I was lucky enough this past weekend to see my favorite band – The Foo Fighters – play live again. I say lucky because when they play in the UK the tickets usually sell out very fast, and this was the case for their show at Wembley. Except I didn’t see them at Wembley. Dave Grohl famously fell off the stage and broke his leg during their tour and the band was forced to cancel the UK shows.
Determined to make it up to the fans, they rescheduled for later in the summer in Milton Keynes, which is an hour from Oxford. I originally thought the venue was a stadium, but actually it was a huge outdoor concert site, and almost had a festival feel to it with 65,000 screaming fans [click to enlarge the image].
We arrived just before the first band took the stage, and I was surprised at the number of people already there three hours before the headliners went on. It may have been a product of a sunny and mild late summer afternoon, or it may be because the undercard bands were good. I especially liked the openers, a duo from the UK called Royal Blood. I had heard a couple of their songs here on Radio 1 but didn’t know much until about a week before the concert. They really rock. The obvious comparisons are Queens of The Stone Age and the White Stripes, but I would stick with the former. Have a listen and see what you think.
After Royal Blood, a rock and roll legend took the stage, Iggy Pop. Yes, the 68 year old Iggy Pop was shirtless on stage running around and singing for at least an hour. I’m not a huge fan of his songs, but in the end I knew more than I thought, “I Wanna Be Your Dog” was probably the highlight for me.
When it came time for the Foo Fighters to take the stage, we all had bets as to which song they would open with. I had been following their setlists for the past month or so, and they almost always open with the same song. I’m happy to say that I was wrong on this occasion. They started out strong with All My Life and played for nearly 2.5 hours. It was like a greatest hits show with three songs from the new album. I knew all of the songs, which made me realize that I’ve been a fan of the band for 18 years! They played more songs off their first two albums that I expected, which was great, including the surprise “unrehearsed” Hey, Johnny Park! which was a highlight for me, along with White Limo.
Aside from the music, the other highlight for me has to be Dave Grohl’s throne. I mean, look at this thing.
The story goes that when he was in the hospital high on pain medication he drew up plans, and wanted to include “smoke and shooting lasers and shit like that”. I was impressed that he managed to rock from a chair, but couldn’t help but laugh out loud every time it moved from the back of the stage way out to the front, like some sort of mobility scooter.
Grohl was his gregarious self on stage, and the band sounded fantastic. And I’m happy that they got the order right and closed with their best song (Everlong) instead of opening with it.