Sometimes it is easy to overlook the obvious; you get so caught up in other things and looking for the next new thing that you never get around to doing the one thing that is right in front of your face. This is the only explanation that I can offer as to why it took me twenty years to see the Foo Fighters live, especially since they are easily one of my favorite bands. It seems kind of ridiculous that I’ve seen some bands that I don’t even like multiple times (hello Creed) while a band that consistently puts out music that I love and that is fronted by one of the greatest guys in rock and roll has played for two decades without me catching one of their performances. But better late than never. 2015 was the year that I was finally going to see the Foo Fighters in action; I was even willing to go inside the belly of the beast (aka Fenway Park) to finally fulfill this dream.
I was really excited for this show, but in typical me fashion I wouldn’t let myself get very excited for the show in case something went wrong along the way. Since I was going to the show with other people, traveling, and it was outside, there were a lot of variables that were out of my control. This is not an ideal combination for me, since there were a lot of possible avenues for landmines. The fact that Dave Grohl broke his leg right before the U.S. tour was set to begin only added additional drama, since they did wind up having to cancel a few tour dates in Europe. I wanted so badly to cross this off my bucket list that I was seriously convinced that it wasn’t going to happen; I refused to acknowledge that I was even going to the show on social media so as not to jinx it. With the possibility of rain in the forecast and then an accident that snarled traffic on the Mass Pike, I worried that my premonitions were coming true. My friends kept waiting for me to get excited, but I refused to believe it was going to happen until I saw Dave Grohl on that stage. Even when we were sitting in Fenway, watching the opening acts as the skies began to clear and the sun came out, I still would not let myself get visibly happy. Admittedly, this was partially because my friends found it funny that I seemed so nonchalant about finally seeing the Foo Fighters, but I was still waiting for the other shoe to drop and for there to be a problem. I also think I was sort of in denial that it was finally going to happen – Dave Grohl and I would be in the same place at the same time.
After twenty years of buildup, there was certainly the potential for disappointment once the Foo Fighters finally took the stage and I accepted that I was indeed going to see them play. But even after waiting nearly half my life for this particular moment, Dave Grohl and company more than lived up to expectations. It was two and a half hours on non-stop rock and roll that was both exhilarating and exhausting (in a good way). Once the show started, everyone was on their feet for the entire show and while the cozy seating at Fenway doesn’t allow a lot of room for rocking out, almost every single person in the stadium was dancing and moving to the music. Once the Foo Fighters put their foot on the gas pedal, the show didn’t let up until it ended.
Of course, because of Grohl’s broken leg, some concessions had to be made. The result was something spectacular – for most of the show, Dave sat in a giant throne that he designed while high on painkillers. The throne moved about the stage so he wasn’t stationary in one place and my hopes that it would be easier to get some photos of Dave because he was seated proved to be misplaced as that man proceeded to rock out as much in the throne as he would have if he was on his feet. I really have no idea how he managed to pull that off, but the throne seemed to do nothing to slow him down. Really, the only thing that the throne did was make him look like the rock and roll royalty that he is. He even used the boot on his leg to play the guitar for one of the songs, which I am presuming doesn’t happen at a lot of other rock shows.
The Foo Fighters spanned the entire breadth of their catalog, playing songs from all periods of their career. They played some “old school” Foo Fighters as well as some songs from their newest album Sonic Highway. The set was also occasionally sprinkled with some classic rock covers as well – songs that made the band want to be musicians to begin with. We were treated to some Queen and AC/DC, which is fine by me. I wish that they would have done even more covers, since that’s half the fun of seeing a band live – hearing them do something that you don’t hear them do something that they don’t normally do. But I wouldn’t have wanted them to not do any of the Foo Fighters songs that they did – I just wanted them to play even longer, which I will fully admit is just me being greedy. Not many bands play for two hours, let alone cross the two and a half hour threshold. But I could have been there until midnight and I would have still wanted more. I’m a little jealous that the crowd at the show on Sunday got a cover of the White Stripes “Seven Nation Army,” but since I got to hear Jack White perform that earlier this year, I’m really in no position to complain. The band did mix it up with a few acoustic numbers, which was the only time during the show that Dave descended from his throne and used crutches.
There were plenty of moments for the crowd to sing along with the band and we were challenged even more by Dave’s assertion that the crowd at night two is always louder than the crowd night one. I don’t know if we were the exception to the rule, but I was worried that I might lose my voice toward the end of the concert. The band was also serenaded with a chant of “FOO!” which is apparently the first time that has happened on this tour and which Dave appreciated yet found a bit disconcerting since it does sound very similar to “BOO!”.
Grohl interacted with the audience throughout the night and is unsurprisingly a great storyteller. He recounted for us how he got his injury and though I’m guessing almost everyone in the audience knew the story, it was still fun to hear it directly from him. He also recounted how his high school band came in third in a talent show and wondered what happened to the guys in the band that one. It was funny and I was hoping that the fact that he mentioned that his band played “Footloose” meant that we were going to get at least of little of that song, which would have been amazing, but didn’t happen.
The opening acts were Boston bands Mission to Burma and the Mighty Mighty Bosstones. I wasn’t at all familiar with Mission to Burma and their more punk sounds wasn’t really my cup of tea. Apparently they have been around for a while, as Grohl cited them as a band that inspired him. I was more into the Mighty Mighty Bosstones, who I was vaguely familiar with from their brief moment of popularity in the 90s and one of their songs being featured in the movie Clueless. Their ska sound is a lot of fun and I’m glad to see that they are going strong. I was originally disappointed that we missed Dropkick Murphy – they opened on Sunday night – but the Bosstones were a suitable replacement.
The Foo Fighters show was so fun that we immediately started looking for other dates on their tour when we could see them again, which is saying a lot as my friend Robin has now seen them three times in the span of two weeks. I have no idea if we’ll be able to pull off the Chicago show, but the fact that we’re even contemplating it immediately after seeing them perform is the most ringing endorsement that I think I can give this concert. At minimum, it won’t be another twenty years before I see the Foo Fighters perform again; it’s rare that bands and performers live up to the hype, but the Foo Fighters and Dave Grohl specifically did that in spades. You walk away from a Foo Fighters show not only delighted by the music, but with the sense that you actually know Grohl. He’s everything that you’d want him to be – a lovable goofball that can melt you face off with some kick-ass rock and roll. It was a great night with great company and I can cross another item off the old pop culture bucket list.
Learn to Fly
Something From Nothing
I’m the One (Van Halen cover – Snippet played during band introduction)
Another One Bites the Dust (Queen cover -Snippet played during band introduction)
One Vision (Queen cover – Snippet played during band introduction)
Cold Day in the Sun
My Hero (Acoustic)
Times Like These (Acoustic)
Under Pressure (Queen & David Bowie cover)
All My Life
I’ll Stick Around
This Is a Call
Let There Be Rock (AC/DC cover)
Best of You
The Foo Fighters tour will continue through November.