Most bands wouldn’t play a whole tour with a front man with a broken leg, but the Foo Fighters aren’t most bands. Last weekend, the 20-year veterans played to a sold-out Gorge Amphitheatre on a night that could only be described as pure joy.
Blues guitar prodigy Gary Clarke, Jr. opened the show. While his style was an odd match to the Foo Fighters’ endless rock energy, it was nice to see that they brought someone on tour just because they liked the guy. Plus, Clarke, Jr. was one of many guests on their last album Sonic Highways, so it all made sense in the end.
After Clarke, Jr. warmed up the crowd, so to speak, the Foo Fighters took the stage behind a giant “FF” logo banner with the raucous “All My Life.” Twenty seconds in, the banner fell and the band emerged with Dave Grohl leading the pack in a throne of smoke and lasers. That’s right, a throne of smoke and lasers.
That throne was a good metaphor for the whole evening – loud, ridiculous, fun, and just earnest enough without being too serious.
“For all you people out there that’s never been to a Foo Fighters show – you’re my target demographic. All of you old motherf****** that have seen the Foo Fighters before, you know what I’m talking about. But to all of you newcomers – guess what? It’s gonna be a long f****** night.” Grohl said over a long intro to “Big Me.”
In fact, they played songs from their whole catalogue – from the self-titled album, all the way to Sonic Highways. They even played songs that weren’t in their catalogue – specifically a couple classic Queen tracks that Taylor Hawkins took the lead vocals on. Hawkins wailed from behind his drum set (adorned with John Travolta in Staying Alive) all the while maintaining that infectious toothy smile.
Throughout the marathon set, Grohl bantered with the crowd about everything from Jagermeister to why he was sitting on that throne. “It’s not because I broke my leg, it’s because when I broke my leg, I said to the Foo Fighters road crew – I would like to not cancel any shows and I would like to stay on tour. So in the depths of my recovery, I came up with this idea – I drew it on a hotel notepad. I sent it to my man Dan who does the lights for the Foo Fighters and I said ‘if you build this, then we won’t have to cancel any shows.’” Who knows how uncomfortable that bulky cast was? But Grohl literally powered through it and played for just short of three hours.
They closed the night with what is inarguably their best song, “Everlong” off The Colour and the Shape. It was a perfect way to end the night – one that consisted of a Kinks cover, the MTV Theme song, 15-minute versions of songs, and proof that this band is still unstoppable.
It honestly felt like they would have kept playing if the Gorge crew had let them. That’s how much this band cares about their fans. After twenty years in music, they could coast on what people know and love and not innovate or try to grow, but the Foo Fighters are continuously doing new things. Whether it’s making a documentary about music history to go along with an album or playing a tour with a broken leg, they never give up trying something new.
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