Arena-rock bombast, thy name is Foo.
Seminal alt-rock drummer turned consummate frontman Dave Grohl rocked Quicken Loans Arena last night, and he did so with all the histrionics of a valedictorian straight outta rock & roll high school. If it wasn’t in stage presence, it was in the blinding crush of prescient power chord riffage and precision that felt every bit of 1976 and 2011 all at once.
It was a fitting tribute to the 20th anniversary of Nirvana’s Nevermind. Grohl played a big part in that, but most definitely found his own legacy in his 21st century arena-rock band.
The five-piece perfected two and a half hours of execution with a set list that left nothing to the imagination (definitely a good thing).
The evening kicked off with “Bridge Burning” and “Rope,” the opening two songs from this year's Wasting Light, and rolled into “The Pretender,” from 2007’s Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace.
A gaggle of bomb-shaped hi-def video screens and a LED-fortified “dance” floor marked the time with drummer Taylor “the guy with the Hetfield mustache” Hawkins, who positively bludgeoned his skins.
“Turn up the house lights,” Grohl growled after a stretch that included “Monkey Wrench” and “Learn to Fly” “I need to see the peoples! I like it when a lot of peoples come to the show!”
That’s the kind of mantra gets you a street named after you in your hometown.
Equally humorous was Grohl's recollection of the costumed Slash/Barney guitar battle between Nirvana’s catalyst Kurt Cobain and Nirvana/Foo Fighters rhythm guitarist Pat Smear during a Halloween show at the old Empire Concert Club. “And Pat won!” Grohl cheesed.
To wit, the Warren-born Grohl was amped and in rare form with his dad Jim in the audience.
“Guess who was born in the beautiful state of Ohio — fucking me!” he grinned early, egging on the audience by suggesting that the Foos would “play as long as we can for you, until have we go backstage and throw up.”
They absolutely did. —Peter Chakerian; photos by Joe Kleon