Linkin Park got together with 1,100 of their biggest fans on Wednesday night to play a very special show. Normally used to rocking tens of thousands, the group squeezed into the very intimate Mayan Theater in Los Angeles for a benefit for Japanese earthquake and tsunami relief that was fueled by their followers' energetic fundraising efforts.
"It's a really exciting night tonight. We're performing a show with he B'z from Japan, [the] biggest rock band in Japanese history," explained singer Chester Bennington before the gig. "It's an honor to be able to play with these guys, and it's especially an honor to be able to give back to the Japanese community that's been so devastated and been so great in supporting us."
The show was populated by fans who met the group's challenge to each raise $500 or more for Japanese tsunami relief in order to earn a pair of tickets. It was a continuation of LP's Music for Relief charity, which was started in the wake of the 2005 Indian Ocean tsunami, which has subsequently raised funds for victims of other natural disasters, including the 2010 earthquake in Haiti.
"We wanted to do something where we kind of engaged our fans to give money, because we're always asking them to give money all the time because unfortunately, there are natural disasters affecting so many places all over the earth that we're always asking our fans for money," explained Bennington of the group's ongoing fundraising efforts. "We wanted to do something that was exciting for our fans and gave them something to look forward to, a goal that was beyond anything they'd done before."
One initial idea had LP donating all the money from a show in Japan to relief efforts. But that felt like the obvious thing to do, so instead they came up with the notion of a secret show that would engage fans by having them "earn" the tickets.
"We set a goal that we thought was pretty high, at $250,000, and amazingly our fans — from both Linkin Park and B'z — have generated over $350,000 in 60 days," he said. "Which is unbelievable considering not only the devastation in Japan but also the economic struggles people are having here in the U.S. as well." In fact, he said proudly, the top fundraiser brought in more than $13,000.