Paul Kerr sees Dave Grohl and company treat Adelaide to a lot of their back catalogue...
“Do you want to Rock ‘N Roll motherfuckers?” This is just one of many questions posed to the Adelaide crowd by Dave Grohl during the almost 3 hour set on Tuesday night. The Foo Fighters were back to rock at Adelaide’s Coopers Stadium.
I’m here in Adelaide tonight because of my wife, Tracey. The Foo Fighters are one of the few bands that we will go and see together. As we were going to be away when they were heading to Sydney it looked like it wasn’t going to happen this time. However we found tickets to the Coopers Stadium gig and the rest is history now. So I am lucky that she supports me in all this.
Foo Fighters gigs are certainly a major production now, with a light and stage show that would rival AC/DC or even Iron Maiden in its immensity. Tonight is no different. Opening for the Fooies were Amyl and The Sniffers, who I am told made a good impression on the building crowd but they are over before I’ve arrived.
I’m there at 6.30 in time to catch Weezer perform a multitude of their hits. With the sun still large in the sky, the quartet from Los Angeles have the largish crowd suitably impressed. The crowd sings along with a number of rocking hits such as Hash Pipe, Beverly Hills, Buddy Holly and crowd favourite, Island in the Sun.
The stadium is quite packed in the standing areas with most of the ground covered and well populated around the stands, with only some seating towards the back not full. Despite this, we are able to move up the front and near the runway extension once Weezer is finished. The crowd is really good natured, very polite and somewhat different to what I’ve experienced at other big stadium gigs. 8.00PM hits and the lights that were kicking in, now go dim and the crowd erupts as Grohl runs out manically strumming and screams “Are you fucking ready?”
Grohl’s ferocious intensity charges the atmosphere and the excited crowd. His energy is amazing as he runs around the stage, constant grin adorning his face, and continues to do so, all the way throughout the whole 3 hour performance. The crowds’ energy also doesn’t dim throughout as a result, bouncing around to the heavier tracks and singing along as one.
Opening up with Run off the new album, Concrete and Gold, the band is straight into the groove. