02/14/2004: "The Concert"music: Pearl Jam – Jeremy, Linkin Park – My
When I woke up an hour after noon, my ears were still ringing. I was still thirsty. I was still wearing the Linkin Park T-Shirt I bought last night. These are all signs that it was one incredible night at the Tacoma dome.
Last night, I went to the P.O.D. / Linkin Park concert with Beth. We left Bellevue just after 4:00 for Tacoma. When we got to Tacoma, we stopped at a WaMu so I could get some cash, then headed towards the Tacoma Dome, arriving about 5:30. We then got into the significant but not monstrous general admission line. The line started moving about ten to six – and we quickly made our way into the Dome. During a quick bathroom break I was impressed that all the guys seemed to flush after themselves and wash their hands. This confirms my suspicions that most Linkin Park fans are well mannered. After working our way up to about the forth row of the pit, about half way to the right of the stage, the opening band came on.
The first act was called Story of the Year, and was quite enjoyable except for the foul mouth of the lead singer between songs. The most interesting part of their performance was the synchronized roundabout kicks, and the lead guitarist’s back flips and guitar-roundabouts. The music was all right as well in their short 30 minute set. Next up was Hoobastank, a band whose name I am unfamiliar with, but a couple of their songs sounded familiar, so they must be getting radio airtime. Musically, I liked Hoobastank better than Story of the Year, but they lacked the stage presence of the first performers. After Hoobastank’s 30 minute set and another short pause, P.O.D. took the stage and the pits, which had been getting rowdier steadily throughout the night, began to get brutal. Beth and I began having trouble staying together, and she soon decided that it was going to be a little too much for her, so she took off to find more suitable territory. While we had been as far up as the third row, by the time she took off we were six or seven rows back. But without another person to worry about, I was soon working my way back towards the front. I am not terribly familiar with P.O.D.’s music, although I do like Youth of the Nation quite a bit. I enjoyed most of their other music as well, and they got the pits liquid enough that I was able to make it to about three columns off center and back to the forth row from the front. By this time I was sweating pretty well, but I was not alone by any means. P.O.D.’s set included much more stage effects than the previous two bands had. Green lasers painted the backdrop and ceiling, lighted murals came out, and the lighting effects were generally more sophisticated.
After P.O.D. finished, a huge sheet blocked our view of the stage as Linkin Park prepared itself. It took them a while, and the crowd was getting restless by the time the filler music stopped and the lights changed, signaling the beginning of what pretty much everyone had come for. The roar of the crowd began rising, and crescendoed when then the huge sheet was backlit, and the silhouette of Chester appeared. Then the sheet fell and the music began and everything that had happened in the pits before seemed like child’s play. The crowd surged in every direction; the music was intense and wonderful; I knew every word to every song performed. At times I pressed my way forward in the crowd, and at other times I just myself go with the flow. The entire time I was taking pictures – enough that a few actually turned out decently. They will be posted.
I cannot recall exactly which songs were played and in what order – my mind was really overwhelmed with the sensory input – but I do recall some things: Among the songs played were Papercut, With You, Points of Authority, Somewhere I Belong, Nobody’s Listening, Breaking the Habit (with a new down tempo intro), Lying From You, Numb, From the Inside (my favorite from Meteora), Crawling (My favorite from Hybrid Theory), and In the End. Mike said, just before performing In The End, that it was getting to be about time for them to leave. I was switching batteries when he came out into the crowd, and got no pictures of it (in fact, I don’t even remember it happening – I was concentrating too much on not losing my camera in the crowd, but Beth told me about it later).
Linkin Park left after that, but we were not about to let them leave us without a few more songs. The group certainly has a sense of timing. As determined as everyone was to get them back by chating “Encore!” then “Linkin Park! Linkin Park” while people in the stands stomped their feet and we all generally made a bunch of non-stop noise, the crowd had almost loosing hope after the minutes that the stage remained empty. A stage crewmember even came out and took down some microphones. The crowd quieted just a bit – could they really be leaving without an encore? But then, up on his stand on the left of the stage, DJ Joseph Hahn reappeared and the Tacoma Dome shook with thunderous applause as the rest of Linkin Park came back onto stage.
The Encore, I actually remember quite distinctly, since the lull in music let me regain some composure as the pits calmed down for a while. They started with My December, with subdued lighting and Chester sitting center stage on a box singing. Then came P5hing me Aw*y, my favorite from Reanimation, followed by the traditional Linkin Park concert ender (if Live in Texas is anything to go by) One Step Closer. Three songs is a pretty generous encore, and so I decided it really was the last song of the night (they even said so, and I tend to trust these guys) so I decided I would surf to the front of the crowd. I let the guys near me know my intentions and they helped me up top. The crowd control guys got me down the front, and directed me to the right. It was much cooler out of the crowd – the first relief from the oppressive heat of thousands of bodies pressed together I had all night. Unfortunately, there were no good picture opportunities of the band while I was closer than even the front row, but I did get a few pictures of the crowd on my way out, and some wide angle shots of the whole stage during the last moments of One Step Closer. People dispersed pretty quickly after that. Beth and I found each other again, I drank about a gallon of water from the drinking fountains, and then we got into line so I could purchase a couple of Linkin Park shirts.
After that we headed home. Once home, I ate some salty chips (to replenish the salt lost to sweat) and made myself some chili. Then I downloaded the pictures and movies from my camera. It turns out the bass was way too much form my camera, so all of the sound is distorted during the movies except the parts where there is singing without heavy guitars. I also realized I was really tired, so I did a small post and went to sleep. I didn’t get up until 1:00 – and felt well rested, although my ears were still ringing slightly and I was thirsty again. Since then I’ve basically hung out here, since I’m so cool and Amanda is working all day. :-/