Linkin Park 'live' Singapore style
LINKIN Park may know how to rock. But judging from its first-ever concert in Singapore last night, their fans probably don't.
Then again, maybe it's because the more hardcore ones were not inside the venue, but were listening to the US nu-metal band for free outside the Padang's 4.5m high covered barricades.
One man even ran to the middle of the road and shook his booty to the music, after which he was promptly chased away by a policewoman who whacked him with her beret.
And he didn't even need a ticket to let loose.
Hundreds more also joined him in camping around the Padang. Some brought chairs and even contemplated climbing trees and lamp posts to get a better view.
But why not pay to go in?
Most of the reasons were: To save money, and to avoid being packed like sardines with the crowd.
Anyway, half of the big screen could be seen from their vantage point.
In contrast, it was was far from frenzied and spontaneous inside the Padang.
As usual, Linkin Park delivered a rousing, first-class 90-minute set.
Singer Chester Bennington's screaming vocals were sturdy and pitch-perfect - although he did forget the words to the opening verse of Numb, but laughed it off.
Technically, Linkin Park's live performance - which included headbanging hits like Papercut, One Step Closer, Somewhere I Belong and Faint - was flawless.
Everything was in place for a rowdy night.
Before the concert started, emcees Daniel Ong and Sheikh Haikel announced that Bennington had told them backstage that he hoped Singapore audiences would 'go crazy'.
Haikel added: 'If you're working tomorrow, take MC! If you're going to school tomorrow, take MC! Because you have the right to party tonight!'
But these words fell mostly on deaf ears.
The majority of the 15,000-strong crowd - ranging from pre-teen boys and their parents to teens and twenty-somethings - was content to stand rooted to the grass, arms folded, faces expressionless.
If it wasn't an all-standing venue and if seats were provided, you can bet your last copy of Hybrid Theory that they'd be sitting down.
Some, like actress Corinne Adrienne, model Serena Adsit and their friends, were more busy taking photos of themselves on their camera handphones than watching the concert.
Freelance art director Tan Sheng Yeow, 27, paid $150 for a place in the mosh pit,
He was surprised the crowd ended up being so 'well-behaved' and 'sedate'.
Mr Tan said: 'There was so much potential to go wild and crazy, even more so than at the Red Hot Chili Peppers concert, because we're at such a big open-air venue, and not the Singapore Indoor Stadium.
'I even managed to bodysurf! But all the young boys around me just kept looking at me and made me feel old and crazy.'
His friend, Mr Roger Wong, 27, a science communicator, added: 'Maybe the young crowd's still nursing the financial pain of forking out $150 that they couldn't enjoy themselves!
'The people in the mosh pit seem to be here because they are affluent and can afford it, not necessarily because they're the best fans.'
Yet, not all local concert goers are deadbeats.
A 25-year-old customer service officer, who only wanted to be known as Gene, was handpicked by rapper Mike Shinoda to go onstage and sing part of the song, A Place For My Head.
Shinoda spotted him because 'he's the maniac who's been jumping up and down the whole time'.
GOT HUGS FROM BAND
Gene also managed to receive hugs and words of encouragement from Shinoda and Bennington, and soon began running all over the stage, lapping up his 15 seconds in the spotlight.
After the concert, he said: 'I was jumping really high and hoping to catch their attention, because I dreamt of playing bass with them last night!
'I'm a 19-year-old trapped in an adult's body! But now my neck hurts!'
Student Rachel Tan, 17, was also dancing, singing and sweating to every beat.
She said: 'I'm still not tired. I'll never get sick of this!'
Maybe lacklustre Singapore fans should take lessons from two Korean women in the audience, who supported the opening act, Korean rock band Pia.
The bespectacled office ladies were dressed down and looked rather uncool and out of place at a rock gig.
But they bounced up and down to the music, waved banners, and screamed non-stop for their idols, until they were almost in tears. They didn't care if others were staring, pointing or laughing at their madcap behaviour. Because that's what being a true fan is all about.
HOME SWEET HOME
BY the time you read this, the six guys from Linkin Park will finally be heading home to southern California.
As part of their East Asia tour, they had performed in the Philippines, Indonesia, Hong Kong and Thailand for the past month.
Singapore was their last stop, so last night's gig was special.
During a 15-minute interview with The New Paper in the band's backstage dressing room three hours before the concert, rapper Mike Shinoda (below) said that the last show is always 'a little more fun' and 'celebratory'.
He said: 'Everybody's always really excited to complete the tour, because we want to go home to our families and houses again, driving our cars.
'It's almost like the last day of school - even though you're in class, you're just having fun.'
However, it would also explain why the homesick fellas were also less adventurous in exploring the city.
They had arrived here on Monday afternoon and stayed at the Four Seasons hotel.
Instead of hitting Newton Circus, they opted for safe sandwiches.
They only managed to catch the Vin Diesel movie, The Chronicles Of Riddick, browse at Borders, and walk around Orchard Road with big bodyguards in tow.
Shinoda, who is half-Japanese, misses his wife - they've been married for a year - and dog the most.
The 27-year-old said that coping with a punishing touring schedule and being separated from loved ones is 'difficult'.
'Most of the guys are married, so we're in the same boat and dealing with the same things. The best thing is to talk to (our families) every day.'
We asked Shinoda how it felt to be the latest victim of Ashton Kutcher's celebrity-pranking show, Punk'd.
The other Linkin Park members were in on the gag, in which Shinoda reportedly gets slapped with a US$5,000 ($8,611) fine for parking next to a fire hydrant.
He said: 'Have you ever known, like when you were a 10-year-old kid, somebody who peed in their pants and they get really embarrassed and the whole class is laughing?
'That's what it feels like - multiplied by how many people get to watch it!'
Not that Shinoda has issues with being humiliated on national TV.
'I embarrass myself on stage all the time. We've done funny things during our shows, so it's not really a big deal.
'We play jokes on each other during birthdays, as well as on others, like the sound engineer and one of our string players during a recording.'
SCTV, Indonesia - June 13, 2004