We went to see the Foo Fighters last week here in Nashville. And holy hell! This is truly the best live band we got going folks. Okay, I saw Muse last year and they were amazing. And, oh yeah, Cage the Elephant at the recent Pilgrimage Festival was next level live rock as well. Let's just go with a three way tie.
Having seen Grohl and company most recently, I'm going with them tops for the purposes of this little piece. Speaking of Grohl: as you probably know he broke his leg a few months ago and performed the over two hour set, on a throne. That's what he called it, a throne, when he made mention of the incident, showing us the scribbled drawing he gave to his crew who went on to design it. The drawing came complete with Dave's instructions to add "lasers and shit." Seated. With a boot still on. He rocked as hard as anyone I've ever seen. I've seen Rage, Pearl Jam, U2, Sevendust...and tons more. Nothing like it. Head banging, punishing his guitar and screaming. The screaming. I'm a singer. Fronting my rock band The Nixons, I screamed once, at the top of every show with usual opening song "Foma." A song that begins on the record with me screaming.
NOTE: When my now father-in-law asked my now sister-in-law to play some of my music. They popped in our first CD and with volume loud, he was introduced to the young fella dating his daughter (my now wife who I now scream alongside with as we raise teenage boys. My now wife who had hands in the air singing along to every song that night watching the FF. My wife who stood in line for over two hours with our son to get us tickets 8 months earlier).
Top of the show: he screams from behind a big red curtain with the familiar FF logo, we heard guitar noise, drum booms and him. "Are you f**king ready?!!" "How the f**k you doing?!?!" "C'mon!!!" "Let's f**king go!!" (He said f**k a lot). He screamed throughout the show and never missed a note. Even in the non-screaming quieter moments, his voice sounded clear and powerful. He has something else though. Some sort of magical pull. Some mash-up of honesty, energy, coolness, humor, rockingness. Once he just sat there staring out, smiling with a look that said, "I am going to rip your f**king heads off ."
He sucked all 10k plus in. Yelling at his light guy to show him the crowd. Cue house lights. He screamed at one fan who was singing along. He told the fan he was gonna lose his voice but that he could "do this sh*t all night." I don't know how to describe it other than to say: he's f**king cool. Everything he does is cool. He chewed gum. He even chews gum cool. Dunno how it's possible but it's true. He also had a funny and endearing rapport with all his band mates, especially Taylor Hawkins (the second best drummer in the Foo Fighters). Also, I forgot how many hits they've had. Interesting conversation with my boys about how they've now eclipsed the musical output of Grohl's former band Nirvana. Nirvana. Oh yeah, they were and still are one of the most important bands ever. The musical and historical mark Nirvana made cannot be overstated. But Grohl has created a new mythos for himself that I never would've seen when I saw them the first time. Flashback: My tour manager came on our bus back in nineteen-ninety something outside the club we were playing in San Francisco and, knowing I am a big Pearl Jam fan, informed me Eddie Vedder's side project Hovercraft was playing. And the drummer for Nirvana has a new band and they're opening. I saw one of the first shows they played. It was great then. We only saw couple songs and then refocused on our own show. To see what he has built, from then to now...is absolutely unbelievably awesome.
From "Everlong" to "The Pretender" from "Big Me" to "Best of You." Energy never waned. The band led by Mr. RAWK-n-ROLL, was one of the best live shows I have ever seen. There goes my hero. Indeed.