As I got out of my car and began my walk to The Gramercy Theater, I noticed the wave of fans, most of them wearing Linkin Park shirts, all giving out a surge of excitable energy that would get anyone hyped up. Once inside we got the opportunity to meet Mike Shinoda and it was one of the most amazing experiences in my life. He treated everyone like a long-lost friend, smiling, joking, hugging and just being there.
The show started and he exploded onto the stage with ‘Welcome’, the crowd fed off of the energy and that kept going throughout the night. He played some LP songs but the one that stood out the most was ‘In The End’. Every person in the audience sang along, every person cried and it gave me chills and goosebumps. Mike then told everyone to let their emotions out and told a story about a festival in Japan called Obon where they honor the dead and he began telling stories of Chester Bennington. As he was singing the next song (A mixture of ‘About You’, ‘Over Again’ and ‘Papercut’) someone held up a sign that simply read “MAKE CHESTER PROUD” and believe me, Mike definitely did. He asked the fan if he could have the sign and promised to give it back by the end of the show (which he did) and he hung it on one of the microphone stands and there it stayed the rest of the show.
When the show ended he hung around to sign autographs, chat with fans and make moments. Every single person left with so many emotions that could all be summed up into one feeling, and that feeling was family.
WORDS AND PHOTOS BY HEATHER WILKERSON