It was the stuff of rock and roll dreams - Roger Daltrey, Robert Plant and Dave Grohl headlining a private concert in someone's backyard in Pacific Palisades, near the Southern California coast. Among the 500 attendees at Saturday night's event? A smattering of doctors, socialites, celebrities and teenagers battling cancer.
"Thank you for coming," said Daltrey, as he opened the night's performances from a temporary stage. "It means so much to me, as you know."
Friday, the legendary Who frontman announced the launch of the Daltrey/Townshend Teen & Young Adult Cancer Program in Los Angeles. About 18 months from now, young people suffering from the disease will be able to come to a special wing at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center, where they'll find care and support tailored to their age group, in a setting that looks more like a hip boutique hotel than a hospital.
The program is the first of its kind in the United States, and builds upon 19 such cancer units founded by The Who in the United Kingdom. Daltrey says he owes much of his success to teens, and feels passionate about giving back.
His Saturday night set in the Palisades included some beloved Who songs, including "Pinball Wizard," "Won't Get Fooled Again" and "Baba O'Riley." Grohl joined Daltrey on guitar for a rockin' version of "Young Man Blues," then left the stage to make way for Daltrey's next duet partner - a man who had just ponied up six thousand dollars during a live auction for a chance to join the Rock and Roll Hall of Famer on the Johnny Cash classic, "Ring of Fire."
Robert Plant played a few selections from his debut album with his latest project, Band of Joy - but it was his re-working of three Led Zeppelin songs that had the crowd cheering. He opened his set with a smoking Americana-funk take on "Black Dog," sharing vocals with Patty Griffin. He later segued into "Misty Mountain Hop" and closed the night with "Ramble On."
Plant has been an advocate of The Who's cancer program since its inception 23 years ago in the U.K., where it's known as the Teenage Cancer Trust. Daltrey is looking to Grohl for leadership in the U.S.
"He's been a supporter of the Teenage Cancer Trust, and I'm hoping he'll become a spokesperson to keep the fire burning," Daltrey explained.
Grohl took the stage solo, playing three acoustic Foo Fighters songs - "Everlong," "Times Like These" and "Best of Me."
"Everlong" was a special request by 14-year-old Xylina Ramirez, who is learning to walk on a prosthetic leg while she undergoes chemotherapy for osteosarcoma, a rare bone cancer that usually develops during growth spurts in adolescents. She and some other teens in the program were posing for a photo, when Grohl happened to walk by.
"He said he hadn't decided on his set list yet, and asked if we had any suggestions," Ramirez recalled. "I said, 'Why don't you do 'Everlong?' I think it's one of your best songs."
Grohl took the teen's advice, starting off with "Everlong," which was released the year she was born.
"It was the most amazing thing," she said afterwards. "My mom said I almost cried - but I didn't."
The evening raised two million dollars for the Daltrey/Townshend Teen & Young Adult Cancer Program at UCLA. Ticket prices ranged from $2,500 to $100,000.
Boa Roger, admiramos seu trabalho daqui do Brasil !!
Really generous of Grohl, Plant, Daltrey and everyone who donated big bucks for such a great charity. Unheard of to raise $2 million at one event. Wow! Just hope the neighbors appreciated it and didn't get upset about the noise.
I wish that Cleveland would wake up and promote these wonderful human beings for all that they are trying to do. Roger and Robert have done such great work in the UK and need to get on board here in the Us and take us by storm just like they did when they were young. Cleveland is under a rebirth right now and we have so many tools here to promote them and let the world know what they are doing to help teens fighting cancer. My friend Kelsey has cystic fibrosis and she needs help too! Cleveland has the one and only Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and they need to get these guys here to prom ote their charity work. I really think the US needs to wake up and stop all the negativity and do a complete turnaround and think positive. Teens are so vulnerable as it is and cannot imagine cancer and diseases on top of that. Thankyou to Rick Springfield in helping teens to understand suicide and Elton John for helping with Aids and Lady Gaga to help in fighting bullying. They are so awesome in doing good for teens. They are our future.
Mike, the 6$ was from a man who had won an auction to sing onstage stupid. We should send you to England.
Read the article again, moron. It wasn't Plant who chipped in the money. It was an independent donor.
Best of You is the Foos song. Such a great bunch of guys.
Thxs Lisa. Oops just saw my typo..lol. *brother.
In an entertainment world dominated with articles about "celebrities" who're famous for no reason and who contribute nothing to society...it's great to see that there are still famous people out there doing something good and constructive in the world.
It's a shame Robert's new music gets overlooked because there really are some good songs from band of joy, but the crowd goes wild when he does zep numbers. That's fine and all, but give him credit for what he's done lately. That's a wonderful thing that Roger Daltrey and the who have put together, cancer is a awful disease. hospitals only remind you of being sick so it's good that they are trying to bring some normalcy to these teens lives. @Beautiful Vixen so sorry for your loss.
That's nice. I lost my sister.in.law in Feb. with cancer. Came fast and she died quick, left my bother in a mess. God bless
It's nice to hear about this, good line up too. Love ya rob!
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