Wednesday, January 26, 2011

What I've Done

Anyone who is my friend on Facebook already knows that I went to see Linkin Park play at the Joe Louis Arena in Detroit Tuesday night. It was, as Fiona would put it, OSUM! I don't want to forget a thing, so here's what I remember seeing, thinking and feeling. Warning, really long post to follow. I've split it up with headers so you can skip to the actual LP show if you want.

The show was scheduled to start at 7pm. I work downtown, so I went in to the office late and stayed until 6. It was a short drive (less than 5 minutes) to the Joe Louis but my anxiety was in full swing. What if I couldn't get parking? What if I got lost? What if someone accosted me on my way to or from my car (this IS Detroit we're talking about!)? Around 5, I poured myself some coffee to hopefully give me a jolt long enough to last through my drive home, but I about halfway through drinking it I noticed my hands were sweating, and I was having hot and cold flashes. These are the first two signals my body sends me when I'm starting to have a panic attack. Shit. Thankfully I carry Xanax for just such emergencies and when I notice the signs early enough, one little pill can prevent me from having a full fledged panic attack (which SUCKS. If you've never had one, you have no idea how much. I hope you never have to learn). So I popped the pill, dumped the coffee (caffeine + anxiety = BAD) and calmed myself down enough to get on my way safely.

Driving to the Joe Louis was a piece of cake, and parking was great. There was security EVERYWHERE. Guess us Linkin Park fans can be a rowdy lot. I was pleased to see that I wasn't the only middle-aged, 'normal' looking person in the crowd. Sure, there were a lot of punk kids but there were also couples who I could easily work with or attend a PTA meeting with. Entering the arena, the first thing I noticed was alcohol everywhere. In addition to vendors selling it every few yards, there were guys selling cans of beer in at the foot of every set of doors to the arena itself. Oy. Personally, I don't like to drink at concerts, I want to remember every second and not be a bit foggy. But I knew I'd be surrounded by drunks and I was a little afraid of what kind of people I'd be sitting next to. Did I mention yet that I was all alone?! No protection!

I was in my seat by 6:15 and spent my time waiting for the show to start feverishly checking Facebook. I was very glad to have a smart phone to be able to keep in touch with friends, it made me feel less alone. The two seats on either side of me stayed open until Linkin Park started, which was kind of weird, but kind of nice too. The people behind me were drinking steadily, but they never got so drunk as to be obnoxious. The people in front of me did, but I tried my best to ignore them.

The first band was a mix of techno and metal. I didn't care for them. No idea what their name was, they were British and the accents mixed with the loud music made it impossible to understand a single word they said. The second band was better, more metal/ hard rock but still I don't think I'd buy their album even if I knew their name. Yes, they were just as unintelligible as the first band. Watching them, and the crowd in the pit in front of the stage (I was in the nosebleed section, as you can see from the photo) was interesting. It reminded me a lot of my early twenties, going to concerts in college and later in Germany where the name of the band or how good they were didn't matter, it was about the experience. The pounding music, the flashing lights made me feel that feeling of being lost in the music again, for a few brief moments. It was cool, and I sort of miss being able to descend that deeply in the music, but in the end my pounding head, aching legs and too present brain let me know that I am way too old for that anymore. It makes me a little sad, but I accept it.

The band opened with New Divide, the theme song from Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen. This is one of their very few songs that I don't know well, and the only song that made me feel a bit like a poser as everyone around me sang along and I only mouthed the words to the chorus. I honestly can't remember what they played next. One really great thing to their show, if you texted a code to a number during the show, you got emailed a link to an audio download of the ENTIRE show! It's not available yet, but I am so psyched for when I get it and can relieve the entire experience again and again...

Here's what I can remember of the songs they played, in no particular order:
Bleed it Out
Waiting for the End
Leave Out All the Rest
No More Sorrow
Wisdom, Justice and Love
When They Come For Me
Burning in the Skies
What I've Done
A Place For My Head

I know there was more, they played for about 1.5 hours, but I'm getting confused because I've listened to all their songs so many times that I can't remember if I'm hearing it in my head because they performed it or just because I know it that well and can recall it so easily.

Every song was amazing, they didn't play a single song I don't like. I was super excited when they played a clip from a Martin Luther King Jr. anti-war speech which they put on their album under the title 'Wisdom, Justice, and Love'. The text:

I come to this magnificent house of worship tonight,
Because my conscience leaves me no other choice.
A true revolution of values will lay hands on the world order and say of war:
This way of settling difference is not just.
This business of burning human beings with napalm,
Filling our nation's homes with orphans and widows,
Of injecting poisonous drugs of hate into veins of people normally humane.
Of sending men home from the dark and bloody battlefields physically handicapped and psychologically deranged,
Cannot be reconciled with wisdom, justice and love.

They followed it with my current favorite song: Iridescent. This isn't the best sounding video for it, but most closely resembles my experience

And in a burst of light that blinded every angel
As if the sky had blown the heavens into stars
You felt the gravity of tempered grace
Falling into empty space
With no one there to catch you in their arms.

Do you feel cold and lost in desperation?
You build up hope, but failures all you've known.
Remember all the sadness and frustration
And let it go.
Let it go.

Really, this song, these lyrics, sum up the whole experience for me. I felt so connected to Chester and Mike when they were singing and I really understood where they were coming from, especially Chester. He's got 4 years sober, and most of his music in the last years has been about facing your demons, letting go of your past, forgiving yourself and others. Just look at the lyrics to What I've Done, which is a song I've always loved but never really GOT as well as I did this night. The video is clearly about the shit we humans have done to fuck up the Earth. But watching Chester, singing with him, it was clear to me that the song is about recovery and self-forgiveness.

In this farewell
There's no blood
There's no alibi
'Cause I've drawn regret
From the truth
Of a thousand lies

So let mercy come
And wash away

What I've done
I'll face myself
To cross out what I've become
Erase myself
And let go of what I've done

Put to rest
What you thought of me
While I clean this slate
With the hands
Of uncertainty

So let mercy come
And wash away

What I've done
I'll face myself
To cross out what I've become
Erase myself
And let go of what I've done

For what I've done
I start again
And whatever pain may come
Today this ends
I'm forgiving what I've done

In fact, the whole concert was about recovery and self-forgiveness. It was exactly what I need at this moment in my life and it made me feel so strong and so confident in my choices. So much was illuminated to me about myself, I am so thankful I went. Thank you so much to Chester, Mike and the whole band for being so fucking honest. A lot of people don't like the new sound because they are stuck in the same old rut of hatred, anger and self-loathing, but the new music is about life, love and exploring new things. I love it, I need it, and I'm grateful for it.

1 comment:

Alicia said...

I'm all about going to concerts just for the music nowadays. No more tailgating and partying for me. So I get where you're coming from.

I'm so glad it was such a good experience. Attending a concert by yourself can be scary, but I may acutally give it a try now hearing how well your first went.

Oh, and you are NOT middle-aged! That would make me middle-aged, and that ain't right.