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Friday, October 16, 2009

10 Easy Steps to Successfully Enjoying a Private LP Meet and Greet

It's a rare, but awesome occurrence when a few lucky fans are chosen to hang out with the guys of Linkin Park for a few minutes backstage at a concert. It's even more uncommon when they are picked to fly across the country to invade the band's personal space while they rehearse for an upcoming show. As one of the lucky few that have been able to do just this, here are my top ten tips to remember when traveling and seeing Linkin Park in such an intimate situation.

10.) If possible, book your own plane tickets:

I only say this because I flew across the United States not sitting next to my friend who I invited to go with me, but jammed in between a creepy guy who wouldn't look away from the window and a girl who slept the entire four hour flight to Los Angeles, completely disregarding the fact that I might need to use the restroom at some point. I suppose I wasn't as bad off as the friend who accompanied me, as she was seated between two extremely old and odd smelling men who snored the entire flight.

This option also alleviates the problematic "arriving hours before your hotel check-in time." Our plane landed in Los Angeles around 9:15 am local time. Given, the drive from the LAX Airport to our hotel on Sunset Boulevard took about an hour and a half, but our check-in time wasn't until about 3:00 that afternoon. Luckily enough, however, there was a room ready for us when we got there.

Request a hotel room on the front of the hotel:

This is just a personal preference, but on the off-chance that you are stuck up in the "marvelous" Luxe Hotel on Sunset Boulevard like we were, you will probably have the same small complaint. We stepped into our "spacious" hotel room, exhausted from our almost ten-hour ordeal starting at 3:30am Eastern time and ending at 11:30am Pacific Standard time. Deciding that we needed some of the gorgeous California sunshine in our room while we relaxed, I threw back the balcony curtain and gazed not at the amazing Los Angeles skyline, not at the beautiful Pacific ocean, but at the side of a dirt mound with a few trees growing out of it. Such a refreshing site after a long day of dashing around in airports and almost dying on the Los Angeles freeway.

Never, and I repeat, NEVER, place your room key-card near your cell phone:

This is a bit of common sense for those people that have stayed at hotels many times before, but for those that haven't: Just don't do it. I'm not stupid, but in the midst of everything that was happening around me, I forgot not once, not even twice. I forgot three times. Now, you may ask, "Jade, what happens when you put your card near your cell phone?" Well, kids, it goes something like this: You spend part of your afternoon down in the hotel café, enjoying a nice, leisurely lunch after a long day of flying. Afterward, you decide that you would like to take a nap in your hotel room. You make your way up the stairs, past the elevators, down a long hallway, and stop at your door. You extract your key-card from the pants pocket in which you shoved it, so carelessly, next to your cell phone. And then you try, unsuccessfully, to open your door. You jerk on the door handle. You look embarrassedly around the hallway as people look at you. You curse at the wood, kicking it a few times. And then once you finally come to the conclusion that your luck pretty much sucks and you aren't going to get into your room this way, you trapse back down the hallway, past the elevators, and then down the stairs, where you throw your key-card onto the front counter and tell the person working that you've deactivated your card. Sounds fun, right??

Do not expect your limo to be on time:

This one truly isn't a joke. With Los Angeles traffic (especially on the day of the Laker's Parade), people have to leave a while before it's time to be at work. If you're told your limo (or what-have-you) will arrive around 12:00pm, expect it around 12:30pm. And then count on that, because your best friend (who already lives in California) will probably be running later than the limo driver.

Prepare yourself for a lot of interviews:

No one informed me, when I climbed onto a plane in Indianapolis, Indiana, that I would be sitting in front of two cameras, answering questions I didn't know how to answer properly, while five other people watched and laughed. However, that's exactly what happened when my best friend, Clare, and I arrived at Third Encore studio in Burbank. Expect this if you did something other people would consider worth of honor, like raise a lot of money for Music for Relief. Along those same lines, expect that you will walk around for the rest of the day with a microphone pack hanging from the back your belt.

5.) Do not tell Joe Hahn where you're from:

Joe: Where are you from?
Me: Indiana.
Joe: India?
Me: No, Indiana.
Joe: I've been to India. Did you know: if there was a girl and her name was "Anna" and she did a lot of work for "Indy," she would be "Indy-Anna."
Me: ...

Enough said.

Do not, under any circumstances, expect a perfect performance:

During most live shows, things go wrong, but we don't notice them because Linkin Park pulls them off so well. However, in a private rehearsal performance, they are not afraid to make mistakes. While Mike Shinoda may look around embarrassedly, Chester Bennington pulls them off humorously. After the ambient introduction to "What I've Done," which was their first song, Mike attempted to play the piano and watched on in horror as nothing happened. Silence ensued and we giggled. Chester made a wise-crack while Mike fixed the problem, essentially diverting our attention away from the minor screw-up. After the song started a second time, there were no noticeable problems and we jammed out to some great live music.

3.) DO NOT take out your cell phone during a private performance:

This is a serious matter and I got yelled at for it. No audio from private performances is allowed to leave the room. I heard my phone beep loudly in my pocket and nonchalantly pulled it out to see who had called. It was my mother. While I was asked very promptly and firmly to put my cell phone away, I was inwardly relieved that music had been playing when my mother had called. Otherwise, the men of Linkin Park would have heard a loud chorus of "Your Momma's Callin' Back!" in the tune of "SexyBack." Mortifying.

Remember the random tid-bits of trivia you learn whist there:

I'm lucky enough to have a memory that greatly out-does a goldfish and I remember a lot of things I learned while I was in the studio with Linkin Park, such as:

Chester Bennington met his wife, Talinda, in Indiana.
Joe Hahn drinks Robek's smoothies.
Rob Bourdon was the actual director of the "New Divide" music video; however he gave all credit to Joe because it made him feel better about himself (HA!).
If you are pregnant, Chester Bennington will feed you.
In June (2009) Linkin Park (according to Phoenix) was a little over 50% of the way done with the new album. They hadn't lain any vocals on the instrumental tracks yet, but expected to have the album out by March or April of 2010.
Joe Hahn has been to India.

1.) Last, but not least, HAVE FUN.

I know what you're thinking: "Duh!" But honestly, don't go expecting to automatically have fun.
Create your own fun. Make jokes with the guys. Ask them questions. Allow them ask you
questions. Don't just sit there and stare at them. They truly are normal people!

An experience like the one I enjoyed with my friends is something that I wish every Linkin Park fan
could experience, but not all can. If you are one of the lucky few that do, however, remember these
little, but loud tips I've given and you'll be sure to have a great time! =)

Jade, over and out.

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