Linkin Park, Ritual, Hollywood, CA. July 17, 2007
I had the unexpected
privilege of receiving a last minute invitation to another grand opening (I
believe there's actually been a couple) for the bar/club Ritual in
there would end up being only about 500 people in the audience for what was
definitely a club event (not my scene at all) that also served as a warmup for
It became apparent that this was no regular concert. Regular concerts do not have chocolate fountains (although they should), nor the classy food that was available inside the club. The semi-clear plastic cups full of Miller Lite were nowhere to be found, replaced instead by an open bar (O-M-G, free apple-tinis! Only kidding! kind of… they are tasty…for women, of course, not men… like me… who like Jager and malt liquor… yeaaahhh...love that stuff…) that actually served drinks in real glasses! And not to knock some of the fantastic looking people that I have seen at shows in the past, but this was the best dressed and most attractive crowd that I have ever been a part of – my 12th grade Social Studies class comes in at a close second.
A little after ten, a couple hours after doors opened, LP took the stage, which initiated a mass migration of well-dressed attendees toward the stage. While the now-anxious crowd was raucous and moved enthusiastically to the opening number, "One Step Closer," I couldn't help but think that if this had been a typical LP concert rather than an upscale club event, my five foot tall frame would have been crushed by fans eager to take over my front row spot. Luckily for me, this was one of the few general admission-type audiences where I wasn’t stuck behind giants and inside Amazon women’s cleavage (I can work with that one), and I was actually able to secure a decent view of the stage.
Following up one of my
favorite tracks, LP played "Lying From You" and "Somewhere I
Belong." Throughout the performances, I was pleasantly surprised, yet
borderline shocked, to witness how much lead singer Chester Bennington's voice
actually sounded like it does on CD – something I always appreciate, especially
with screaming rock bands and rappers.
The complete set for the night was as follows:
- One Step Closer
- Lying From You
- Somewhere I Belong
- No More Sorrow
- From The Inside
- Numb (sans Jay-Z/Encore remix)
- Pushing Me Away
- Breaking the Habit
- What I've Done
- Bleed It Out
Some call this garbage, but I call this adhesive gold (Linkin Park's set list ripped off the floor of the stage after the concert, complete with authentic LP footprints). My shadow makes it look like I am wearing MC "Hammer Pants," but I swear they are basketball shorts...that resemble Hammer Pants.
Chester Bennington's voice was just as you'd expect it all night: loud, angry, full of energy, and, well, sweaty. I remember my high school gymnastics coach (don't hate; I have asscheeks like Adonis and bulletproof abs) would always tell us, "Don't win the warm up." Well, if this concert was the warm up for Linkin Park's upcoming tour, their true fans are in for a huge treat because even the hipster crowd (many of whom were clearly club regulars, rather than fans of the band) on the dance floor couldn't resist the energy rolling off stage. The crowd was a fraction of the size of those the SoCal band is used to, but they put on a kickass show for those of us who were able to resist the swanky open bar and the opportunities it provided to schmooze with the likes of NFL Hall of Fame running back Eric Dickerson.
Some of the night's
highlights included an acoustic version of "Pushing Me Away," which
featured just Bennington
I remember when Linkin Park was set to release their first studio album and "Crawling" was used as a promo for a then-WWF pay-per-view event. Initially, I thought that this would be their biggest break, accompanying clips of wrestlers like The Undertaker and Y2J while they ran around in spandex for the male soap opera spectacle that is professional wrestling. Tonight, however, I got to hear the band reminisce about how they used to play at The Whisky with System of a Down before they exploded onto the music scene. Linkin Park has come a long way from its humble, small venue roots, and for those of us in attendance it was something special to be a part of the group's one night trip back in time.