Last night, Linkin Park got on stage for the first time since Chester Bennington’s tragic death with some of their closest friends and played a tribute to their fallen frontman. It was a truly beautiful night focusing more on celebrating Chester’s life than it was mourning his death, and guests included blink-182, Rey Key of Yellowcard, Alanis Morissette, Tom Dumont/Tony Kanal of No Doubt, Oliver Sykes of Bring Me the Horizon, Machine Gun Kelly, Deryck Whibley/Frank Zummo of Sum 41, and M. Shadows of Avenged Sevenfold to name a few. They were all great, but all served as a bittersweet reminder that nobody ever could and ever will be Chester Bennington. The special guests that choked me up the most, though, were the fans in the crowd when they sang “Numb” as a spotlight shone on Bennington’s mic.
They were off beat the entire song as you can tell from that video because of the echo in the Hollywood Bowl, but it wasn’t their perfect harmonies or flawless rhythm that was gonna make me cry. It was the realization that Chester Bennington touched them all so much that they gathered that night to sing his songs – possibly for the last time ever – at the top of their lungs with the people that meant the most to them. The realization that they missed this man so much, and were genuinely celebrating his existence. The realization that his music probably impacted some of these people’s lives tremendously. The sadness and confusion of “How could he have done what he did?” comes along with that, of course, but you have to remember that depression can strike anyone, even someone who all of these people loved this much.
That’s why it’s so important to me that the mental health stigma ends, and that’s why I sometimes get really serious on Twitter and share my own battles with depression with you guys. I was hospitalized for constant suicidal thoughts just four years ago. Yes, there were things that triggered that, but it wasn’t like every single thing in my life was horrible. It’s not like I had nobody to talk to about it and I was rotting away alone. I have a fucking awesome family who care about me very much and got me the help I needed, and in the past four years, my life has gone from feeling like it was pointless and going to end soon to better than I ever could have dreamed of it being. I’ve accomplished pretty much everything I ever imagined (thx 2 Dave Portnoy & Dave Portnoy only). Does that mean my depression has been cured and I’m happy 24/7 now? No. In fact, I’m currently in a rough valley of my depression, and have been for months. It is a mental disorder that comes and goes, sometimes for no reason at all, and IT IS NOTHING TO BE ASHAMED OF. An estimated 350 million people worldwide suffer from depression. 350 MILLION! You’re not alone in your battle no matter how much you may feel like it, and you always have someone to talk to in me. My Twitter DMs are always open. I’ll listen, and I’ll give you the best advice I can.
Here’s some of my favorite performances from the rest of the tribute show:
I never saw Linkin Park live. I had tickets to see them the week after Chester died, but that show obviously didn’t happen. I did see Chester, though, as part of Matt Sorum’s supergroup “Kings of Chaos”, and he was a one of a kind rockstar. I will never forget him gracing the stage on a freezing cold night in a sleeveless shirt that said “I MET GOD AND SHE’S BLACK” and sunglasses, thinking, “That’s rock n roll.”
Mike Shinoda said he’s not sure if Linkin Park will continue or not following this show. If this was it, it was a perfect way to go out. I hope it wasn’t, though. Nobody will ever be Chester Bennington, but that doesn’t mean his music shouldn’t live on.