It took me a couple of days to write this post because I kept getting distracted by Foo Fighters videos on Youtube. I chose these two because Monkey Wrench is a favourite of both The Girl and me, and the bridge in All My Life is so intense.
via @foofighters – “Missoula….we’re gonna put a hurtin’ on you tonight. Bring Advil.”
As I’ve mentioned, the Adams Center only holds 5500 people for a concert. They roll back the lower level of bleachers, so other than standing on floor there’s only one level of seating. Our seats were dead centre, facing the stage, row 10. I could almost read the labels on the sound board. The best part? The tickets were only $49. That, my friends, is a rare deal.
It took 30 minutes to prep the stage for the mighty Foo Fighters. We took the opportunity to go stand in the merch line and grab a beverage. We got back to our seats with 5 minutes to spare.
The first song was Bridge Burning from the new album. It was loud. Not as loud as Motörhead. But loud. And pristine. Up until now I’d have to say the best live sound I’ve ever heard was Judas Priest, but Foo Fighters really raised the bar. If you put on the Wasting Light CD and play it twice as loud as local bylaws will allow, that will give you a pretty good idea of the quality. It wasn’t boomy. It wasn’t hissy. It was perfect. And loud. I put my earplugs back in, but that actually detracted from the mix. It sounded better with no ear protection.
By the time the fourth song – My Hero – got started, every single person in the place was on their feet. Most stayed that way for the next 3 hours. That’s right…I said three hours. Grohl’s first between song patter of the show went something like this; “We don’t like playing for an hour and a half or two hours. How about if we see how you guys are doing after 2 1/2 hours?” It seemed like everybody thought that was a pretty good idea.
Foo Fighters are one of those bands who I kind of forget how many hits they’ve had over the years. Take a look at the set-list below. They played 19 songs during their set, and there were only two that I couldn’t sing along with. In fact, I couldn’t even name them. I seemed to be the only one. Guess I’ll have to listen to every Foo Fighters album over and over for the next three weeks until I figure it out.
It was right around this point that Dave ran out on the catwalk for the first time. He actually disappeared out of our view for a couple of minutes due to the previously mentioned 20 foot drop. And then something awesome happened…the little stage at the end of the catwalk ELEVATED! There was King Dave, about 20 feet away from us.
He ended up spending quite a bit of time out there. I didn’t shriek like a Bieber fan, but I came close. The guy behind me was yelling “DAVE! HEY DAVE! YO! UP HERE!” Normally, that guy gets on my nerves really quickly, but I was loving my life so intensely at that moment that nothing could ruin it. Besides, the guy was kind of amusing and he didn’t keep yelling for 10 minutes. He gave it a shot, got drowned out by 5000 people and a 100,000 watt PA, and gave up. No problem.
After Breakout, Dave decided to introduce the band. I laughed when he got to the keyboard player because he seemed like he didn’t know what to say. Then he came up with “Our piano player, Rami Jaffee. Without him, not as many Grammies…I guess”. All the other players got big cheers, but when he got to Taylor Hawkins the place erupted. Taylor got a 5 minute ovation, and Dave never even mentioned his name. All he did was point at him. This seemed to catch everybody in the band off-guard. Dave said “Maybe you should get a reality show or something so you can be famous.”
After the show, The Girl said “Dave Grohl is so lucky to have found Taylor. I can’t think of two people who belong in a band together more than those guys. They even look like they’re brothers.”
“How about Ben and James from Biffy Clyro? They’re identical twins.” I said.
“Touché, old fella.” she said.
Everything else aside, here’s what I’ll tell you about Taylor Hawkins; as a drummer, he is a machine…an absolutely amazing musician. Fun to watch. More fun to listen to. As a singer, he may even be better than Dave Grohl.
All The Girl wanted to hear was Monkey Wrench and she was going to be happy. I get that. It’s an awesome song. When they played it, we said “yay”. It turned into about a 10 minute long jam session, and just when I thought they weren’t going to get to the bridge (my favourite part of the song), the jam dwindled down to nothing and Dave shrieked it. A Capella. They finished the song fully on fire. Fantastic. Absolutely fantastic.
The next highlight was Lemmy coming back on stage to sing the song he and Dave did together in Probot, Shake Your Blood. It was a real treat to see these two guys who obviously are really good friends do this song. After it was over, Dave said “I love that guy! This is our last show with Motörhead. We have to play with a bunch of quiet bands next week.”
They closed out the set with All My Life. When they got to the bridge, they extended it by a few bars and they were so tight and so loud that I’m pretty sure my heartbeat changed and was fully synced with the band. Any loose nails in the building were duly hammered back into place.
After 2 hours, they finished their 19 song opening set. They had a cool little thing they did to encourage the crowd to make noise for the encore. I won’t tell you what it is, because it’s probably a standard thing they do and I don’t want to ruin it for you if you’re lucky enough to see them on this tour.
The encore ran from 11:25 – 12:15 and they played nine songs. NINE! It seemed somewhat improvised. They made some jokes and farted around and the cover of Breakdown in particular seemed completely un-planned. These guys are giving The Boss and James Brown a run for their money in the “hardest working band in the business” category. Including the encore, that was a three hour show (for those of you keeping track, the entire evening lasted over 5 hours). It never got boring, not even for a minute.
That was without a doubt the greatest rock and roll show I’ve ever seen. Worth every penny and every mile it took for us to get to Missoula.
All hail Foo Fighters.
9:20 – 11:20
Learn To Fly
Cold Day in the Sun
I’ll Stick Around
Let It Die
Shake Your Blood (with Lemmy)
This Is a Call
All My Life
Encore…11:25 PM – 12:15 AM
Long Road to Ruin (acoustic just Dave)
Best of You (acoustic just Dave)
Times Like These (started acoustic, finished loud)
Breakdown (Tom Petty cover)
Tie Your Mother Down (Queen cover…sung by Taylor)
Skin and Bones
New Way Home
PS…I sometimes get caught up in “The Cult of Dave Grohl”. He’s such a compelling and entertaining guy that I forget the most important thing about him. He is an absolutely kick-ass rock and roll musician. There are very few as good as him, and almost none better.
All along, all I’ve really wanted to be is a writer. So now I tell people that’s what I am, even though I haven’t earned a dime being a writer.
That being said, I’ll confess that once a day, every day, I wish I was still a musician. That was the one time in my life when I was cool.