If anything puts the impact Linkin Park’s lead singer Chester Bennington made on the world into perspective, it’s the sheer number of people who showed up or tuned in to the Linkin Park & Friends Celebrate Life in Honor of Chester Bennington concert at the Hollywood Bowl on Friday, Oct. 27.
Watch the full show:
The remaining members of Linkin Park invited guests from all across the musical spectrum to join them on stage to pay tribute to their fallen friend, including Blink-182, Alanis Morissette, Steve Aoki, Machine Gun Kelly, Oli Sykes and more. At one point in the show, Linkin Park vocalist and rhythm guitarist Mike Shinoda commented on this, saying that, “I feel like we’re giving you guys musical whiplash.”
Watch Blink-182 perform “I Miss You”:
While the band’s choice to bring on a myriad of acts from across the musical spectrum as part of their tribute to Bennington’s life may have been slightly jarring at times, it’s exactly what Linkin Park has done since it first crashed onto the music scene with Hybrid Theory back in October of 2000.
“From the beginning, our goal was to bring together different genres of music—electronica, hip hop, alternative rock—and make it into one sound that’s indistinguishable,” said Linkin Park lead guitarist Brad Delson in a video clip played in between songs at the concert.
This concert did more than mix musical styles – it mixed emotions.
“You having fun?” Shinoda asked the crowd, which responded with a raucous cheer. “It’s a weird thing to say. As it comes out of my mouth, I go, like, ‘Are we supposed to have fun?’ But I think we are supposed to have fucking fun. That’s what I think. I think about Chester, and I think that guy would want us to have fun. That is what he would want.”
Watch ONE OK ROCK perform with Shinoda:
“I think about Chester, and I think that guy would want us to have fun.”
It’s a difficult question to consider on stage in front of hundreds of thousands, if not millions of people, during the first show that Linkin Park put on since Bennington’s tragic suicide earlier this year, but it’s a question that needed to be voiced. Shinoda, Linkin Park and all of the people who joined the band on stage lost a friend to a vicious, brutal disease that drove him to end his life at his own hands.
Watch the band perform “One More Light”:
Losing a friend for any reason is a heartbreaking event for anyone to deal with, but the members of Linkin Park chose to turn this gathering of countless friends into a joyous celebration of a life cut short. And calling each member of the audience a friend of Bennington, while it may be considered a stretch, is more true to his memory than any other descriptor.
“Really my best memory with Chester,” one concertgoer said before the show started, “you know, any time I ever got to spend time with him, whether it was at meet and greets or he would just come up to the barricade just to say ‘hi.’ We weren’t just fans to him, he treated all of us like we were friends and family.”
“We weren’t just fans to him, he treated all of us like we were friends and family.”
What comes next for Linkin Park?
In the middle of the already emotionally charged show, Shinoda shared his story from when he found out that Bennington had taken his own life.
“I sat down in my studio, and I wrote something,” he said to the sold out crowd at the Hollywood Bowl and the hundreds of thousands more who tuned in to the livestream. “And it was about eight days after, and I want to share it with you guys tonight if that’s okay.”
Watch Shinoda perform “Looking For An Answer”:
It’s taken a long time for Shinoda and the rest of Linkin Park to make their way back in front of a crowd, but they did so with a beautiful event that celebrated Bennington’s extraordinary life and everything he chose to fight for. Throughout the night, both on stage and on the video screens throughout the Hollywood Bowl, the band made sure to highlight the charities and organizations they have committed themselves to working with, like We Care Solar, an organization that promotes safe motherhood and reduces maternal mortality in developing regions by providing health workers with reliable lighting, mobile communication and medical devices using solar electricity; Music for Relief, an organization founded by Linkin Park in order to help respond to natural disasters around the globe; and Campaign to Change Direction, an initiative that brings concerned citizens together to change the culture in America about mental health, mental illness and wellness.
Watch Talinda Bennington address the audience:
This concert was organized to keep Bennington’s memory alive and help make sure that everyone mourning his loss knew that they were not alone. The fight against depression and the fight for a better, more loving future was always a fixture in Linkin Park’s songs. Even though the man who sang most of those lyrics isn’t here anymore, the best way to honor his memory may just be to blast those songs as loud as possible and pick up Bennington’s torch and keep marching forwards to fight for a better, happier future.
Watch Bring Me The Horizon’s Oli Sykes:
Watch Sum 41’s Deryck Whibley: