Entertainment Weekly

In the span of a week, P and I went to two epic concerts at Madison Square Garden — last Tuesday with the Foo Fighters, and last Thursday with Linkin Park. We got tickets for both shows for Christmas. While both of these Grammy winning bands have been around for more than a decade each, these were their first times playing at MSG. Both groups acted like they had gotten to the final gig on Guitar Hero II, peering down from the pinnacle in awe at the sellout crowds of over 19,000 people.

While P- is the one that tracks their albums and playlists on the radio at work, I kind of just know their “sound” – the Foo’s being the inheritors of Seattle alternative, and Linkin Park being fusion scientists, mashing up rap, rock and techno, while not being afraid of being harmonic. Of course we here have to recognize a band with two Asian American members (DJ Joe Hahn and MC Mike Shinoda).

Foo Fighters took out all the stops for their fans, going for 2 hours without intermission, bringing for the first ever in MSG a “triangle solo”.

Their encore began with a wonderful acoustic version of “Big Me”, which has become my odds on favorite for wedding song. They had a secondary stage in the back of the hall connected by a long thin runway so that the people in the “cheap seats” could get up close to them.

Linkin Park designed their stage in the round, and the band members rotated around so that the people in the “obstructed” back seats had intimate views. Of course, the crowd was looking for their seminal rap-rock songs, such as “In the End”. However, their latest stuff, such as “In Pieces”, really grew on me. They held two encores, interspersed with dark waits, causing spectators to yo-yo to and from the exits. The second encore merited a surprise guest appearance by Jay-Z, who came out of retirement to perform songs such as “Numb” from their mash up album.

We’ll be getting the live albums/DVDs for both of these events when they come out.

Sunday we went to a friend’s house for the traditional Oscar party. P- won the night with 16 correct picks, besting actual Entertainment Weekly magazine staff members at the party, which earned her a screenwriter’s script for “Juno”. Viewership was down because of a combination of a generally lackluster field and the writer’s strike aftermath, but I thought that Jon Stewart did an excellent job hosting the show. This time around, he actually was in charge. Not just for his general wittiness, and the fact that he got the show done with 10 minutes to spare, but he had the presence of mind to bring back Marketa Irglova to the stage to let her speak after she was cut off by the orchestra.

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