There are dreams that seem unreachable and impossible. Yet if you just wish hard and pray sincerely enough, one day that dream might just come true.
I missed Linkin Park’s concert when they first came here in 2004. I was still a student during that time and spending for concert shows was not an attractive idea. So when the concert industry took a second wind with international acts coming to the country to perform, I was one of the million soldiers who went to social media to petition concert producers to take Linkin Park here.
The bands just kept on coming—old and new, they caught me under a spell that I find myself wanting to watch their every show. Yet deep inside, I was hoping that Chester, Mike, Joe, Brad, Rob, and Phoenix would take notice of their Filipino fans and come back to the Philippines.
Then the day came. Gut feeling was already telling me that finally, LP will drop by the country as part of their world tour. They day before they made the official announcement I got news from a friend that it was indeed, LP, having a concert by August 13.
The sudden euphoria when the one thing you’ve been waiting for to happen actually happens. Excitement takes over your whole body and you spread the news to your friends who are also fans of the band.
Then reality hits me. The venue was too far (you were expecting Araneta) and then ticket prices made me cry. Too expensive. I just don’t want to empty my pocket that way. It’s just too impractical. Yet deep inside, I knew that if anyone asked me to have VIP tickets with him/her, I would easily give in. (Thank God no friend did!). So I took my time deciding which ticket to purchase and finally settled with the next best section available—Gold Standing.
Like the other hard core fans, I joined contests.
I told myself if I cannot be the first in line of the crowd, I might as well meet the band. So I wished hard. I prayed hard for a miracle.
I was about to give up.
Morning of the concert, I got the best news of my life (so far): I won a Meet and Greet pass from Scala Events (the local producer) and LPU. Was I dreaming? I had to check my e-mail again and again. Damn. There was my name!
I didn’t care if I had to wake up early to cover an event in the morning. All I knew was my prayers have been answered. I am going to meet my favorite band.
You know that feeling when you are about to do something big you get too scared? That was what I was feeling as the clock ticked that day.
“I am going to meet Linkin Park.
“I am going to meet Linkin Park!
“Oh, God. Please don’t let me say or do stupid things when it’s my turn. Oh, wait. I hope they make it a one-on-one session. Not just a photo op. I really want to talk to them….
“What will I say to them? ‘I am your biggest fan.’ No. I don’t think I can say that. I know I’m not.
“What took you so long to come back?”
Yeah. If you saw me roaming the streets with an odd look on my face that day, that was because I was having all these thoughts in my head.
Meeting your fellow soldiers
The nice thing about concerts especially during M&Gs is you get to meet people who also dig your favorite band. Some of them you might just know by their online names while you meet there in the venue itself.
I had to rush to the venue because we had a call time. Falling in line, I met the other winners/fans. The guy before me was Carl. The girl behind me was Eunice.
The walk to the M&G room was short but it was like a lifetime.
Missy (in charge of the M&G) briefed us on how the process will take place. There would a group photo with the band and then we would have to take steps back so we would form a line with our backs on the wall and wait for our turn for the band members to approach us and sign our stuff (poster, shirt, CD. I chose the cover of my Living Things CD).
Missy had to remind us again of the rules:
No one-on-one picture taking
Stay in your line
Don’t faint when it’s your turn.
Meeting the band
Everyone was trying to calm down while waiting for the band. A lot of fans were warming up with the others. Some were taking souvenir photos of the group.
When Mr. Hann stepped in, the room went crazy. I had to crane my neck to see him. And even before we had formed our line, he started approaching us and signing our stuff. He was the first to sign my CD. I was so stunned I didn’t get to say anything but, “Hi, welcome back!”
The rest of the LP members came in and you could tell Mike and Chester was in the room because everyone, even the boys, just couldn’t help themselves.
The official photo for the LPU website had to be taken first so we had to sit down. I was seated near guitarist Brad and Chester sat front and center. I had to stop myself from moving upfront because it would look impolite for me to leave Brad, right?
