With an outpouring of tributes coming in following the news of Chester Bennington’s apparent suicide on Thursday, many have also cited the singer’s distinctive singing as they pay homage. “Literally the most impressive talent I’ve seen live,” Rihanna wrote on Instagram. “Vocal beast!”
Those who have seen Linkin Park perform live can attest to the warm tenor’s impressive vocal range and agility. Bennington’s voice embodied the anguish and wide-ranging emotions of the lyrics, from capturing life’s vulnerable moments to the fury and catharsis found in his belted screams, which he would often move between at the turn of a dime.
It was the tender side of Bennington that was on display at the iTunes Festival (now known as Apple Music Festival) on July 4th, 2011 during his and Mike Shinoda’s impressive cover of Adele’s “Rolling in the Deep” during Linkin Park’s encore. The pair tested the song out a few days prior during an intimate, acoustic set in Hamburg, Germany with Shinoda on guitar, but their iTunes Festival performance resonated. Adele would perform at the festival a few days later and it took place in her hometown area of London.
“We’re going to do something really special for you guys,” Bennington said. “This is something we don’t normally do, we’re gonna play a song by another artist. She’s a local, and hopefully we do it some justice.” Bennington began the song a cappella before Shinoda motioned to him to switch keys. Bennington easily acquiesced, which further showcased his vocal malleability.
Backed by Shinoda on piano, Bennington closed his eyes and soulfully traversed the song’s heartache themes. Meanwhile, the audience joined in to sing the chorus, with Bennington’s supple singing reaching his upper register. Afterwards, he thanked Adele for writing “such a great song,” thanked fans for coming and also thanked those who supported Music For Relief, the charity Linkin Park founded to support natural disaster survivors and to protect the environment. Watching the performance and Bennington’s heartfelt thanks at the end of the clip is yet another heartbreaking reminder of the loss his family, friends and fans are experiencing.