Foo Fighters review – beloved rockers thunder back from trauma with thrilling intensity

Estimated read time 2 min read

Just over two years after the shattering and untimely death of drummer Taylor Hawkins left them facing trauma and turmoil, Foo Fighters deliver a two-and-a-half-hour-plus masterclass in how to put the show back on the road. “Do y’all love rock’n’roll music?” yells Dave Grohl as Monkey Wrench starts proceedings with a level of intensity they maintain all night. “In times like these you learn to live again,” he sings a few moments later, the song’s extended voice and guitar intro emphasising the lyric’s extra poignancy.

Onstage, the band’s togetherness and chemistry seems as strong as ever, possibly more so. Despite the grey skies and early downpours, the wet and windswept frontman puts everything into his vocals while stage right, rhythm guitarist Pat Smear – who first played with Grohl in Nirvana – still beams from ear to ear like he has the best job in the world. Before Aurora, their late bandmate’s favourite song, the singer reveals they still “tell Taylor Hawkins stories all day”.

The weather and wind occasionally affect the sound and make for dreadful conditions to see a band, but 55-year-old Grohl seems to have uncanny meteorological powers. “I made it fuckin’ stop,” he yells when the deluge ceases, to roars of laughter, and the showers indeed hold off. Meanwhile, a 24-song setlist brings hits and curveballs including the unreleased Unconditional. During the first ever solo acoustic performance of Under You, seemingly about Hawkins, Grohl looks momentarily overcome and can’t face the line: “This is how I’ll always picture you.”

Throughout, a subtle stream of melancholy is most evidenced in gentler songs such as a lovely Statues and a sublime, singalong My Hero, although All My Life, Walk and Best of You rage as hard as ever. Few drummers could step into Hawkins’ considerable boots in terms of energy and showmanship, but former Devo and Nine Inch Nails man Josh Freese does it with aplomb. There’s a lovely moment when Grohl introduces him, the crowd applaud his efforts and someone holds up a sign reading: “Thank you for saving our band.”

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