Fresh off a scheduled benefit show with a strange bill set to include Jack Johnson and Asher Roth, the Foo Fighters took center stage last night at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina. The Dave Grohl-led rockers weren’t alone: James Taylor, Mary J. Blige, and Marc Anthony also performed. But the Foos were the headliners of the night’s musical lineup — and they generated the most glowing rock criticism from the political pundit class.
“It’s an honor to be here,” Grohl said at the top of the band’s set. “I think this song makes perfect sense here tonight.” With that, the Foos kicked off a literally tear-inducing acoustic rendition of 1998’s “My Hero” — keep an eye on the audience reaction shots for the open weeping. Next up was a similarly tender performance of “Walk,” the standout from last year’s Wasting Light that our own Mikael Wood perfectly described as “surging arena-emo.”
While Grohl and the fired-up Democrats were learning to walk and/or talk again, TV’s political talking heads were learning to exercise their little-used rock-criticism muscles. “Wow, Foo Fighters,” CNN’s Wolf Blitzer enthused after the set, as quoted by the Cleveland Plain Dealer. “Doesn’t get any better than that.” Former Newsweek editor Howard Fineman tweeted, I like ‘em. Some of best live music I’ve heard at a convention.” Democratic strategist Paul Begala mockingly contrasted the night’s bill, which also included post-convention sets by “Pit Bull” and Scissor Sisters, with the Republican convention’s musical lineup: “Mary J. Blige, Foo Fighters at #DNC2012 — later Pit Bull, Scissor Sisters at Priorities USA Action event. R’s had…umm, Hank Williams Jr.” Where’s Alec Baldwin when you need him?
And yet not all of the political commentariat’s verdicts on the Foos were so positive. While the video below is via PBS, liberal-leaning Slate columnist Matt Yglesias pointed out that public TV is not the crunchy, rock-loving leftie oasis its Republican foes might fear. He tweeted: “PBS, outrageously, is airing a canned Judy Woodruff segment rather than showing the Foo Fighters.” We were saying Boo-urns. (Or were we saying Bruuuuuuuce?)