Written by Fumo Verde
I liked the Foo Fighters when I first heard them, but didn’t know Dave Grohl, the drummer for Nirvana, was the leader. Grohl formed the Foo Fighters in the wake Nirvana’s tragic end, and since then the Foo Fighters have become one of those bands that have worked hard to silence critics and win over fans. Seeing this DVD will prove it.
Wembley is one of the largest stadiums in the Europe holding 90,000 seats, all under one roof. It is a football arena, home to England’s national football team, and it holds the main English domestic football finals. To play to such a crowd the roadies set up the stage at one end of the field with a runway extending from one end of the stadium, through the stage itself, and finishing at the other far end of the stadium. With this added stage area fans have a chance to see Grohl as he runs down the platform playing his guitar. For fans on the stadium’s floor this is a chance to get close to one of their favorite performers. If you haven’t seen the Foo Fighters live, like me, then this DVD will make you want to. I know I do.
The show opens with Grohl strolling down the runway, with house lights on, tuning up; the rest of the band comes on stage. The opening song is “The Pretender” as Grohl and the audience slowly and softly sing together, then with a howling shout from Grohl, the switch goes on and the crowd goes ballistic. “The Pretender” has the fuel to start the fire with guitar licks charging like Speed Racer. To keep the fans in that moment, the band goes into “Times Like These;” its distinct guitar strumming lead-in powering up the crowd even more, and Grohl takes off running down the runway stopping here and there to play a few chords for those in the area. Right here is where you can tell Grohl is having the time of his life and he wants everybody involved as he invites them all to sing along.
The next few tracks hold the super-conducted energy, and it blows my mind how athletic this band has to be, because every song is at mach speed. Every song considered “slow” for this band may bring down the tempo a little bit, but the passion holds the crowd on its feet. There are 18 tracks that play out like an emotional rollercoaster with songs like “My Hero,” “Skin and Bones,” and “Everlong,” another slower tempo song, but not the way they play it for this show. Grohl heads midway down the runway where a microphone is set up. He plays this song alone, almost; he does have some 86,000 backup singers. The crowd is in frenzy but under Grohl’s control. Then comes the hurricane: the drums roll, the band joins in, and we’re are back to mach one in the blink of an eye.
This show is fantastic but what makes it even better for me are the final two songs, both by Led Zeppelin: “Rock and Roll” and “Ramble On.” And here’s the kicker, Jimmy Page and John Paul Jones come out and play with the band. On “Rock and Roll” Grohl jumps on the drums and drummer Taylor Hawkins sings, while Page and Jones play their parts. For a Zeppelin freak like me, it was icing on the cake, and really good fucking icing. I said I like the Foo Fighters when I first heard them, but I never went out of my way to pick up their albums, now I will. Foo Fighters – Live at Wembley must have been an awesome show to be at because the DVD is unreal.