Even though it had been years since I last saw Linkin Park in concert, I was heartbroken when I found out about Chester Bennington’s suicide.
I can remember exactly what I was doing when I first heard Hybrid Theory. Pammie and I have this game we play called Guess What Year? (it’s a working title), and I can always pinpoint the year a song came out because I’m able to tie it to life events. Like I know that Boyz II Men’s One Sweet Day came out when I was 13, because I remember crying to that song at Sharon Bernardo’s birthday party when I found out that Raymond Alcarion liked my best friend and not me. I’m totally over him now, partly because that was 22 years ago, but mostly because my name would have been “Marion Alcarion” had our love stood the test of time! Yikes.
When I was 18, my friend Nick Costa told me, “Linkin Park… Remember that name… They’re gonna be HUGE someday.” I downloaded some songs off of their EP on Napster (yes, I was 18 that long ago) and became a solid LP fan after that. I remember going to the library to chat in their forum in between classes in college. I remember listening to their CD in Sheena’s car while I practiced driving stick around Jamul. I remember how sad I was when their intimate show at Canes sold out before I could get tickets to their first tour. Linkin Park soundtracked a time in my life that I reminisce about often, and it makes me sad to think that Chester is gone now, too.
I was lucky enough to see Chester in concert a couple times in my life, and being able to go his memorial show and hearing all those songs made me feel like I was 18 again (my sore stems the next day from standing during their 3-hour set reminded me that I’m nearly twice that age). All these years later, I still remember their lyrics. Also, can we just talk about how good Mike Shinoda still looks??? Some things never change…
I’ve wanted to see Radiohead live since I first heard Exit Music (For A Film) in the 9th grade. You guys, that was 20 years ago! Yikes.
I kind of expected them to stick it to LA and not sing Creep, but no Paranoid Android or Karma Police, either??? You’re killing me, Thom! OK Computer is my favorite album of theirs, so No Surprises was my favorite song of the night:
Watching Mayer Hawthorne for free while eating a churro??? I could think of worse ways to spend my Thursday night.
I was standing next to the guy from Stepbrothers (the one who’s not Will Ferrell) while waiting to get in. I can count on one hand how many celebrities I’ve spotted since I moved to LA nearly 4 years ago. Most of the ones who live near me in Manhattan Beach are pro-athletes, so I probably just don’t recognize them (like that one time we ate at a communal table with Marshall Faulk). I’m pretty sure the tall drink of water who asked me where I got my torta bread from at Costco last week was an athlete. After directing him to the bread aisle, I asked him where the toilet paper was because I like to embarrass myself in front of hot guys, obvi. I crossed paths with him again while making my food sample rounds and died a little when he smiled at me and my bulk 30-pack of Charmin Ultra Soft Jumbo Rolls.
I saw BØRNS for the third time, and unlike the weather, he did not disappoint! It was my first Green Flash concert overlooking the pacific, and the only green flash I saw on this gloomy day was the overpriced beer all the UCSD kids were drinking. I love this venue, though. You get to explore the aquarium before the show, and on a clear day, you can watch the sunset while your favorite band plays.
My trip was cut short due to my grandma’s passing, and Anthony had the time of his life those first few days without me. He hit up the Dirty Sixth with Austin locals he made friends with and ended up giving one of them my Friday wristband. They saw all the bands I wanted to see. I’m bummed I missed Tame Impala and Leon Bridges among others, but luckily I didn’t have to wake up at an ungodly hour on Saturday and wait with him in that 4-hour line for Franklin. Day-old brisket reheated in a hotel microwave and eaten in my chonies still tasted better than any BBQ I’ve ever had in California!
I flew in Saturday night and met up with Anthony at an Irish pub downtown. Fado is the official US soccer bar in Austin, and it’s surrounded by gay bars on 4th Street. My uber driver was convinced he was taking me to see my gay friend once I told him where I was headed LOL. I mean, it would explain so much… After US lost to Mexico, we hit up Firehouse (a cool little speakeasy inside a hostel) and Rainey Street. I loved, loved, loved it there. Rainey Street is a block of old houses converted into themed bars. We stayed till last call, and all I remember from that night is a lot of Ludacris and stanky legs. You don’t realize how drunk you are until you’re walking the hotel halls in nothing but your dress slip looking for a beverage machine so you could wash down some tylenol at three in the morning.
We didn’t wake up early enough to stand in line for BBQ before the festival on Sunday, but we stopped by Torchy’s Tacos before we made our trek to Zilker Park. There was a lot of walking. Like. A LOT. Before, during and after the festival. In nearly 100 degree heat. And in sandals that had 0% arch support (but were 100% cute, obvs). This was definitely not Portland where we had a local friend with a car, ample public transportation, and weather that was 50 degrees cooler. The highlight of my day happened just before BØRNS’ set when the sun disappeared behind the only cloud in the sky for half a minute and everyone cheered. BØRNS, Sylvan Esso and Hozier’s sets were very close seconds. So were those two snow cones we each had.
Before I knew it, it was Monday and time to check out. Anthony hit up the gym in the morning while I stayed my ass in bed. We ate lunch at Valentina’s Tex Mex where Anthony had brisket tacos and I had a beast of a beef rib with the most beautiful smoke ring. We strolled down South Congress afterwards and drank micheladas for three hours at a bar inside Hotel San Jose. We got to the airport early to watch the Chargers lose, and I asked the TSA guy if the Starbucks was before or after the security gate. He ruined my mom’s life and told me that there’s no Starbucks at all, because Austin is all about supporting local businesses. I get a Starbucks mug for my mom whenever I travel, and she’s just gonna have to be happy with the mug I got her during my layover in Phoenix!
All things considered, I’m glad I was able to take a break from life and escape for a couple of days. I’ll def be back to explore this weird little town again.
When I was reading The Diary of a Young Girl in high school, I mentioned to my grandma that I wanted to visit the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam. Years later, she traveled to the Netherlands while visiting my aunt in Denmark and brought me back a souvenir from the museum. I couldn’t believe she remembered after all that time. My grandma was the most considerate and sentimental person I’ve ever known, and I’m grateful that she instilled her thoughtfulness in me.
She is the reason I have random notes in my phone that say, “christine garlic delight dip at del mar fair” or “anthony swagu stamp.” She taught me that even if people have everything, you don’t have to give them the world to let them know you appreciate them. You just have to remember the little things.
She is also part of the reason I have over 20k miles on my new car. I’d put a million more miles on there if I could drive down to San Diego and spend just one more day with her.
Rest in paradise, Grandma Julie. I love you more than my seemingly apathetic demeanor suggests. You know I don’t like to let them see me cry.