I’ve become a bit leery of concerts at the big local arena. I’ve missed some great shows that have come through town because I didn’t want to be disappointed with nosebleed seats, bad sound, and really expensive merchandise. Over the years, I’ve just grown accustomed to the smaller, intimate venues for a more personal show.
Would one of the biggest rock bands in the land make me change my mind? On this night, the answer would be yes.
Before an eclectic crowd — from the pretentious drunk jocks to the soccer moms who dragged their husbands to the show — the Foo Fighters would bring their arsenal of radio rock gems and made sure you got your money’s worth. It was evident that Grohl and Co. would not hold anything back, going into the first single “The Pretender” off from their latest record, Echoes, Grace, Patience, Silence (Capitol) early on in the set.
Grohl made use of the large stage, running like a madman all over and making the large crowd feel right at home. He played with such youth-like vigor, you’d think you were watching a 15 year-old kid in his first punk band sans all the wrong notes. Going into radio staples like “Times Like These,” “Breakout,” and “Learn to Fly,” each song sounded fresh and energetic.
While Grohl himself brings plenty to the table, you can’t forget the rest of the band. Drummer Taylor Hawkins sounded crisp behind the skins, beating away without seeming flashy. They even brought along an old friend in former Foo Pat Smear. While I never got to see The Germs or Nirvana back in their heyday, it’s great to see Pat Smear on a stage.
With a catwalk in place that took up about three quarters of the arena floor, I was anxious to know would come next. With a stage descending down, the band took their spots for the acoustic portion of the show. Hearing a stripped down, yet powerful version of “My Hero” was great in itself. But listening to the thousands in attendance sing along so loudly was even better. It was also a great way to showcase the rest of their touring band, (percussionist Drew Hester, Jessy Greene on violins, and Rami Jaffee on piano).