“I hopped out the car in Oklahoma City with a dream and my combat boots.” Even though I just quoted Miley Cyrus in a rock concert article, (fitting, right?) the dream I’m referring to is seeing one of my favorite bands, the Foo Fighters, in concert. After years of waiting, this was a dream I would fulfill the night of September 29, 2015, at the Chesapeake Energy Arena.
Starting off the night was blues-rock Austin based artist, Gary Clark Jr. Wearing his fedora with a white scarf hanging out of his back pocket, Clark nonchalantly strolled onto the stage with his humble sized back up band, as if he was playing at an intimate club instead of a packed arena. This attitude was projected to the crowd through his first song, “Bright Lights,” leaving thousands of people calmly bobbing their heads to the rhythm. Clark’s smooth voice coincides seamlessly with his rich guitar, with me being able to say that he’s one of the most talented guitarists I’ve seen live. That combination not only put me into a trance, but made my heart swoon for Clark, especially during the song, “Our Love.” During this song, Clark proved to have the rare gift of being able to create the illusion that he was singing only to me in an arena full of thousands. To change the relaxed mood, or, in the words of Clark, “Enough of this sappy shit,” he followed with the tune “Things Are Changing.” Clark closed his set with a song that fit perfectly for a concert, stating the reason most of us were probably attending with “The Healing.” It states, “Cause when this world upsets me, this music sets me free”. After he departed from the stage, I almost forgot my original purpose for buying the ticket.
As the eager crowd waited in anticipation, a ceiling-to-floor sized banner with the Foo Fighters logo was lowered to cover the stage, making the crowd even more anxious. When the lights began to dim, Dave Grohl’s spotless scream echoed through the arena from behind the banner, teasing the crowd for what was about to come. This continued for about a minute in a half, until finally, the banner dropped from all three sides of the stage, revealing what we had all been waiting for. The first thing that caught my eye was Dave Grohl, with his broken leg, perched in what I will refer to as his “throne:” a moving plush seat with several moving lights, numerous guitar necks sticking out, and to top it off, a large Foo Fighters logo parallel to his back. This combined to create a “throne” that could only be fit for King Grohl, proving that he would use having a broken leg as an advantage rather then a limitation. The Foo Fighters, unlike some other bands, didn’t hesitate for a moment playing the old hits, opening up with the iconic “Everlong.”
A couple of the bands earliest hits followed, leading to the tempo slowing down with “Big Me” – an underrated song from the bands first album. This served as a tribute to the road crew, with Grohl directing the crowd to light the arena up with their phones. After honoring the crew, Grohl continued by introducing each of the band members. This wasn’t your average introduction though; instead, each band member was given the chance to showcase their instrumental talent, and even vocal talent in drummer Taylor Hawkins case, by covering songs ranging anywhere from Queen to Rush to Van Halen.
As Grohl stated during the concert, he is a “man of the people,” ensuring that the audience would leave hearing a little bit of everything the Foos have to offer. This gesture was appreciated since the Foo Fighters fan base transcends from fifteen-year-olds to fifty-year-olds, as proven by looking at everyone seated around me. At one point, Grohl even went as far as taking an audience vote, with the fans favoring to hear a loud song out of the three options. This lead to the performance of one of the heaviest Foo Fighters songs, “White Limo” – a song that I didn’t expect, but was beyond grateful to hear. This was due to the fact that I’m convinced that every time Dave Grohl screams, an angel gets its wings. Later, Gary Clark Jr. joined forces with the Foo Fighters to play guitar on a song that Clark had been featured on in Sonic Highways, “What Did I Do?/ God as My Witness.” This performance was a highlight of the night, with Grohl stating it best by saying, “You’re making me teary eyed, Gary.” On behalf of the audience, the feeling was mutual.
Having eight albums worth of material to perform, the Foo Fighters didn’t hurry or half-ass a single song. Instead, they provided an extended version of each, adding grandiose guitar solos, followed by additional repetitions of the choruses as the crowd repeated every lyric back. Grohl also proved to be a straightforward front man, stating early on that they wouldn’t leave the stage and come back for an encore, rather, they would perform as long as the crowd wanted them to. If the music wasn’t already enough to make an enjoyable show, Grohl’s relatable and humorous personality was the cherry on top, shining through and between every song.
Since all good things must come to an end, after a glorious two-and-a-half hours, the Foo Fighters closed the show with “Best of You” – a song that has become notorious with the Foos as an arena anthem, as the whole crowd from nose bleed seats to standing room, united in harmony. When the song concluded, Grohl rose from his “throne” to walk, with crutches in hand, along with the rest of the band, to the end of the catwalk, biding their final farewells to the audience. I left the arena with two things: hearing loss and having a dream fulfilled beyond my wildest expectations.