Projekt Revolution Concert: Linkin Park/Cypress Hill/Adema

By Charles H. Smith, Contributor
Tuesday, February 26, 2002 @ 6:28 PM

Projekt Revolution Tour At Lon

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My high school friend, his wife and I took a trip down to the Long Beach Arena last Friday night for the “Projekt Revolution” concert starring Linkin Park, Cypress Hill and Adema. Now, let’s get one thing straight. My friend and I were friends in high school, but that was a long, long time ago. Collectively, we had attended many concerts at the Arena since the ‘70s, including Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, the Scorpions, and AC/DC (in 1978 opening for Aerosmith and again in 2001). The three of us figured to be the only “old people” among a gaggle of 15-year-old boys; after all, isn’t Ozzy’s son the typical “nu-metal” fan? We were wrong. The crowd was 50-50 male-female and the ages of the fans ranged from pre-pubescent to forty-something (we three admit to being in the latter category). I saw a lot of guys who looked like wizened veterans of the metal wars as well as some kids – with their parents – who looked like they were attending their first concert.

The evening got off to a shaky start when my friend’s wife (okay, she’s my friend, too) was turned away at the door since she had (gasp) a few pens and pencils in her purse. This is post 9/11 concert security, I guess. They returned to the mini-van to purge themselves of the contraband and I hightailed it to the beer garden.

We made it to our seats (first row in the loge about halfway back) in time for the opening band, Adema. They are a high-energy quintet that laid down a rockin’ groove while the singer – a short, annoying fellow – rapped away incessantly. He wasn’t much of a rapper, but the musicians were good. The stage was decorated with what appeared to be Christmas lights; it was a good example of how to make a stage set for less than $20. They also had the advantage of being part of a “package tour” where even the opening bands get perks like decent lighting. They played several songs in about 30 minutes, including “The Way You Like It” and the other song that has gotten some airplay (“Give” something or other). They received a rousing reception from the people packed against the stage (the floor was general admission while the loge and balcony sections were reserved seating). Despite the GA on the floor, there was no moshing. I didn’t mind when they left the stage and, once again, I hightailed it for the beer garden. This time around, I had to wait in a long line just to get in to buy the maximum of two beers. I then discovered that I could depart the beer garden with only one beer, so I chugged one and took the other to my buddy.

By this time, Cypress Hill was on stage. They began with the old favorite, “Insane In The Brain.” Their rapping was considerably better than that by Adema’s singer, which only makes sense because Cypress Hill were rappers first. They were joined on stage by two guitarists as well as a bassist who played both stand-up bass and the bass guitar (though not at the same time). It was pretty cool to see a guy playing stand-up bass while banging his head. Cypress Hill have incorporated heavy metal accompaniment into their last few records and their sound was very hot indeed. They played some material from their new album, Stoned Raiders, and also entertained the crowd by toking off of a bong that looked like it was about four feet high. Their main stage prop was a large skull with a “sweet leaf” on the forehead. The highlight of the show was a rendition of “Rock Superstar,” which started slow but gained both volume and an almost chilling tone as the musicians joined them onstage midway through the song. They played about 45 minutes and earned an enthusiastic response from the crowd. Again, no moshing.

DJ Trips played a brief intermission show while I got my final beer of the evening after another long wait in line. The promoter obviously misjudged the crowd’s age demographic as I did. There should have been a few beer stands upstairs in addition to the beer garden downstairs in the main lobby.

Finally, the lights went down and the line “Is there anybody out there?” (from Pink Floyd’s “The Wall”) rang out several times. The “Projekt Revolution” banner finally went up and the curtains parted to reveal the six-man band known as Linkin Park. They proceeded to rock the assembled masses by playing all of the songs from their first (and only) record as well as a new number called “Step Up,” the song called “My December” (during which the bassist played cello) and a Deftones song I didn’t know.

Their guitarist, bassist and drummer had a great heavy metal sound going and I began to wonder whether they should hook up with a metal singer and form a real heavy metal band. To be sure, I enjoyed the guy on the turntables and samples – he’s obviously very talented and he works his ass off – but he didn’t add much to the show. The two singers were all over the stage and they even ventured out into the audience on several occasions.

Linkin Park’s stage set was very stark but artistically appealing, which was no surprise given the art school background of a few of the band members. The drummer was on a riser to the audience’s right and Mr. Turntables/Samples (all right, his name is Joseph Hahn) was on a slightly higher riser to the audience’s left. There were four boxes measuring about four feet wide by three feet high at the edge of the stage, and the singers, guitarist and bass player often stood or sat on them. The large backdrop was a replica of the [Hybrid Theory] album cover with a few similar small characters added. As a bonus, they used lasers during the last few songs of the concert, which brought back memories of seeing Blue Oyster Cult in late 1976 at the same Long Beach Arena (with my same friend, who had yet to meet his wife).

I also figured out why there was no moshing during the first two bands’ sets when Linkin Park stopped playing their second song (“Runaway”) to admonish the crowd to “respect each other” and basically be nice. They even criticized a fan who was crowd surfing. After the second stoppage, I cracked to my friend that “These guys are way too sensitive.” Frankly, it’s not realistic for Linkin Park to play loud, aggressive music and expect people to just stand there. Fellas, if you don’t want the rough stuff at your shows, either slow it down or don’t have general admission on the floor. Thankfully, a few guys – and even a couple of ladies – on the floor just below us finally got it going late in Linkin Park’s set and they looked to be having a grand old time without any “collateral damage.”

In any event, the boys ended the evening with a great version of “One Step Closer,” during which they invited Adema and Cypress Hill on stage to sing the “Shut Up” bridge. I screamed along, as did the entire audience. It was a fun way to end the show and, before I knew it, I was walking through the door of my Long Beach tract home and back into the real world of wife, son, and job as a college professor.

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