What touched me was how Mike squeezed himself among the people at the back when he could have just stayed up front. It was really very nice of him to do that.
We then waited for our turn to have our items signed. Phoenix, Brad and Rob all got my shy “Welcome back and thank you”. You could tell I was bracing myself for my turn with Mike and Chester.
Mike, Mike, Mike. Such a cool and sweet guy. He was the only one from the band whose smile never faded during the entire M&G. And you can really feel he was sincere. I really wanted to hug him. I wish I did.
Now when it was Chester’s turn to sign my CD, here was how it went (not verbatim though):
Me (when Chester was about to sign my CD cover): Uhm…Hi, Chester (smiling, holding my breath). Welcome back to Manila.
Chester (looking at me, smiling too): Thank you! It’s nice to be back. (about to turn to the girl next to me)
Me: Yeah, it took you so long. Nine years…(still holding my breath)
Chester (turning his attention back to me): Wow, that long?
I swear, I could have died there. Okay, maybe that’s too much but it really felt that way. It was surreal. It was my dream coming true.
Then Some More
I was in hysteria as I was talking to my friend on the phone (Oh yeah, I have his tickets! Haha!) but nothing prepared me for what was about to happen next.
We thought we were being ushered back to the entrance. We found ourselves at the VIP section of the concert grounds.
I just had to scream. Good thing Eunice (who became my concert buddy for that night) was as ecstatic as me. I just couldn’t believe my luck.
Urbandub was on their last few songs when we got there. Too bad I didn’t get to watch their set in full. Just the same, I was dancing and singing when they sang First of Summer.
We waited for Linkin Park to start their show. We didn’t get disappointed. What took place in the next minutes was what the fans had been hoping for. We waited for nine years (13 for me).
A lot of their songs came from the Hybrid Theory and Meteora albums but they also played few tracks from A Thousand Suns and their latest, Living Things:
A Place for My Head
Somewhere I Belong
Lies Greed Misery
Points of Authority
Waiting in the End
Breaking the Habit
Castle of Glass
Leave Out All the Rest/Shadow of the Day/Iridescent
What I’ve Done
Burn it Down
In the End
Bleed it Out
Lying from You
It’s very. very difficult to choose which song or set was the best because I enjoyed every part of the concert. But I really loved the medley of Leave Out All the Rest, Shadow of the Day, and Iridescent. The entire Mall of Asia brightened with lights coming from the audience’ phones and glow sticks. And the three songs really hold a special place in my heart so it was really an effort not to cry during this set!
We were standing a few meters away from the stage. And it was really hard to see the band since most of the people had their cameras or phones up! I hated the fact that the two guys in front of me were big guys (they were foreigners) so I just enjoyed the music and let the crowd push me towards the stage.
With more push and with my size, I finally found myself standing in the second row of the right side of the stage. It was amazing.
Then during the encore, Mike crowd surfed (on my other side) and Chester came closer to the audience! Everyone was trying to get close to him. I was right there in the middle, getting squeezed by these people around me. Instead of resisting the force, I allowed myself to get pushed again. Then I started reaching out…
At first I got the wrong hand but on my second try, I had my left hand around Chester’s right arm. I didn’t care if my neck was killing me or if people were still trying to get close to Chester. I held on to him for as long I could remember. He was belting out and I was like holding on for dear life.
Then it came to the part we hated the most: the band playing their last song and saying goodbye to the crowd.
We didn’t want them to go. Flyers that bear “Come back soon!” were also noticed by the band.
“Best crowd in the tour so far,” was what Chester said of the Filipino fans.
Like the rest of LP soldiers, I hope it doesn’t take them another nine years to come back.
Right now though, almost a month after the concert, I still couldn’t believe I have ticked one item off my bucket list: to watch Linkin Park live and meet them in person.
It just goes to show that dreams really do come true.