LOS ANGELES — For an event spawned by pure tragedy, Monday night’s all-star benefit at the Wiltern LG theater turned into a raucous affair as Will Ferrell, Chris Rock, Dave Grohl, Eddie Vedder, Beck, Josh Homme of Queens of the Stone Age and Tenacious D joined forces to aid victims of last month’s tsunami.
Ferrell kicked off the evening, greeting the capacity crowd — which included Luke Wilson and guitarist Brad Delson of Linkin Park — by noting that all the music would be live and there would be “no Ashlee Simpson bullsh–.” Ferrell then settled in behind a piano to “perform” a rendition of Coldplay’s “Clocks” — one that sounded exactly like the version on A Rush of Blood to the Head — while answering his cell phone, eating a sandwich, reading the newspaper and taking a nap.(Click to see photos from the concert.)
The night’s first real musical performance belonged to Josh Homme, who played a short acoustic set that included a truncated version of “Mosquito Song” — which he stopped mid-song, announcing that he was “already bored.” Homme also served up “No One Knows,” and two new songs: “Long Slow Goodbye” and “I Never Came,” which featured Dave Grohl on guitar.
Next up, Eddie Vedder performed the Pearl Jam tune “I Am Mine,” their cover of “Last Kiss,” the Cat Stevens tune “Trouble” and the Who’s “The Seeker.” Vedder was then joined by Tenacious D’s Kyle Gass (and most of the crowd) for an oddly straightforward cover of the Beatles’ “You’ve Got to Hide Your Love Away.”
Surprise guest Chris Rock then hit the stage, offering jokes about his upcoming gig hosting the Oscars before introducing Grohl, who performed a new Foo Fighters song called “Razor of Mine.” The head Foo then served up “Everlong,” “Times Like These” and “Tired of You.”
Beck hit the stage next and performed a few songs, including “Everybody’s Gotta Learn Sometimes” from the “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind” soundtrack and “Lost Cause,” getting an assist from Ferrell (who, clad in a red body suit, offered an interpretive dance that culminated in him humping Beck’s pump organ; Beck stopped a few times to politely ask him to stop).
Finally, the night’s headliners, Tenacious D, emerged announcing themselves by their self-anointed title of “greatest band in the world.” Gass and Jack Black opened their set with a cover of Queen’s “Flash Gordon” title theme and also cobbled together a Who medley and a Beatles medley, but also dug into their own arsenal to offer “Wonderboy,” “Explosivo,” “Lee” and “F— Her Gently.” The duo offered two new songs — one that will open their movie, “Tenacious D: In the Pick of Destiny,” and another called “Dude, I Totally Miss You.”
The show’s mind-bending close came courtesy of an encore featuring Grohl on drums, Homme on bass, Beck and Vedder on electric guitar, and Black and Gass on acoustic guitar. The impromptu supergroup performed the Chambers Brothers song “Time Has Come Today,” the Byrds’ “So You Want to Be a Rock & Roll Star” and Led Zeppelin’s “Good Times Bad Times.” The group was then joined by Ferrell — playing a cowbell, because you always need more cowbell — to reprise “Time Has Come Today.” The musicians walked off the stage one at a time, leaving Ferrell alone striking his cowbell as the crowd chanted “Time!”
The concert was organized by Music for Relief (see “Linkin Park Establish Charity To Help Tsunami Victims” ) to benefit the Red Cross’ tsunami-relief efforts. You can still make a donation at www.redcross.org.
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