“Ladies and gentlemen, do you love rock ‘n’ roll? Chris, let’s give them some rock ‘n’ roll!” shouts Dave Grohl just before the crowd goes wild.
Rock ‘n’ roll – loud, head-banging, fist-pumping-the-air rock ‘n’ roll – is exactly what Dave Grohl and the Foo Fighters gave the jam-packed audience at Merriweather Post Pavilion on Friday, July 6. That, and Grohl’s promise that when he comes to his hometown area (Springfield, Virginia to be more specific), he must give the best rock show ever. With three hours of the band’s best hits, Grohl’s anecdotes of growing up in the area and the lead singer shot-gunning a beer with an audience member, I’d say the band absolutely delivered.
Foo Fighters’ Merriweather performance was the first stop on their 2018 U.S. tour for their latest record Concrete and Gold, released last September. The show also marked their first gig in the DMV since playing The Anthem’s grand opening last October. The band’s venue-opening performance was an incredible opportunity to see the band in a more intimate setting, but their stadium-sized sound and rambunctious energy seemed better suited that night for a classic summer venue like Merriweather.
Crowd favorites like “All My Life” and “The Pretender” set the tone for the show with the audience of mostly millennials who grew up listening to the Foos, shouting the lyrics back at Grohl and punching their hands into the air. Six songs and an hour later, Grohl offered an exuberant hello and joked about taking so long to welcome attendees to the show.
“It’s going to be a long night and I need to get worked up,” he added, saying, “Tonight I feel like we should play a song from every record.”
True to his word, songs from all nine of the band’s albums were on the setlist, including tracks like “Learn to Fly” and “Times Like These” from their third and fourth albums (respectively) that were recorded in Grohl’s basement when he lived in NoVA.
Halfway through the show, Grohl introduced the rest of the band with each member playing a solo and/or cover song. Guitarist Chris Shiflett followed his solo with a cover of Alice Cooper’s “Under My Wheels” that had him singing vocals as the band joined in. Up next was bassist Nate Mendel, who played a verse of Queen’s “Another One Bites the Dust,” followed by guitarist Pat Smear joined by the band for The Ramones’ “Blitzkrieg Bop” and finally, keyboardist Rami Jaffee playing a quick tune.
Wrapping the introductions up with an epic cover of Queen and David Bowie’s “ Under Pressure,” Drummer Taylor Hawkins was the last to be introduced. He was joined on vocals by opening act The Struts lead singer Luke Spiller as Grohl took over on drums.
Other highlights from the night included a giant accordion-like platform that raised Hawkins into the air as he shredded through a solo. Or how the crowd went wild when Grohl mentioned listening to WAVA and DC101 when he was a kid in Virginia. A true stand-out moment, however, was when Grohl shot-gunned a beer with a fan onstage for her birthday, after her sign with that exact request caught the singer’s eye.
Whether Grohl is shot-gunning a beer with a fan, wiggling his butt at the audience and talking with a valley girl accent or the guys are messing around between songs, you can’t help notice the genuine friendships among the band. They could easily just be your local neighborhood dads who get together on Tuesdays to play covers of their favorite rock songs. It’s that authenticity and lively energy the Foo Fighters give off that makes them so fun to watch.
The band closed the show with the ever popular “Everlong” and I couldn’t help pondering the lyrics afterwards. “And I wonder/When I sing along with you/If everything could ever feel this real forever/If anything could ever be this good again.” Every time I see the Foos, I’m reminded it can.
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