Foo Fighters at US Airways Center, 10/16/11

Foo Fighters
US Airways Center
October 16, 2011

Last night I got my face melted off by one of the greatest acts in present-day rock 'n' roll. Everything about the band's show, from the guitar showdown to their two hour and 45 minute set, proved why the Foos deserve their place on top. The whole show was feverishly exciting.

A Foo Fighters show is a bit of a spectacle, but it's done all in good fun. Dave told the crowd that they would proceed to play as many songs as they could till they puked. "Let's try to get as close to three hours as we can get!" Dave proposed, and he kept his promise. At one point he claimed that this was the loudest audience on the whole tour. "For all the people that have seen this 70 fuckin' times, you know I don't say that shit!" he said.

It was evident that the fans were connecting with Dave on every song he sang. Likewise, the band certainly wasn't shy about letting everyone know how much fun they were having. Dave screamed as loud as he could at every opportunity he had to do so. He even utilized the catwalk right from the get go to work every section of the crowd.

The Foo Fighters opened with a furiously intense performance of "Bridge Burning." The rest of the show followed suit. The band poured out so much energy in every song that it was a mystery as to how they played for so long. Guitarist Chris Shiflett and Grohl's playful call-and-response guitar battle that took place from opposite ends of the catwalk was definitely a highlight of the show.

Right before the encore, Dave and drummer Taylor Hawkins were featured on a night vision camera from backstage and got the crowd excited over how many songs they would be playing in the encore. Once Dave came out to do a solo acoustic bit, he instigated a wave around the stadium and then reminded everyone that they were at a rock concert. He seemed to experience a momentary lapse in his voice during "Wheels," which he admitted as he prefaced "Best of You" by inviting everyone to help him sing, but that's expected when a guy sings for as long as Dave did. "Times Like These" was performed acoustic for the first half of the song, and then the rest of the band joined Dave for the second half for the continuation of a quality encore.

Hawkins was a wild beast on the drums. Pat [Smear, of the legendary Germs] may be a little weird, but man, can he play a guitar. Mendel held it down on the bass. Chris could really shred. Dave was a goofy motherfucker. He kept a playful rapport with the crowd, running all the way to the back of the sound booth to play for the fans in the back and even playing his guitar literally right in fans' faces. He blew kisses to the crowd and maintained a bit of a theatrical mood throughout the show, taking a break for a hilarious series of lavish band member introductions in the middle of the set. Plus he provided all of the head banging you would expect to see at a Foo Fighters show, thrashing his thick mop everywhere.

To every other band on earth: good luck impressing me with your live performance ever again because the Foo Fighters have set my concert standards a little higher. It was one hell of a rock show.

Critic's notebook:

Personal bias: I remember watching the "Learn to Fly" music video on MTV when I was nine years old and thinking it was fantastic, but I didn't really get into the Foos until I was someone played "Times Like These" for me at summer camp when I was 13. I've been a big fan ever since.

The crowd: Most of the crowd was made up of dudes around age 30. I saw a lot of parents there who took their kids to show, and to those parents I say that you are the best parents ever.

Overheard: "Do you think Dave loves Taylor because he kind of looks like Kurt?" and after Grohl announced he would try to play for as close to three hours as they could get: "Does he really think he can play till midnight?" -- Ed Masley (of our esteemed competition).

Random notebook dump: Not that I would ever doubt Grohl and the gang, but I was a little surprised that their show almost dragged into the wee hours of Monday morning. Kudos to those guys. In addition, my ears are still ringing nine hours after the show ended, but it was worth it.

Set list:
Bridge Burning
The Pretender
Learn to Fly
White Limo

Cold Day in the Sun
Stacked Actors
Nate & Dave's guitar battle
Monkey Wrench
Let it Die
These Days
This is a Call > Into the Flesh (Pink Floyd cover)
All My Life

Wheels (Dave solo acoustic)
Best of You (Dave solo acoustic)
Times Like These (half acoustic)
Dear Rosemary
Breakdown (Tom Petty cover)

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