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July 19, 2007

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 Hollywood on Tuesday night. While I struggled to fit in with the red carpet atmosphere - all the beautiful, tall people with their Blackberrys and flashy attire (was this a concert or a sweaty Calvin Klein ad?) - I couldn't believe that I was actually going to see my favorite "I'm driving and singing with my angry face" rap-rock group-Linkin Park!


Incredibly, 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 LP's upcoming summer tour. As I made my way down the red carpet, I briefly toyed with the idea of stripping naked and doing the "Running Man" (because that's clearly what people do on the red carpet) in an effort to garner myself some media exposure (pun intended). I hoped that someone would throw me a bone and mistake me for William Hung, or even "Jin tha MC," but it was not to be.


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. Lead singer-Chester joked that the crowd was a good LA crowd, because those of us gathered by the stage weren't perpetually fondling our Blackberrys; the industry types gathered by the bar in a self-important circle jerk, however, were a different story.

The complete set for the night was as follows:

- One Step Closer

- Lying From You

- Somewhere I Belong

- No More Sorrow

- From The Inside

- Papercut

- Points

- Numb (sans Jay-Z/Encore remix)

- Pushing Me Away

- Breaking the Habit

- Crawling

- What I've Done

- Bleed It Out

- Faint


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's voice accompanied by a piano and rolled straight into a full band performance of "Breaking the Habit."  While it's difficult to say what the best performance was, "Crawling" was my favorite; Chester and Co. were able to get the club "hoppin'" with his insane vocals. Again, the crowd's energy is typically relative to the venue, but from my front row spot, I was hard pressed to say anything even close to negative about the show or the crowd’s reaction to it.


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.

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cool pix!


lucky to have seen them, that chester fellow should keep a shirt on though, he looks like me only with tattoos.


I wish my Samsung phone too pics this good.

Robbie Q

ah good old linkin park, they are great. Nice review, nice pics, and i totally would have thought you were william hung on the red carpet.


those small venues are awesome.


Nice writeup, although I am not a huge fan of LP. However, I am a HUGE fan of chocolate fountains.


Wow. Loved the review and AWESOME pictures. Great work!


You're too funny with the apple-tinis. You know, cosmos are equally girly, but delicious.


HAHAHA, hilarious stuff man, sounded like a great show. Don't listen to LP, but I had to download Crawling. Haha, you totally do look like you have mc hammer pants, love the part about the gym teacher, and who doesn't love circle jerks. Great JOB!!!


chung! how you got to see Linkin Park with only 500 people, E.Dick AND an open bar is beyond me. You might have your own talk show on E! here pretty soon. And i would TiVo the HELL out of that show too! Love your writing!


another awesome review/pictures! and hammer pants are hotttt!


Those are awesome pics and looks like their played a bunch of their top notch songs! Amazing!


you are such a talented writer! and the pics are great! i love reading your blog :) good luck!


What a great opportunity to see Linkin Park, especially in that atmosphere. I'd love to see them in concert sometime! Glad you got this opportunity.


yummmm chocolate fountain...


that's so awesome to see them live


totally jealous!


awesome review and cool pics!

Double J

Nice post, love LP, can't wait to see what's next.


With his head shaved, Chester B bears a striking resemblance to Freddy Krueger.


I just got their new album. I think the song about the sun setting on you is permanently stuck in my head.


Stuck inbetween amazon women's clevage? I wish that had happened for you! Awesome review!!!

Nati G.

OMG DCUSC you rock!! next time please do the naked running man so that you can end up on perezhilton.com or TMZ!! ok thanks!! :-)


LP kicks ass~ and hahaha, daaaymn chester is a lot scrawnier than I thought! Reguardless, awesome pictures and review.


Dave loving the posts and am a huge linkin park fan. Damn, I wish I got to see them live!!!!!

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