The audience were the emotional evening's guests of honour.
17,500 fans bid farewell to Linkin Park frontman Chester Bennington, who tragically committed suicide back in July, as his former band members held his memorial show at the Hollywood Bowl.
A huge number of notable musicians turned out to pay their respects at the three-hour show. Bring Me The Horizon’s Oli Sykes (whose first ever concert as a punter was a Linkin Park show in London) performed ‘Crawling’, Deryck Whibley from Sum 41 leant vocals to ‘The Catalyst’ and Alanis Morissette sang ‘Castle of Glass’ with band members from No Doubt. Blink-182, System of a Down and Jonathan David from Korn also took to the stage to honour Bennington’s memory.
It was, as expected, an intensely emotional evening, with Linkin Park vocalist and instrumentalist Mike Shinoda explaining that, when he’d met fans outside the venue before the show, they gave him “hugs and… reassurance that everything was gonna be OK.” He also explained the audience were the band’s favourite of the many guests that night. The compliment was proved deserved when the audience took over vocal duties of many of the band’s best-known songs, including an overwhelming rendition of ‘Numb’, which the band played with a spotlight shone on a vacant mic stand in a moving gesture to the late singer.
The career-spanning set was heavy with more recent material, too, and indeed Shinoda opened the show with ‘The Messenger’, taken from the 2010 album ‘A Thousand Suns’ (the track was performed in a medley with ‘Robot Boy’ and ‘Iridescent’). The band segued from ‘Shadow of the Day’, which appears on 2007’s ‘Minutes to Midnight’, into a timely cover of U2’s ‘With Or Without You’, while the 2017 track ‘One More Light’ hinted at the direction Linkin Park could have continued to take in the future.
Blink-182 co-performed some of their own songs, including the fitting ‘I Miss You’, whose lyrics were stripped back, with the lines that begin “Don’t waste your time on me…” removed to emphasise the titular refrain. Breaks between songs were punctuated by the audience chanting “Chester! Chester! Chester!” and Linkin Park shared a moving, thought-provoking video clip of Bennington addressing the terrorist attack that occurred in Manchester earlier this year.
Despite the tragic circumstances surrounding the memorial show, weight was leant to the celebratory nature of the evening – not least during the rendition of ‘A Light That Never Comes’, the band’s 2013 collaboration with Steve Aoki (who performed here), which was accompanied by bursts of confetti as the musicians shook hands with the fans closest to the stage.
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In addition to the band’s wide-ranging material, Shinoda also revealed a new song that he’d written as a tribute to Bennington. Entitled ‘Looking For An Answer’, it features the lyrics: “There’s an emptiness tonight that wasn’t there before / And I keep reaching for the Light / And I can’t find it any more.” Bennington’s widow Talinda rounded off the evening with an emotional speech. “What an incredible show this has been,” she said. “Chester and I always loved bringing people together and he was filled with joy when our house was full of family, friends, kids, dogs, cats, birds, turtles – the more the merrier. And he would have loved all of this tonight.”
She also insisted: “It is time we recognise that mental health is as important as our physical health. It is my mission to make it easier to have access to mental health resources.”
A sign outside the Hollywood Bowl read, “LINKIN PARK & FRIENDS CELEBRATE LIFE IN HONOR OF CHESTER BENNINGTON,” and this sense of celebration was reflected throughout the show.
Linkin Park played:
‘Robot Boy / The Messenger / Iridescent’
‘Shadow of the Day’ (with Ryan Key)
‘With or Without YoU’
‘Leave Out All the Rest’ (with Gavin Rossdale)
‘Somewhere I Belong’ (with Takahiro Moriuchi)
‘Unicorns & Lollipops’
‘Castle of Glass’ (with Alanis Morrissette and No Doubt)
‘Rest’ with Alanis Morissette)
‘Nobody Can Save Me’ (with Steven McKellar and Jon Green)
‘Battle Symphony’ (with Jon Green)
‘Sharp Edges’ (with Ilsey Juber)
‘Talking to Myself’ (with Ilsey Juber)
‘Heavy’ (with Kiiara andJulia Michaels)
‘One More Light’
‘Looking for an Answer’
‘Waiting for the End’ (with Sydney Sierota)
‘Crawling’ (with Oliver Sykes, plus Zedd on drums)
‘Papercut’ (with Machine Gun Kelly)
‘One Step Closer’ (with Jonathan Davis)
‘A Place for My Head’ (with Jeremy McKinnon)
‘Rebellion’ (with Frank Zummo)
‘The Catalyst’ (with Jon Green and Deryck Whibley)
‘One Tree Hill’
‘I Miss You’ (with Blink‐182)
‘What I’ve Done’ (with blink‐182)
‘In the End’
‘A Light That Never Comes’ (with Bebe Rexha, Steve Aoki and Frank Zummo)
‘Burn It Down’ (with M. Shadows)
‘Faint’ (with Synyster Gates)
‘Bleed It Out’
Song played from tape” ‘One More Light’ (Chester Forever Remix by Steve Aoki)