With the obscure plane ticket references and live countdown to an unknown event dominating the Foo Fighters’ social media for a while, excitement from all across the globe gathered as the timer slowly ticked to zero. Rumours of a Glastonbury announcement were rife, and what better way to announce it than with a super secret, invite only, live show at Cheese and Grain that was also broadcast live around the world.
“It’s been a long time!” frontman Dave Grohl roars to a desperately excited crowd. This isn’t the band’s first live broadcast, but it is clear from the start that it is one which will be remembered. Even through a slightly lagged video on Facebook, the effect this band has on its audience is clear to see. Launching straight into pop rock classic ‘Learn to Fly’, every single band member is on top form and bursting with an energy that only the Foos can produce. It’s all about the show for these guys, and they don’t disappoint.
The first 30 minutes are a thorough ride through the band’s greatest hits and a few newer singles thrown in for good measure. A notable inclusion is ‘Sean’, a song not yet played live from the ‘St Cecilia’ EP released in 2015. It’s a thundering track, with quick layered guitar and a fantastic drumming display by Taylor Hawkins. Despite having been quiet for over a year, the Foos are still as tight as ever.
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There is no slowing down however as Grohl helpfully points out, “we’ve got a lot of fucking songs we gotta play.” 22 years worth in fact. It’s nice to hear that Grohl’s signature scream hasn’t eroded after a break from performing, as is proven in a hard hitting rendition of ‘White Limo’ from 2011’s ‘Wasting Light’ album. The buzzing feedback of Grohl’s custom made Gibson sets up the following song ‘Arlandria’, after which he comments, “It feels so weird to stand up and do this!” referring of course to the infamous tumble he took off a stage in Sweden, and the aptly named ‘Break a Leg’ tour which followed. It’s good to see him back on top form.
Lead guitarist Chris Shiflett offers some ear piercing guitar playing through ‘Something from Nothing’ and it truly is a stand out moment. Of course he’s talented, and makes it seem so effortless- a sentiment the rest of the band follows in their individual ways. Grohl takes the time to introduce them all, mentioning everything from the ‘ripping wizardry’ of Chris Shiflett to bassist Nate Mendel’s dapper shirt. Pat Smear returns, talented and suave, as well as touring keyboard player Rami Jaffee who gets a special shout out. Yet, in typical Dave Grohl fashion, an outpouring of love is reserved especially for drummer Taylor Hawkins who is invited to sing ‘Cold Day in the Sun’ in order to show off his impressive 70s-esque vocals.
The band tease some snippets of brand new material through extended jams during ‘The Pretender’ and ‘This is a Call’, which hints at a new album in the future. However, as a special treat for the die-hard fans in the audience, they rip through a 90’s playlist consisting classics such as ‘Wattershed’, ‘For All the Cows’ and ‘Enough Space’. As songs that are rarely played live anymore, Grohl jokes that the audience are witnessing a practice session, but they nail each one and for fans, it’s pure indulgence.
As the saying goes, all good things must unfortunately come to an end and after over 2 hours and an impressive 24 song set list, the Foo Fighters end on ‘Everlong’. The familiar riff is as gorgeous as usual, and they end on a high. It was nothing short of an energising comeback for a band that is still bringing it after 22 years in the business. It wasn’t a perfect show, as no live performances are and one can only imagine it was far more incredible in person, rather than through a live broadcast. However, it was a delight to watch one of the world’s greatest rock bands having fun with the people who made them who they are today.
Foo Fighters are playing The Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury, Saturday 24th June 2017.