Review of The Foo Fighters, 7/6/2015
Susquehanna Bank Center - 7/6/2015
Before I really get started, a note about the photos. I was very far away, up in the lawn.
But I have a friend who was much closer and got some great shots.
So I reached out to him for permission to use his photos for the course of this article.
Thank you to Rob Silvers. Photos, used by permission. Rob is himself, a music superfan in general. And also probably the hardest working local musician you're bound to find. Support his live music.
I'm going to guess that if you're reading this you already know who the Foo Fighters are. But for those who haven't been listening to the radio, or much of anything else for the last 20 years... The Foo Fighters are essentially the outcome of Dave Grohl having way too many ideas and way too much awesome to spend his life being a hired drummer for someone else's band. Plus he did not want to be known as a solo artist riding the coat tails of the band that got him famous to start with. He wanted to do his music, and he wanted to do it as a band. Even though he is the primary driving force behind the whole thing, it IS a band in the truest sense of the term.
We bought tickets for this show way back in November. Christmas presents for the kids. So we'd been waiting for a LONG time. Needless to say we were a little scared when Mr. Grohl fell off the stage in Sweden and broke his leg! As long as I can remember, I don't think I've seen a performer persevere to ensure the show completed to the extent that he did. He finished the song. Then he got his leg all braced up, had a guy holding it in place, and finished the show.
After that, he had to cancel the rest of the shows in Europe. That was a bummer for the fans there. We were really thinking they may have to cancel, or at least postpone, the American tour. But they didn't.
He performed the entire show from a throne.
Grohl made no apologies for this. He essentially said, "There was no way I was gonna sit around and park this tour. We will figure out a way." And so they did. If you don't admire that sort of tenacity and dedication, there must be something wrong with you.
On to the show
The opening act was Royal Blood. A two-piece band from England. Yes. A two piece. Bass player/singer, and a drummer. Now, if you're like me, and hadn't heard anything of them, except what is on the radio, you would never have guessed that in a million years. Because they sound like at least 4 people. I'm not sure what sort of effects the bass player is using (because I've done zero research), but his sound is big enough to cover the entire spectrum of guitar and bass all at once.
In short, they sounded excellent. The only problem I had with their set is the surprising lack of additional members. There is essentially no movement on the stage for most of the songs. How could there be? It didn't help that they came on while the sun was still up. So for the first 4 songs you couldn't see ANY movement on the stage at all. But if you can set that aside, they sounded awesome!
I liked them well enough... They've got a good raw sound and are extremely tight.
My review for them stays short because, their set was short. It was typical of an opening act. I sorta feel like they got thrown on early to everyone still walking in. These guys are brand new. They have a bright future. For now... I'm sure they are thrilled to be opening this tour!
Then The Foo Fighters Came On
I feel like I could go on about this for entirely too long. But I know you've all got lives you probably want to get back to. So, I'll try to distill my thoughts down to the most important...
Opening song, Everlong. Good choice as it might be their most well known song. I will pause here for a personal note. I don't actually own a single Foo Fighters album. But I knew pretty much every single song they played. 20 years of good radio exposure will do that for a band. Having said that, the one thing I like most about seeing live music is experiencing the songs as the band intended them to be heard. Live is a complete departure from the studio. So all of the songs, whether I knew them or not, were sort of new me.
One thing that stood out apparent from the beginning. The overall sound of the show was spectacular! Too many shows try too hard to be too loud. These guys didn't do that. You could actually understand every note from every instrument. That's really saying something. Especially in an amphitheater that is not exactly known for the best sound quality.
Throughout the course of the set, Grohl made it a point to quiet it down, and speak to the crowd. We got to hear the first-person tale of the Sweden incident. There was fun interaction with the others in the band. We got to hear some unique versions of all of their songs. That is, some songs were played lighter or with different arrangements, and many were extended with some nice improv jamming. It's always nice to see a band do that, and NOT overdo it. My Hero stands out in this respect. That was the part of the show where Grohl gimped out to the front of the stage on crutches and had the other 2 guitar players go acoustic.
Having not seen them before, I'm not sure how much emphasis Grohl normally puts on his drummer. Taylor Hawkins, make no mistake, is a great drummer. He'd kinda have to be. And he got some extra spotlight during the parts of the show that Grohl himself would likely normally sit in for a couple of songs. He even got some vocals in. This is where I mention that they did a couple of covers, including a totally killer rendition of Queen's Under Pressure, with Hawkins and Grohl sharing the vocal parts. Of all the covers they did, that one really stood out!
I kinda wish that I could have seen this band for my first time without the whole broken leg thing. But on the other hand, I do not think, even for a moment, that the show was in any way diminished by Dave's inability to jump around and possibly fall off the stage (again). In fact, he worked it into the show in such a way that it lended to the entertainment of the whole thing. It's clear that he thinks it's ridiculous. But it's also clear that he loves his job. So for him, the thought of sidelining the entire band, disappointing their fans, and sitting in his living room watching TV, was not an option.
Kick ass show, gentlemen. A+. Would watch again.