rionaleonhart: final fantasy x-2: the sun is rising, yuna looks to the future. (hope is all we have)
Riona ([personal profile] rionaleonhart) wrote2017-07-22 11:23 am

It's Hard To Let You Go.

I've never grieved for a public figure like this before. I'm not sure I even realised it was possible. I loved Hybrid Theory so much when it first came out, but I didn't really get to know the band members as individuals until the concert a few weeks ago, so it's a weird double-punch of 'he's been important to you since you were a child' and 'you didn't know him for long enough'.

My birthday was two days before Chester's death, and [livejournal.com profile] th_esaurus gave me a DVD of Linkin Park's 2010 'Shadow of the Day' concert in Madrid. I was actually watching it when the news broke, and, unsurprisingly, I didn't finish it that day. I couldn't contemplate watching it yesterday, either, when I hadn't slept enough and I was still intermittently crying and I could barely eat. (Getting tearful again typing this, come on. I'll move past this, I'll be okay.) But this morning, after a full night's sleep, I started it up where I had left off, in the hope it might offer some sort of catharsis.

I think it helped.

Below the cut are the text messages I sent to [livejournal.com profile] th_esaurus while I was watching, both before and after. I'll spare you the messages I sent at the moment I actually learnt the news.



(These messages are from the ill-fated evening of the 20th of July.)


Just started up the Linkin Park live performance DVD you gave me!

They open with a song from their concept album about nuclear war, designed to be listened to from beginning to end, that they released in 2010 because they're maniacs.

Tragically, this is from the era of Mike Shinoda's Bad Hair, when he's usually very handsome.

Anyway, Chester is looking cute as hell in his stupid knitted skullcap, and that's the important thing.

I can't believe how much running and bouncing around Chester does. He spent a lot of the first song here bouncing on the spot; he spent what seemed like most of the first three songs at the O2 gig spin-jumping. There are another ninety minutes to go, Chester! How do you not collapse halfway through every concert?

I'm sad to note that Chester and Mike have not yet developed their habit of singing half of 'Papercut' with their arms around each other.

Chester's really making out with the microphone while he sings. We keep getting close-ups of his lips touching it.

Not quite on the level of the 'Bleed It Out' video, where it looks like he's straight-up banging the microphone stand.

CHESTER, DON'T PULL THE HOOD OF YOUR HOODIE UP OVER YOUR KNITTED SKULLCAP, YOU LOOK RIDICULOUS.

Bizarrely, the camera keeps trying to pretend there are more than two people in this band. (I'm sorry, instrumentalists. I know you do an important job as well. And one of you is wearing the most incredible pair of sparkly rhinestone Linkin Park headphones.)

That was a really good performance of 'Waiting for the End', even if Chester had his hood pulled halfway over his cap again, why

Now Mike is just playing solemn piano chords over a distorted, repeated sample of someone saying 'there is no justice in war'. This band is so weird.

I assumed it was leading up to something from their nuclear war concept album, but instead it's one of the songs they did for Transformers.

NO, WAIT, I'D FORGOTTEN THAT THIS TRANSFORMERS SONG WAS ALSO ON THE NUCLEAR WAR CONCEPT ALBUM.


(At this point I learn of Chester's death and stop watching. The messages below are from the morning of the 22nd.)


I thought I'd start up the DVD again, in search of some sort of catharsis. This is what he left us: his voice, his life, his performances. I'll turn it off if I start getting too wallowy, I promise.

Chester is singing 'remember all the sadness and frustration, and let it go.' Thanks, Chester.

I love the way he skips around the stage on high-energy numbers.

More piano chords over historical figures talking about war, and then Mike singing with his voice distorted so he sounds like a chipmunk. This continues to be the weirdest band.

'Breaking the Habit' is one of my favourite Linkin Park songs, but it's also a song about addiction and suicide that made Chester cry so much he had trouble recording it, so it's tough to listen to now. Great performance, though. And more cute skipping across the stage.

'Shadow of the Day': also pretty tough! Linkin Park, you put out a lot of songs that are incredibly sad in retrospect. At least this DVD doesn't contain the beautiful song that's Chester literally going 'hey, so this is how I'd like to be remembered after I die.'

MORE WEIRD SAMPLES, AND NOW CHESTER IS RUNNING AROUND AND SHINING A TORCH INTO THE AUDIENCE FOR SOME REASON. I DON'T UNDERSTAND YOU, LINKIN PARK.

Chester spinning around and headbanging on stage, bless him.

God, I don't even know 'The Messenger', but that song really did a number on me. That was beautiful.

'In the End'. Is the camera operator okay?

'The song is so awesome it's making the whole of Madrid shake,' Ginger explains when I voice this thought aloud.

Incidentally, the Wikipedia article on 'In the End' contains one of my favourite lines on Wikipedia, regarding the flying whale in the music video. 'The whale in the video was Joe Hahn's idea. He has been quoted as saying, "It's not like I pulled it out of my ass; it made sense to me." The reasoning behind its inclusion is still unknown.'

'What I've Done'. God, Linkin Park have so many great, instantly recognisable intros.

