Wednesday, June 16, 2004

The front row ticket was totally worth it! Linkin Park rocks!!! I arrived at the venue a little past 8 pm and a lot of people were still lining up to get in. Some were waiting outside hoping to catch the music at least from a distance. But before I went to the gate I hid my camera and tried my best to be calm lest I'd be found out. The venue was huge and I forgot that I was supposed to proceed to the right side when I went left and wasted precious minutes looking for the right gate written on my ticket. Halfway through the journey on my way to the right side, the music started and at the time I thought it was the front act doing their stuff so I didn't hurry. When I got the biggest surprise of my life when I got in: they were already on stage! Actually at first I didn't it was them. Even when I got into position at the edge of the crowd, I still didn't think it was them. Realization only began to sink in when I saw the image of drummer Rob Bourdon projected on one of the 2 big screens beside the stage. I thought... Oh wow! I also saw some of the people holding up digital cameras and mobile phones trying to get decent pictures from their positions. I got my camera ready and started snapping pictures. I initially didn't use the flash on the camera hoping I could get better lighting conditions using available light inside the venue and those coming from the stage. But with the guys moving around the stage the first set of pictures I got were all blurred. I started inching a lot closer to the middle of the venue and I only stopped when the people stood their ground and wouldn't let me pass. The crowd was composed of different people from all walks of life. Some even brought their kids to the concert, some were way past the middle age, and some were college-level Caucasians enjoying the show. The audience's energy knew no end as they jumped and sang along with most of the songs.

Chester Bennington was dressed funnily enough with his hair parted on one side, white collars sticking out of his black shirt emblazoned with a red cross and skull making him look like a little Hitler (no offense). Mike Shinoda was all smiles all throughout and even played up to the crowd by saying "How do you say thank you? (refers to his guide written on a piece of paper) Salamat!" and "Itaas ang kamay (Put your hands up in the air)!"* among other things. That last one, everyone held their hands up high in almost perfect unison before the song started. Guitarist Brad Delson was now sporting a full beard and an afro, a far cry from his image from their videos where he sports a goatee and semi-bald look. He looked real creepy whenever he played to the crowed by waving his hands mechanically and staring hard at the audience. Bassist Phoenix Farrell looked serious all throughout the concert and didn't seem to smile at all although he was singing along to them songs.

This was, I think, the third song. Mike totally owned the stage when he rapped.

I wish I could remember what they performing in this one.

This is the only solo shot that I got of drummer Rob Bourdon.

Props to lead vocalist Chester Bennington for pushing his vocal chords beyond their limits.

Phoenix stood there watching the crowd.

They were performing my favorite song "Faint" in this shot. I think.

Brad was one of the really cool ones.

This was during the song "Somewhere I Belong".

So was this one.

Joe Hahn throwing away his towels to the crowd.

Wet with sweat but happy, happy, happy!

Me, Jac, her younger sister, Wan-wan, and Az outside the gates.

I got a list of songs they performed as posted by cropper from PinoyExchange.com in no particular order: Dont Stay, Somewhere I Belong, Lying from You, Faint, Breaking the Habit, From the Inside, Numb, Paper Cut, One Step Closer, With You, Points of Authority, Runaway, In the End, A place for my head, Wish (an original by Nine Inch Nails), Crawling, and a mix of songs composed of Step Up, Its Going Down, and Nobody's Listening. Half the time I was in a daze watching them and taking pictures but the other times when they performed familiar songs I would be jumping up and down singing along with the crowd. Chester threw 2 water bottles to the crowd, making sure they would be caught safely. Then there was this time when they picked one fan from the audience to sing along with them (during the song "A Place for My Head"). Brad pointed one they thought was the craziest of them all ,i>(front row crowd) and they waited for him to get up on stage. They relaxed a bit while waiting, Chester remarked that Rob was the only one who gets drum solo so Mike took one drumstick from him and started making his own beat to Rob's drumming. When the fan finally got on stage he ran to Chester and hugged him tightly. Then he was asked if he knew the lyrics to the song so they could sing together. When they started playing again, the fan started dancing crazy around the stage so Mike guided him back to the front and started singing with him. Everybody was really envious of the treatment that he got. I tried taking a picture of them at that part but they were moving around so much that getting a clear picture was next to impossible. I don't think there's enough words for me to express what we all felt in last night's concert. When they announced their last song, the reaction of the crowd was all mixed up but most of us couldn't believe that it would all end so soon (around 9:30 pm).

After Chester finished singing, the band members stood up to the edge of the stage and waved goodbye. Joseph Hahn threw away his towels to the crowd, Brad and Phoenix threw guitar picks, while Rob got a handful of drumsticks and threw them one by one. He was also the first one to go off-stage but before he did he took his own time waving and saying goodbye to the people. Then he exited right, then Chester, then Mike went off stage near the center of the stage, then Phoenix got off too while Brad and Mr. Hahn remained on till they turned out the lights. Still, everyone in the audience stood their ground in denial that the concert was over. Even when the lights were turned on they milled around wondering what just happened, wishing that it was a false ending and the guys would go on stage again and perform more songs. When the crew went up and started dismantling the set everyone got the cue and started off to the nearest exits. I called up my brother to tell him that the concert was over and thankfully he and the others were just on their to Starbucks so he told me to hang out and wait for them. I also called Az on the phone and asked him the exact spot where we could meet along with the others. Jac was also there with her sister. We all talked about the concert for a while and even bought some buttons before going our separate ways. That time I was still in denial and I was still wondering what had happened. Reality set in some minutes later on the road with my brother and the family to Greenhills. I wanted more! More!! MORE!!! I had an extremely hard time picking out the best of the best pictures I got from the concert (believe me I have a LOT) but hopefully these pics convey the best parts of it. I don't regret blowing almost all my money for that concert ever. For it was one the best ones I've ever attended and something that will stay with me for a very long time!

* Check out the other reactions to last night's concert in the Linkin Park Message Board.

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