Hasselhoff and Heroes: Strange ’80s Concert Lives Up to Its Name

Members of No Doubt, the Offspring and NSYNC also took the stage at the Fonda Theater.

David HasselhoffAcceleration 2014 - Race and
Isifa Image Service sro/REX/Shut

No Doubt’s Adrian Young beautifully summed up Strange ’80s 2, held at the Fonda Theater in Los Angeles on Friday night (Oct. 12). Speaking to Variety before the show, Young remarked: “When else would you be able to see guys from Slipknot, Offspring and No Doubt with David Hasselhoff? I couldn’t have thought of that.”

But supergroup combinations were secondary to the night’s main event: raising money for Talinda Bennington’s the Campaign to Change Direction, an organization focused on mental health (her husband, Chester Bennington of Linkin Park, died by suicide in July 2017). It’s a cause close to Young’s heart, as he explained while introducing a cover of David Bowie’s “Heroes.”

“This song … it’s now really current and it’s about helping people,” he said. “We can be heroes. That’s what tonight’s about. We all know somebody who passed away; we all know somebody who had a problem or who was in a dark place. We can help. That’s why we’re here.”

The message was certainly delivered but so was a night of entertainment, highlighted by The “Hoff” himself clad in a black jacket and sunglasses after arriving in his “Knight Rider” car K.I.T.T. He took the stage well after 11 p.m., asking, “Are you guys ready to party?” Hoff then performed “True Survivor,” from his 2015 film “Kung Fury,” with a backing group that included Noodles from Offspring.

Other fun and memorable moments included Sum 41’s Deryck Whibley showing off his metal chops with Metallica’s “Enter Sandman” and “For Whom The Bell Tolls;” Jaret Reddick of Bowling for Soup rocking Ozzy Osbourne’s “Crazy Train;” and Aimee Allen, aka Aimee Interrupter of the Interrupters, owning Joan Jett’s “Bad Reputation.”

For sheer ’80s joy — and that was in abundance as promoters went all-out turning the mezzanine into an ’80s video arcade — it’s hard to match Chris Kirkpatrick of ‘NSYNC doing the Outfield’s  “Your Love” and Def Leppard’s “Pour Some Sugar On Me.” On the latter, the former boybander was joined by Dennis Haskins, aka Mr. Belding of “Saved By The Bell.”

Talinda Bennington was in London and unable to attend. But she spoke to Variety the day before the event and she was honored both to be a part of it and raise awareness for such an important cause.

“It’s very bittersweet how much more is being done because if it would have been done sooner I feel like it may have helped the situation for those that we have lost already,” she said. “But you can only look forward and stuff and just look at the positive and take something positive from all of the tragedies we’ve had, not just Chester. And move forward and understand in order to honor those we’ve lost we have to do something.”

Bennington added that she will continue to be involved in different annual charity concerts going forward to benefit the campaign begun to honor her late husband.

“We plan on having a yearly concert for [the Campaign to] Change Direction and ‘Strange ’80s’ is that [show] this year, which is great,” she said. “And we’ll see what next year brings.”