That last performance ['Bleed It Out', with elements of 'A Place for My Head'] was the most high-energy of the night. I can't believe Chester was still capable of running and jumping and dancing after ninety solid minutes of performing. I'm not sure this guy was entirely human.

Mike and Chester with their arms around each other as they wave to the audience, awww.

I think watching that was the right decision. I was worried it might just make things worse, but I think it helped. It feels like it ended too soon. I suppose that's to be expected. But I'm glad the things he created are still here, even if he isn't.



Thank you for everything, Chester. I wish you hadn't left us. I wish we could have spoken. You'll be missed.
magistrate: The arc of the Earth in dark space. (Default)

[personal profile] magistrate 2017-07-22 06:38 pm (UTC)(link)
[I've never grieved for a public figure like this before. I'm not sure I even realised it was possible. I loved Hybrid Theory so much when it first came out, but I didn't really get to know the band members as individuals until the concert a few weeks ago, so it's a weird double-punch of 'he's been important to you since you were a child' and 'you didn't know him for long enough'.]

I think the ability to reach out and deeply affect people who don't know us, whom we don't know, who may be separated from us by vast distances in time or space, is much of what calls people to art in the first place. James Elroy Flecker said it pretty well.

And if one of art's primary purposes is to forge that connection, to transmit powerful emotion and meaning, then the fact that some of that power makes its way to grief seems entirely fitting.

(There are a few public figures whose deaths I'm grieving, not because I even knew them as people, but because they worked hard to be the vectors of something marvelous and important to me. ...and at least one I'm dreading because he was the vector for something marvelous and important to me, and he also seems like a genuinely wonderful human being. Fuck you, mortality. Why can't all the good people live forever? Everyone else can gracefully fade away.)
magistrate: The arc of the Earth in dark space. (Default)

[personal profile] magistrate 2017-07-23 08:20 am (UTC)(link)
It is a really surreal experience. I mean, I was just settling in for, like, the next month or two being full of awesome Riona-fic about characters from music videos who can't trust their own perceptions of reality, and then... sudden, terrible intrusion of actual reality. And part of me is still going, "Wait, no, that's not how this works. That's off-script. That can't happen."

Which is... I mean, it's kind of a side door to grief, and it also feels strange that it's a way in to grief at all, because it's all almost after-the-fact; I feel like I've almost paid more attention to him as a person since I saw the news than I did while he was around. And having seen that, now I'm sad.

It's all absurd. But then, I think grief probably usually makes less sense than we expect it to.

(I realized the other day: I don't pay attention to bands qua bands, or singers, or anything like that. I'd listened to LP songs because, you know, I was also in highschool at one point and it was a thing that happened, and I knew of the band as being a popular band, but I never knew Chester's name until you started posting. So. There's that.)
magistrate: The arc of the Earth in dark space. (Default)

[personal profile] magistrate 2017-07-23 07:57 am (UTC)(link)
...and then I wound up YouTube surfing for far too long, and I wound up at this. And I suppose that one of art's secondary purposes is to serenade cup-o'-noodles in bomb cellars, and make me crack up laughing. And then 4:20 into the sequel, Mike just gives up on sanity. (Though why he asks Rhett and Link for help...)
magistrate: The arc of the Earth in dark space. (Default)

[personal profile] magistrate 2017-07-23 08:13 am (UTC)(link)
It seems like half the comments I see on LP's music videos are moving, heartfelt stories about how the music helped the commenter through really dark times in their life, and how meaningful the music was. And then half the comments I see on videos like this are all "This is exactly how I want to remember him."

Man, never in a million years, had you not started posting about them, would I have guessed that the Linkin Park front men were gigantic adorkable doofs.
squeemu: Magpie holding a ring in its beak. (Default)

[personal profile] squeemu 2017-07-24 03:14 am (UTC)(link)
One of the things that has struck me about this entire, heartbreaking situation is how glad I am that I have never gotten into a fandom with real live people. Like, even just imagining the deaths of characters I love is awful enough for me. Knowing that it is a real, living person who you'll never really be able to engage with in the same way as before? It just twists me up imagining it.

And, I mean. You're grieving both what you've lost and what you'll never have had the chance to know, being so freshly into this group. It makes complete sense to me that it would hurt, and hurt badly.

I'm glad that watching the rest of the DVD helped! and. It's okay to take however long you need to grieve and to grieve how you need to. It's -- I mean, it's a really cliche thing to say, but it's also something I firmly believe so. Yes. It's okay to grieve something you cared deeply about. And it's interesting how often grief and gratitude go hand and in hand.
tiger_moran: (Default)

[personal profile] tiger_moran 2017-07-24 02:23 pm (UTC)(link)
I know kind of how you feel, not about Chester (though his death is extremely sad) but to be so heartbroken over someone you never knew personally but who was so important to you in some way. A similar thing happened with my joint-favourite band some years past now, Jhonn Balance from Coil died suddenly and tragically and too young too. I had never grieved like that before for someone I didn't actually know (even now it still hurts so much). I'm sorry you've had to experience that kind of grief too now.