Poised in front of a makeshift sidewalk scalping gallery chock full of those seeking the evening’s hot ticket, New York City’s Fillmore venue, a.k.a. Irving Plaza, rapidly filled up with fans — from old school heshers to elegant executives — all buzzing with anticipation for the Foo Fighters’ imminent, uncharacteristically intimate and sold out show last night (Sept. 20). Dave Grohl and Co., whom chose the venue’s uncharacteriscally small environs to test run their new tunes from Echoes, Silence, Patience and Grace, strolled out on the stage and saddled up, while Grohl, clad in a black button up and dark jeans, took center stage: “It’s going to be a long night,” he said, smiling amidst a deafening wall of hoots and hollers.
Diving straight into “The Pretender,” Echoes, Silence, Patience and Grace‘s streamlined and driving first single, Pat Smear, former Germs axeman, as well as an unofficial Nirvana guitarist who logged as the Foo Fighters’ original gunslinger, emerged barefoot to bolster the tune’s fluid, diving melodies. “Cheer Up, Boys,” Grohl’s ode to makeup caked emo rockers also culled from the new effort, followed. “Now, the purpose of this is to play a bunch of new shit,” Grohl explained, engaging in a little banter after ringing the last chord of “I’ll Stick Around.” “But we’re going to play old school shit, too.”
A bevy of oldies and standards (though “I’ll Stick Around” logged the only offering from the band’s self-titled debut) ensued; “Learn to Fly” united the crowd in pop rock glee; an acoustic rendition of “My Hero” tickled the throats of bros from floor to balcony; a solo version of “Everlong,” which later detonated into a full band force, evoked the band’s seminal album The Colour and the Shape; “Stacked Actors” saw Grohl bound the elevated terrace and dive into six-string shredding oblivion before evolving into a harmonica jam out. But “Marigold,” a twinkling ditty written before Nirvana’s demise, was one particular stand out for the ‘old school,’ inciting hollers from Tad t-shirt sporting dudes as a violinist illuminated the tune’s solo and Smear provided rhythm guitar fingerings.
But it was the outfit’s new material that demanded the spotlight; “You guys are guinea pigs for a lot of this shit,” confessed Grohl, pushing back his locks. The fresh cuts, though often paired with slightly inattentive crowd chatter, were classic Foo; slow strums evolving into kick ass rockers replete with meat-grinding solos and atomically timed, thunderous drumming. But the night’s closer, “Home,” saw Grohl in a new light: behind the piano. The memorable, standard key melodies paired well with his vocal weaves, and later, when the band briefly joined on the chiefly solo selection, fans — both ‘old school’ and new — united in solidarity: slack jawed.
We asked: In addition to dropping Echoes, Silence, Patience and Grace this year, the Foo Fighters also released a deluxe edition of The Colour and the Shape to celebrate the record’s 10th anniversary. Which song on this album, which many fans consider the band’s finest work, is your favorite and why?