So it really is true. A Foo Fighters concert is 3 hours long. 3 solid hours of unbridled, unwavering rock ‘n roll. No gimmicks. No fancy videos. No back-up dancers. Only a kick-ass lighting rig and a frontman whose energy knows no bounds.
Dave Grohl doesn’t stop from the moment he steps on stage. His shirt is sweat-clenched to his body already two songs into the set, as he smashes hit after hit into tiny little pieces that are left hanging off the ceiling of Madison Square Garden.
“We can’t believe we’re playing Madison F***ing Square Garden,” says drummer Taylor Hawkins, when Grohl introduces the band, early on in the show. “And you know why we are – it’s because of that guy.” He points his stick at Grohl. “One of the most talented motherf***ers in the world; our fearless leader!”
With every head-bang and every strum of his special blue Gibson DG-335 (it was so pretty I had to look it up) Grohl demands the audience keep up with his lead. From openers Bridge Burning and Rope, off their latest album Wasting Light, to The Pretender to My Hero and Learn to Fly, and then back to Arlandria and These Days, it’s a mix of current and classic tracks shuffled on the set-list, of this, the band’s second time at the legendary MSG.
But Grohl had words for me and other first-timers:
“To those of you who have never seen us before, we’re glad you waited. We used to suck, but we’ve been practicing for 16 years. Now we shred every show!”
Twice, Grohl strummed and head-banged all the way down the extended portion of the stage, which stopped in front of the section I was in. “Who’s got the shitty seats now?” he joked, on his second run. I’m the last one laughing when he serenades us with an acoustic version of Best of Me, my favourite. It’s preceded by Wheels, and Times Like These, which make up the 7-set encore that includes cameos by Bob Mould (Hüsker Dü, Sugar) and Joan Jett – in true rock ‘n roll style performing Bad Reputation!
It’s all highs, right until just before the last song though, when a CD hits Grohl. He stops the music to ask what he’s supposed to do after someone throws their demo at him. For a split second it looks as though he really might “pack up and go”, as he threatens. Thankfully, he doesn’t and the band stays to round out their three hours with their final song, Everlong.