It’s odd to say that I didn’t have music around my whole life. I had only really started listening to music around the age of 13 when I picked up my guitar. My friend Jason, of the same age, started showing me all the bands he loved and grew up with. He showed me Led Zeppelin, Aerosmith, Black Sabbath, Maroon 5, and this band call the Foo Fighters. The band name intrigued me. What on earth was a “Foo Fighter”? Then Jason shows me this video of a long-haired Jesus man walking up to a mic and singing the opening lines to a song that would change it all for me “Keep you in the dark , you know they all pretend…” More than a decade from that day, 3 albums, 1 EP later, and I got to see what a “Foo Fighter” really was.
Feel It Come Alive When I See Your Ghost
The show started at 8:20 PM when the lights went down and Grohl took the stage along with the rest of the band. After a few welcoming screams and a loud guitar filling the air, they hit the ground running with “All My Life”. Hearing the entire crowd go absolutely nuts off the first song along was a precursor of the night to come. Out of All My Life, they broke into the first of what would be many jams. The band riffed for a while and then faded into “Learn To Fly”.
A jam or so later, Grohl greeted the crowd and then started playing “The Pretender”. Hearing the song that got me into the band was a treat, but hearing the jams after the song were over were even better. Throughout the entire show, it didn’t feel like a band playing on a stage, it felt like 6 adults with the heart of kids playing in their garage having the time of their life… except their garage was Madison Square Garden.
They broke into “The Sky Is a Neighborhood” followed by “Rope”. This song was particularly interesting to me seeing as how I’m a self proclaimed music nerd and knew that the song starts with a delay effect on the guitar that’s oddly timed. I was happy to see they kept to the original song and were able to nail down the timing of the delay, something that can be really tough to synchronize to.
Throughout the jam exiting “Rope” the drums began to rise, and Taylor Hawkins with it. The following 3 minutes would be some of the best live drumming I’d heard to date. Taylor’s subdivisions and absolutely monstrous energy on the kit is unmatched. He was playing on another level entirely. After the drum solo was over, an hour had passed. That’s right, they played 5 songs and a drum solo, and a full hour had passed.
There Goes My Hero, watch him as he goes
Post Drum Solo, the band sprinted through the next section of their songs. From “Sunday Rain” to “My Hero” followed by a two hits from their album Wasting Light, “These Days” and “Walk”. Haring the crowd sing every word and the fans singing every word was so surreal. I had never been to a show where a band had been around this long or this many hits. My Hero is from their sophomore album, The Colour and the Shape, literally 21 years old. “Walk” is from Wasting Light, an album that was release in 2011. Yet the crowd sang all 3 songs which just as much passion. That was a moment I’d never forget.
It was at this point in the set that Grohl stopped to interact with the crowd. Yeah, nothing more than a hello up until this point. They just locked in and sprinted through the first half of their setlist. He had mentioned the legends that had played MSG, the likes of Billy Joel, and then brought out Dave Koz, Billy Joel’s saxophone player, and a featured artist on the following song they’d play, “La Dee Da” off of Concrete and Gold. He blew me away with how he ripped the solo. Just sheer energy and adrenaline had to have inspired that performance. Grohl had also mentioned his daughter as apart of the choir and I thought that was super cool. They bantered back and forth for a minute and in that moment, he had shed his glorious rock start persona for one that that entire room could comprehend, a parent.
Can the drummer get some?
From here, the band was introduced for potentially a second time, and they broke into a cover medley of Imagine by John Lennon with the lyrics of Van Halen spliced on top of it. They seamlessly jumped into Blitzkrieg Bop by the Ramones and built the energy up a bit more. Taylor Hawkins took control of the stage and started doing familiar vocal runs. As he progressed through them, it reminded me of Freddie Mercury from Queen. In the moment that it clicked, he hopped off the the kit, grabbed the singer from The Struts, and did a great cover of Under Pressure with Grohl on drums . In the final stretch of this monstrous set that never felt like it’d finish, the band went through “Run”, “Monkey Wrench”, “Breakout”, “Dirty Water” and closed with “Best Of You”.
The show as a whole was brilliant. The flashing lights, the heavy hitting guitar and drums, the guests. The Foo Fighters really set the gold standard as to how a band should perform. The band was charismatic, the banter was genuinely funny and heartwarming and the songs sounded so close to the records it was great. There were no smoke and mirrors, just 6 guys on stage rocking out and having a blast.