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Making Chester Bennington proud: Linkin Park tribute concert showed the healing power of music

Musicians from Linkin Park; Dave Farrell, Joe Hahn, Brad Delsen, Rob Bourdon and Mike Shinoda perform Throughout the “Linkin Park And Friends Celebrate Life In Honor Of Chester Bennington” event at the Hollywood Bowl on October 27, 2017 in Hollywood, California.

Picture: Getty Images

“I really don’t have the words and I don’t believe any of us do,” Linkin Park’s pianist and vocalist Mike Shinoda told the sold out audience at the Hollywood Bowl on Friday night.  

He didn’t need them. A really beautiful and cathartic tribute concert that was more powerful was, orchestrated by the group, joined by a laundry list of friends. They celebrated the life of the singer, Chester Bennington, who died in July by suicide of this band.

Helping fill the stage were members of popular bands that had their heyday around the turn of this century like Blink182, Sum 41, Yellowcard, Bush, System of a Down, Avenged Sevenfold, No Doubt, and many, many more. Restricted by no genre or fashion, it felt like the entire industry came together to encourage the band and honor the life of the friend. The musicians helped sing some of the components of Bennington or filled in on guitar in the songs of Linkin Park, while others performed their tributes.  

Fans’ crying faces were projected onto screens surrounding the stage, but the event didn’t feel like a funeral — that was a celebration. Linkin Park’s songs are dark and driven, adding a deep layer of closeness between the group and its fans. It was hard not to tease up hearing the audience sing powerful lyrics like “Ultimately, it does not even matter,” and “Who cares whether a more light travels out in the skies of a million stars?”  

Every tune, in some way, felt a whole lot more meaningful and connected to the tragic death of Bennington.

HOLLYWOOD, CA – OCTOBER 27: Musicians from Linkin Park; Mike Shinoda and Joe Hahn perform with Steve Aoki during the “Linkin Park And Friends Celebrate Life In Honor Of Chester Bennington” concert at the Hollywood Bowl.

Picture: Christopher Polk/Getty Images

Shinoda had once shared the function of group frontman with Bennington that the duty was his alone. He revealed he was up to the job, acting together with professionalism and genuine love for Linkin Park’s fans and both the audio. A group performing with no lead singer may seem hopeless — Shinoda called the concert one of the “hardest things they have ever decided to do.” In honor of Bennington, though, Linkin Park made it work.  

After a couple of songs to kick things off, the stage went dark and a microphone stand had been illuminated at the middle of the stage. No one sang into the mic as the group performed “Numb,” one of Linkin Park’s most well-known songs off the group’s 2003 record Meteora.  

The audience came to the realization that nobody was likely to measure out from the back of the stage to sing this one for Bennington. It had been on the fans to fill the void. The audience turned into a little closer with that knowledge, tension eased. Sang a little bit louder. The psychological moment appears in the video below, complete with chants of “Chester! Chester! Chester!” To close out the tune.

While the music spoke volumes, the stage was also used by musicians to advocate for mental health awareness, which received praise and cheers from the audience of over 18,000.  

“There’s been a whole lot of vilification of individuals with depression, and dependence, and being bothered, and being in the public eye, and being made fun of for the struggles that we as a huge community of individuals with notoriety have gone through. And it is a very, isolating, ambitious journey to go through,” Alanis Morissette mentioned to the audience as she introduced the song “Rush” off her forthcoming album. “And therefore, for me personally, I just want to provide empathy to all folks in the public eye. To all of you here tonight, to everybody around the world who’s grieving.”

The audience roared for Morissette, who one. There was no ego that night. Nobody scoffed at the combination of genres or wallpapers the lineup presented. None of that seemed to matter, although the audience might have been filled with rockers.

In the day, the microphone of Bennington made another look as Talinda Ann Bentley took the stage to thank audience, the actors, and the Linkin Park family. She    introduced a new mental health resource, known as 320 in cooperation with Change Direction, with regard to her husband.  

Talinda Ann Bentley speaks in Los Angeles, during the Linkin Park and Friends Celebrate Life in Honor of Chester Bennington at the Hollywood Bowl.

Picture: Invision/AP/REX/Shutterstock

“It is time to recognize that mental health is as important as our physical health,” Bentley stated to the audience. “It’s my mission to make it easier to get access to mental health resources … Together we will build a refuge, not only for those suffering emotionally, but also for friends, and family members, and healthcare practitioners, that are looking for answers to questions about mental health, illness, and dependence, so that they can best encourage people in their lives.”

Bentley announced there were mental health professionals from Change Direction accessible at the show for anyone seeking help.

“Fuck melancholy, let’s make Chester proud,” Bentley stated before leaving the point.  

“Fuck melancholy, let’s make Chester proud.”

It had been packed with performances while the series could have been somber. Utilizing audio and footage from a functionality from Linkin Park at the Hollywood Bowl in September 2014, the group played “New Divide” with Bennington at the helm. It felt just like Bennington was singing together with the audience packed with fans when I closed my eyes. The song, for a brief moment, brought Bennington back to life to do one final time.  

Since the venue was exited by the masses they were greeted with a memorial wall, in which they wrote messages and tributes into Bennington. The vibe was positive despite being stuck in an infinite line of people attempting to exit the huge venue and individuals were in great spirits.  

Fans compose messages on memorial wall for Chester Bennington of Linkin Park, situated in Los Angeles.

Picture: Mashable/Brian Koerber

“I thought it was fantastic. I thought it was amazing,” longtime fan Angela Schippers, 35, of Moreno Valley, California, stated concerning the concert after registering the wall.

“I simply kissed Chester for all of the beautiful songs that inspired everybody,” she explained.

Longtime Linkin Park enthusiast Angela Schippers signals a memorial for Chester Bennington.

Picture: Mashable/Brian Koerber

“It had been so great, so fun. I go to a lot of concerts [and this was] one of the greatest concerts I’ve ever been to. And the thing is, I really don’t know all their songs,” Jason Wisch, a Los Angeles native, admitted. “It was poetic.”

Before finishing the series, Shinoda touched on a subject that was on every fan’s mind: What’ll happen to the beloved band that its lead singer is gone?

“You guys, we don’t know where we are going from here, we certainly appreciate your support as we get there … most importantly, keep Chester in your hearts and create Chester proud,” he explained.

This was a memorial for a friend that is dear, or so much more than a concert — it was evidence that music can heal and bring people together for good. There is no uncertainty: Bennington could have been proud of everything he watched on stage. Proud of his friends, proud of his bandmates and proud of his fans.

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