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Linkin Park fans flood Dublin store

Linkin Park wasn't scheduled to arrive until 5 p.m., but fans began arriving at noon.

Once inside the Dublin Best Buy, vast crowds of teens sat between the aisles of electronics chatting, leaning against washing machines and squeezing themselves between stacks of DVD players and video games.
A crowd of more than 1,000 fans from throughout Northern California showed up to see the band. Everyone carried something -- the band's new book, its CDs, posters or their own guitars -- hoping to have them signed. Some fans decided to get their shoes signed.

Jessica Vasquez, 15, from Grass Valley, traveled three hours to get there and waited five hours inside the store for her chance to meet the band. It was worth it, she said. She and her friends were the first in line to meet the alternative rock band, which has sold 27 million albums worldwide.

"This is better than a concert, because you get to meet them and talk to them," Jessica said.
She came with her friends Angel Johnson, 16, and Amanda Kiefer, 15, and her father, Bruce Vasquez, who drove them and took a day off work to do it.

"She's a good kid," Vasquez said about his daughter. "She's an honor roll student. I want to support her interests."

The first 500 fans were the only ones with a chance to meet the band. They received yellow or green wristbands, and were allowed to wait inside. The six band members were in town for only two hours Thursday evening, to promote their book, "From the Inside: Linkin Park's 'Meteora.'" Dublin was the band's first stop. Los Angeles and New York complete their book-signing tour.

The hundreds of adoring fans didn't faze the band. They happily obliged and signed whatever was handed to them, books or not. They shook kids' hands, joked with fans and posed for photos.

"That was so cool," said one fan as she stood in awe after meeting the band. Others cried, and some were so shaken they couldn't speak.

Fans screamed when the band arrived.

Linkin Park has always done these kinds of meet-and-greets, said band member Mike Shinoda, the band's MC. Before each concert, they sign autographs and take photos with about 200 fans.
"We care about our fans," Shinoda said. "We don't want them to think we forgot about them. They have been here every step of the way."

The word spread of the book tour through the band's fan club newsletter, newspapers, local radio stations and the band's Web site. While about 500 were inside the store, hundreds more stood outside hoping for a chance to get inside.

Joining the crowd outside were about two dozen Dublin police officers, monitoring the crowd making sure everything ran smoothly.

Tri-Valley teens say they were shocked to find out that the band was appearing in their own back yard.
"Why Dublin, why not somewhere bigger, like San Francisco?" asked Jason Cryer, 13, of Livermore. But he was happy, and said he couldn't wait to meet them.

"Linkin Park has been my favorite band for a long time," he said.

Costa Contra Times - December 10, 2004



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