Exactly two years apart, 14,529 kilometers in distance- ‘Google that shit, girl’ -Cape Town and Amsterdam found themselves holding a Linkin Park Underground Summit on the exact same day of November 7th.
Bringing Living Things to an end, a ‘whole’ tour leg of their own, South Africa enriched “world tour” with Cape Town and Johannesburg to host two of the most anticipated shows; twelve years of anticipation, the country well known for their patience in coaxing both promoters and the band to bring their dreams down to their stunning end of the world. Making their debut in South Africa more precious, Linkin Park chose Cape Town to host the seventh LPU Summit.
Two years later, one of the first European cities to kick off The Hunting Party Tour, Amsterdam hosted the twelfth LPU Summit. The Summit now kicked off with an LPU Meet Up the night before, Amsterdam was also drastically different from its sister Summit from just two years before; the LPU Summit in Amsterdam was one of, if not the, most diverse Summits the LPU has ever experienced.
7 NOVEMBER 2012 | CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA
“Remember this date, 7 November 2012. This is the day a family was brought together… a day which many of us in South Africa can always celebrate. This is the day Linkin Park brought our country to life!”
It all started when the announcement was made…..our heroes were finally coming to grace our shores for two shows, one in Cape Town and the other in Johannesburg. That was just the beginning. Little did we know what was to follow next would change our lives. The amazing people at LPU HQ made an announcement that the 7th International Summit would be hosted on our very own shores! Our beautiful Cape Town was the lucky city chosen. I was still recovering from the fact that Linkin Park were coming, and after the Summit announcement, I think I passed out!
I, and many Soldiers, scrambled to get our hands on Summit passes, which were available on 19 October 2012. I mention that date specifically because that was the day I found another family! I remember going through the forum posts on the LPU website shortly after getting my Summit pass. A fellow Soldier by the name of Llewellyn posted that he would be creating a Facebook group called “Linkin Park Summit South Africa” and all those attending the Summit should join, which I naturally did. This was the birth of the amazing family I spoke about.
Within minutes, more and more people started joining the group and each posting about their excitement. Some posted about how they are going to get away from work for that day, and others about bunking exams just to attend. All of us, from different parts of South Africa were coming together.
The most important point I have to make about this group is this: we were roughly eighty strangers from around South Africa- and California- and we made it work. No fighting, no complaining, we all helped each other, went the extra mile and made everyone feel welcomed. That is something special which is very rare. That is the power of Linkin Park and the LP family!
Day before the Summit, I flew the night before and met Llewellyn for the first time in Cape Town. He hired a car, we drove together and met up that evening with part of our family at Primi Piati. Morning after- SUMMIT DAY HAD ARRIVED! Arriving terribly early to the Cape Town Stadium, we met the rest of our family and got to know each other, writing our messages on the flag as we queued and waited with anticipation to get in.
Inside, I was greeted by an awesome dude- the one and only Adam Ruehmer. He handed me my Summit laminate and Tshirt, and I was in! Songs from Meteora were playing in the background as I walked through taking a look around as to what was in store. First stop I made were the raffle boxes. We could win the following: 1) A photo with Linkin Park 2) Side stage for the first three songs 3) Photographer pit for the first three songs.
The basic plan for the day was the raffle and auction, a picture chance with Brad’s guitar, Q&A with the crew, a tour of either backstage or onstage, M&G with Linkin Park and finally, for the first time ever, we were going to witness a sound check as well. As the auction and raffle drew to a close, I made my way over to the table and looked at the three numbers that were drawn for the photo with Linkin Park. I stopped, my heart literally skipped a beat and I jumped up and screamed! I WON A PHOTO OPPORTUNITY WITH LINKIN PARK! This day just kept on getting better!
We were then split into groups for the tours. I chose the backstage tour, the experience truly insightful as we learnt so much about what happens behind the scenes and even got a tour of the change room. Just before the tour ended, Linkin Park arrived and some of the groups got to have a personal tour by Chester and Mike. We made our way back up and were told to all gather on one side. At this point Adam announced that the three winners of the photo opportunity should come forward to the other side of the room. My heart started racing and I was sweating! This was it! After years of waiting I was finally going to meet my heroes! I stood waiting, looking towards the door at the entrance. Silhouettes started walking by, and the first person through was Rob! Everyone started screaming! This was it. Rob came up to me and shook my hand! Next in was Brad, followed by Joe, Chester, Phoenix and Mike who all came up to greet. We had our turns to take our pics with them, then proceeded to the rest of the family for the group photo.
This was then followed by the famous Meet and Greet, where we all stood in a line, and the guys came up to us to sign an item of our choosing, have a chat and a lucky few got to sneak in a pic. One fellow Soldier gave the guys Vuvuzelas as a gift. Unfortunately, not all of them could blow it correctly, besides Mike. At this point, Llewellyn handed over our precious flag that we made. After that was done, we all made our way down to the stage to witness the first ever soundcheck! They started off with Faint. I was literally in tears! I could not believe that I was finally seeing Linkin Park live! It was truly unbelievable! They continued with a couple more songs from all the albums. This was basically a mini concert for us, it was insane!
The last song, Lost in the Echo, was played, and sadly they had to leave to prepare for the concert. This was the end of the Summit, and it was such an incredible experience! It was honestly the best day I have ever had in my life. I don’t think anything can top this! I unfortunately could not stay for the concert later on, and had to make my way back to Johannesburg. I bid my family farewell and hit the road. I got to witness the concert when they performed in Johannesburg a few days later. It was beyond phenonmenal!
Three years later, and I still talk and think about that experience. I have made lifelong friends with the people I met and I truly feel blessed! We are the Linkin Park Family! If I could send out a message to Linkin Park, from all of us it would be this:
Through your music you inspire us, through you we grow. Your music is shared in times of happiness, and brings us out of the dark in times of sorrow. This is the impact that has branded each and every one of us. We are proud to be a part of the Linkin Park Family. We thank you for honouring us with your music and keeping our spirits alive.
The 7 November 2012 was a day and moment we will always cherish, today, tomorrow and forever!
-Shaun Muthaya, Pretoria, South Africa