Seeing a huge band in a smaller venue is always a special treat. A few months ago, Dave Grohl, Taylor Hawkins, Pat Smear, Nate Mendel, and Chris Shiflett were set to ring in the Grand Opening of The Fillmore. Sadly, an injury kept that from happening. As promised, however, they returned this week for two insane sold-out shows. Night one was nearly three hours by most calculations, and the evening I attended-night two-was just as long and passionate a show as I've ever seen the band perform.
When you see them, you can genuinely feel the love and devotion they have for giving audiences a show that's as memorable as you're likely to find in the mainstream rock scene. As Grohl noted in between screeching howls amidst songs like "Monkey Wrench" or "Something From Nothing," the band turned 25 this year. With that, of course, comes tons of sing-alongs and hits-enough to keep their hardcore fan base enthralled for well over two hours.
Starting the evening with perhaps their best song, "Everlong," was tricky. The song is still incredible to me every time I hear it, but if you start the night with the biggest song of the evening, where do you go from there? The answer for the Foos: You play more hits. How "Monkey Wrench" rocked its way into the more relaxed sounds of "Learn to Fly" was a smart move. The crowd wasn't exactly young, but the energy was high, so it didn't really matter. I mean, it makes sense. Most in the crowd paid well over $200 to attend this show, so they might as well make a time of it.
Next up was a pretty decent-sized selection of songs from Sonic Highways, one section of which was recorded here. I'm sure you already know the story, but "In the Clear," featuring the band who also happened to open, the Preservation Hall Jazz Band, was a moment for sure. Then came the one-two punch of rockers, like "Walk," which has an amazing story of power and growth. That gave way to "Rope," which is just as great now as it was the other times I've heard it. As always, this type of show and band almost demand a drum solo, which definitely didn't disappoint. Hawkins is just so exuberant and happy that it's pretty much impossible to stop smiling. It's just very badass.
The show went on, and while the crowd dwindled a little, most around me still seemed engaged and full of energy. This sort of show can be difficult for the band and the crowd, but Grohl and company can energize and engage with the crowd in a way that keeps everyone watching. As the six-piece was starting to wind down the music marathon, they proved that they still had some energy. "All My Life" blew up The Fillmore with wild chants and energy, which seemed to take over all in attendance. As the moments of the evening began to draw to an end, the Foos had time for two more. "This is a Call" is still as raucous and engaging as it was when you heard it on the first album. Of course, they had saved "Best of You" for the capacity crowd to celebrate one last time. It's a song of pure emotion that's able to make all around you open and free. It's sobering and ultimately empowering. That energy is the perfect example of the band and their journey over the last 25 years.
I hope you were there, but I'm sure they will
be back. As Grohl said numerous times throughout the show, they LOVE New
Orleans. I don't expect that love affair to stop anytime soon. It's definitely
mutual, based on what I saw last Thursday night.