Dave Grohl and Crew Fill Spectacular Set With Plenty of Surprises
I am an unabashed Foo Fighters fan. In my estimation, Dave Grohl and crew are one of the Top 10 rock bands on the planet and they were about to close out a Welcome To Rockville for the ages.
The Foo Fighters always deliver top-notch live music experiences for their huge fan base and on this Sunday night at the Monster Energy Stage there was a huge mass of exhausted, sweaty flesh looking for one last memory.
I loved this year’s Welcome to Rockville experience (as you can read here: Welcome to Rockville 2018 Delivers), but I still had enough energy for one more artist before my long drive home. After three glorious days of rock ‘n roll heaven, I suspected the best was saved for last. I was right.
Josh Homme raced over from his incendiary Queens of the Stone Age set at the Metropolitan Stage and hopped onto stage to introduce his friends the Foo Fighters. Led by Dave Grohl, the band immediately kicked into “Run,” starting out what turned out to be a two hour and fifteen minutes conversation with his new Florida friends.
Due to local regulations, the band needed to be off stage by 10:00, so we actually saw a slightly abbreviated set from a typical Foo Fighters show, but I guarantee that no one in the capacity crowd felt short-changed.
Grohl seems like everybody’s boisterous drinking buddy and quickly connected with the crowd. He chatted about his past, minivans, Foo Fighters fans… And he delivered one hell of a powerful and engaging rock show.
23 years of music and nine hit albums are the ingredients for a killer set. and the songs this night formed a near-perfect soundtrack.
The First Hour
Interestingly, when Grohl asked how many fans had seen him before, less than h self the crowd were Foo alighted veterans. By the end of the night, everyone was looking forward to their next chance to see them live.
After “Run,” the band crushed versions of “All My Life,” “Learn TO Fly” and “The Pretender.” Each song was extended a bit to give the six band members time to show off, and the crowd a chance to participate.
Grohl raced around the stage and actually took a spill, tripping over a monitor right in front of us, then bounced back up and said “I almost broke my fucking leg, but I’d still finish this set if I did.”
We saw Taylor Hawkins conduct a searing drum solo from his drum kit elevated a few stories above the stage, in the middle of a quick set of newer songs.
Other highlights included an acoustic, solo version of “MyHero” where the band joined in for an extended finish, and a smoking rendition of “Walk.”
The Band Intros
Beleive it or not, the highlight of the night was the band introduction segment. First, Grohl elicited a few quick solos from lead guitarist Chris Shiflett then he segued into a conversation on Billy Idol’s legendary guitarist Steve Stevens. The chat ended with Idol on stage offering up a killer cover of John Lennon’s “Gimme Some Truth.”
Bassist Nate Mendel was introduced and dipped into a bass line that sounded eerily similar to the opening notes to “You are the One I Want” – yes, that version. As it played, John Travolta slipped onto the stage and the band serenaded him with a bit of the Grease classic.
That was it for the special guests, but the treats kept coming. Keyboard player Rami Jaffee played the iconic piano intro to Lennon’s “Imagine” while Grohl shared why it was more important than ever to contemplate the lyrics and he implored the crowd to sing with him and he got them started with “I get up, and nothin’ gets me down. You got it tough, I’ve seen the toughest around”. The mash up worked brilliantly.
Pat Smear was introduced next and he kicked into an abbreviated version of “Blitzkrieg Bop” which had 30,000 strong vigorously chanting “Hey ho, let”s go…” Which was reportedly heard at Fort Matanzas in St. Augustine.
Finally it was Taylor Hawkins’ chance in the spotlight. Hawkins has a habit of singing Queen songs and doing it well and this night was no different. As Grohl slid behind the drum kit, Hawkins got the crowd fired up with some Freddie-esque call and response — quite reminiscent of Mercury’s performance at Live Aid. From there, he served up a wonderful version of “Under Pressure.”
Twenty minutes after it started, the best band introduction I have ever witnessed.
The rest of the show was dominated by Foo Fighter hits and plenty of singalong moments.
The last five songs, all extended versions were impeccable. “Monkey Wrench,” the first song after the intros cranked up the energy, and each of the next three kicked it up another notch. “Times Like These, scorching versions of “Breakout” and “Best of You,” before they closed the night with “Everlong.”
No encore shenanigans, just straight-forward rock to make sure the crowd heard as much as possible and headed home entirely drained and satisfied – much like the band on stage.
And, impressively, no one left the show early. Everyone deciding they would rather sit in traffic than miss anything on stage.
Twenty fantastic songs and countless new memories for the sell out crowd, who drifted out of Metropolitan Park thoroughly pleased.
Check out all of our Welcome To Rockville 2018 coverage this week:
- Tuesday: Festival Recap
- Wednesday: Featured Band – Foo Fighters
- Thursday: 21 things we loved about Welcome To Rockville 2018
- Friday: The Top 12 bands at Welcome To Rockville 2018
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