FOO FIGHTERS AT PEPSI CENTER | 10/9/11
"You guys ready for a long fucking rock show tonight?" Foo Fighters frontman Dave asked the Pepsi Center crowd early in Sunday night's set. "You ready for that shit? Foo Fighters don't fuck around. We don't fuck around. We don't play those eensy-weensy one-hour-and-forty-five-minute shows. We don't do that shit. We got a lot of fucking songs, and we're going to play a lot of fucking songs tonight. I don't know what bands you see, but if they don't play for two and a half fucking hours, I don't fucking like them, you know what I'm saying? I'm not going to walk off the stage until I feel like I'm going to fucking puke. Just so you know."
With that, Grohl and company delivered on his promise, and considering how much running around and headbanging Grohl was doing, it's kind of surprising he didn't throw up. The guy's as frenetic a frontman as they come. And while he was Nirvana's drummer, trying to imagine him playing drums now just doesn't seem fitting. It's a completely different dynamic. The dude's a full-fledged rock star now, and it just seems right for him to have a guitar strapped on, fronting the Foo Fighters.
There were times throughout the night where Grohl was the obvious focal point, especially when he would play and sing on an extended section in front of the stage and it felt like he was almost disconnected from the rest of the band. Sure, the other guys iwere playing their asses off, too, but it was hard not to look at the super-energetic frontman when he's screaming his fucking balls off -- which he said he's been doing for about twenty years during "Breakout." While "Bridge Burning" and "Rope," both from the band's latest effort, Wasting Light, got the crowd warmed up early in the set, the Fighters cranked things up a notch with muscular takes on "The Pretender" and "My Hero." For the most part, the players kept the energy surging throughout the set, sometimes stretching out on songs and slowing them down and then ramping them back up, as they did on "Stacked Actor."
About midway through the show, Grohl asked the crowd who had seen the Foo Fighters before and who hadn't seem them before. Judging from the crowd reaction, Grohl said it was about half and half and said they'd played places where six people would have already seen them. "It's all good, because we used to suck and now we fucking tear ass," he said.
Indeed. These guys have come a ways from their 1995 self-titled debut and showed everyone at the Pepsi Center that they obviously know a few things about "tearing ass." Hell, they've mastered the art of the rock show. While there were some cool visuals on twelve screens above the stage and a solid light show, the band could have essentially done away with that and it still would have been one of the ultimate rock shows to come through in recent years. "Monkey Wrench," "This Is a Call" and "Walk" were all energetic as hell, but "These Days" was one of the night's many highlights.
"It's my favorite song I ever wrote in my whole fucking entire life," Grohl said of "These Days." "I wrote this song in a minute and a half. I was sitting upstairs in my fucking house, and I started playing this fucking riff and I started singing the fucking lyrics and I thought, 'Holy shit, I think I just wrote the song I've been trying to write for twenty fucking years.'"
Review continues on the next page with set list. A few songs later, the band launched into a buoyant take on Pink Floyd's "In the Flesh" with drummer Taylor Hawkins handling vocals before closing out the set with the vigorous "All My Life." For the encore, Grohl, with his acoustic guitar strapped on, appeared on a small stage on the other side of the floor and went through solo versions of "Long Road to Run" and "Best of You" with the house lights up for most of the two songs. The lights went down again as Grohl started "Times Like These" on acoustic, and right after the rest of the band kicked in, he ran down the stairs of the stage, traded his acoustic guitar for an electric, and ran down an aisle in the middle of the floor and back onto the main stage. After running though a fairly faithful take on Tom Petty's "Breakdown" and before ending the night with a beefy rendition of the hit "Everlong," Grohl said, "I got a plan. We'll go back home and make another record and come back and play for three and a half hours. As long as you keep coming back, I will, too."
Personal Bias: The Foo Fighters know how to put on one hell of a rock show. By the Way: Mariachi El Bronx and Cage the Elephant both opened the night with solid sets, but were completely overshadowed by the Foo Fighters' marathon show. Random Detail: Grohl dedicated "This Is a Call" to a gal in the front row who has seen the band 46 times.
Foo Fighters Pepsi Center - 10/9/11 Denver, CO
Bridge Burning Rope The Pretender My Hero Learn to Fly White Limo Arlandria Breakout Cold Day in the Sun Stacked Actors Walk Monkey Wrench Let It Die These Days Skin and Bones This Is a Call In the Flesh (Pink Floyd) All My Life
Long Road to Run Best of You Times Like These Dear Rosemary Breakdown (Tom Petty) Everlong
Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.