It’s been nearly two decades since Linkin Park gained mainstream attention with 2000’s Hybrid Theory. ‘One Step Closer,’ ‘Papercut’, ‘Crawling’ and the unforgettable ‘In The End’ became worldwide anthems thanks to that unique, soulful voice that came from Chester Bennington. When the news broke out just three months ago that Bennington had taken his own life it was surreal.
On Friday, October 27 Mike Shinoda and the rest of the surviving members of Linkin Park came together for probably the most significant concert of their career. Accompanied by 30 other artists and friends, the three-hour show celebrated Bennington’s life and music. Hosted by Shinoda and appropriately titled Linkin Park Celebrates Life in Honor of Chester Bennington was streamed online for the world to see.
Walking into the Hollywood Bowl there were posters of Bennington throughout his career aligning the walkway into the venue—including a wall where fans could write messages for the late singer. Fans from all over the world came to celebrate his legacy. Counselors walked throughout the premise for anyone seeking help. Suicide prevention and keeping the memory of Bennington alive was truly the message of the night.
“Doing this show is, I think, one of the hardest things we’ve ever decided to do, and I think you’re part of the only reason that we are able to even stand up here and do this,” Shinoda told the sold-out crowd at the Bowl.
One of the most emotional moments came in the beginning of the tribute when a spotlight shined right at a microphone at center stage draped with flowers. ‘Numb,’ the band’s platinum single from 2004’s Meteora began playing and the ultimate guests of honor—the crowd of 17,500 sang it from start to finish.
Oli Sykes from Bring Me The Horizon, who has said Bennington is the reason why he wanted to be a musician performed ‘Crawling’. Korn’s Jonathan Davis performance of ‘One Step Closer’ was reminiscent of the remix on Reanimation. As the bridge of the song began, the shut up when I’m talking to you lyrics fitted Davis vocal ability much like the rage Bennington did.
An unexpected guest was Alanis Morissette who joined the band for ‘Castle of Glass’ along with members of No Doubt. Morissette also performed a new song, ‘Rest’ and reassured the crowd to seek help if you’re struggling with mental issues.
A video played in between sets featured Metallica, Thirty Seconds to Mars, Duff McKagan, Depeche Mode’s Dave Gahan and Paul McCartney all sending their love and support. A clip from U2’s recent Joshua Tree tour showed the band dedicating ‘One Tree Hill’ to Bennington.
For a moment Shinoda opened up to the crowd and began discussing how he felt after he learned of Bennington’s passing. He said that music has always been therapy for him, especially songwriting. He performed a song that he wrote just eight days after titled ‘Looking For An Answer’. The stripped down keyboard ballad that is still in its early stages but the crowd applauded it.
Blink-182 who were set to do two shows with Linkin Park this summer for their “Welcome to Blinkin Park Tour” played ‘I Miss You’ which followed Linkin Park’s ‘What I’ve Done’ with Travis Barker on drums, Mark Hoppus and Matt Skiba on vocals.
Bennington’s wife, Talinda came out to greet and thank the fans for their undying support. “Chester would have loved all of this,” she mentioned.
Following was ‘One More Light’ from their latest release without any guests—Shinoda on keyboards, the crowd illuminating The Bowl with cell phone lights. Shinoda wanted the crowd to sing along on this one. “Make him proud,” he said.
The final guests included M. Shadows and Synyster Gates of Avenged Sevenfold. M. Shadows accompanied Linkin Park on vocals for ‘Burn It Down’ while Synyster Gates shredded his guitar to ‘Faint.’
Proceeds from the concert are being donated to the One More Light Fund which helps charities bring solar electricity kits to hospitals and clinics that need it. It is part of Music for Relief—and organization founded by Linkin Park after in response to the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami. The One More Light fund was Chester’s favorite according to Shinoda. “The fund will also shine a light on mental health, helping individuals and families coping with mental and emotional struggles.”
BY CYNTHIA JO