our pants, and I got to meet Mike Shinoda Clan’s very own Ana (@lpfmfan)! Glad I was a part of it!
That same day in the evening was Houston’s LPU Meet Up at the Hard Rock. We picked up friends from the airport before heading over, arriving a bit early, enough time for our friends to sight see a little bit around the block. It was here I also met LP Live’s contributor Raquel (@numbrockers02).
Our server was amazing from the very beginning, asking about LPU and telling us how his co-workers know he’s on shift when Linkin Park videos start playing. He sang a bit of some songs for us, giving us a great laugh. It wouldn’t have been as great of a time without him. The fact I won one of the raffle items may have helped, too. Got the Deluxe Hunting Party!
— Natasha Lopez de A (@NLopezdeArenosa) September 5, 2014
The rest of the night was spent bursting with excitement, the next morning the eleventh LPU Summit in Woodlands, not far from Houston itself.
This Summit was the first to try a new idea for checking in and instantly sharing photos from the experience. Our laminates now had our names on them, and each was to be bumped to a scanning device on hand and we’d be registered and checked in to instant sharing. Inside, fans were to find volunteers with special cameras in hand. After having a photo taken, they’d scan their pass, make sure they like the photo- and boom. Uploaded and shared with the hashtag #WeAreLPU and a custom frame on the photo for the Summit. I myself didn’t hear of problems with it, so maybe we’ll see it in Amsterdam!
With the heat that day in Houston, we were all sweating and burned within the hour window of just checking in; so, all my gratitude and thanks to the LPU paying to have us inside the House of Blues lounge with the AC! For those of us out of state, we especially appreciate taking care of us!
Inside we first had the entire lounge for the Summit, the tables set up with the activities including auction and raffles, tables for lunch and a back drop to pose for photos to instantly upload. Catering was great at this Summit, probably the best of the five I’ve been to. Stage tours were made, fans came back to a Q&A with some of the crew members, like Pooch and Sam, and even Digby came out to talk to us. Only downside was that by then, the Summit was now in only half the lounge since they had to open doors to the public; with that, there was a lot of noise behind the curtains dividing the lounge and paired with faulty speakers? It was difficult to hear.
After the Q&A with the crew, it was time for the guys to come out, Brad first to make his appearance, giving us a good laugh as he went behind the back drop, peering out through the middle as Mike, Chester, Phoenix and Rob took their seats. Joe at first wasn’t in sight at all, but he strolled in soon enough, hanging out behind our tables with the auction and Stramba figures, saying hi to anyone he ran into.
He soon joined the guys, and they answered a couple of questions as best as they could with audio and mic problems still, but it was fun nonetheless, especially when someone asked Mike about his Pokemon battle with Anna during their break back home; judging by his answer, he lost pretty badly.
Like at Darien, “Final Masquerade” was played acoustically, and despite the noise from the other side of the curtains, and no mic, Chester of course sounded amazing.
The Meet & Greet then started, our circle around the area a bit tight, but the guys and their security made sure to check everyone was met. Mr. Hahn sketched for me, Rob sang to me, Brad and Chester were really sweet, Phoenix talking tattoos with me- but what really made my Summit experience was Mike agreeing to creating my next tattoo, the first part drawn out, more to be added at the next Summit! I’m anxiously waiting to for it, my tattoo artist already dying with excitement, as well!
The crowd in Houston was mind-blowing, my ears ringing more from the crowd than the music, Chester mentioning that show was first to sell out- definitely keeping Houston on my list of cities to visit during the US tours! I had seats behind VIP for this one, but the energy off stage still reached us. Loved the show.
Our trip back to Dallas started early the next morning, needing to drop off friends at the airport then making it on time for Music for Relief. Unfortunately, we had to pack up early in our day, along with every display out on the concourse, a storm hitting and soaking us. At one point Digby had all of lawn come under the pavilion, the lightening a danger. But after a slow in the rain and strikes, the show went on!
Dallas was a favorite for a couple of reasons not usually considered. We started our night in lawn, but we ended up listening to a good length of the show while sitting out on the concourse, being silly with friends and just talking about our trip so far.
We ended up in the pit only for the encore, but we were there together, wet from rain and other peoples’ sweat, screaming our faces off and singing every word. I loved it. It was a great ending to my
Carnivores Tour visit in Texas; a great ending despite still staying three more days, since we did absolutely nothing but gush over the show and sleep. It was glorious.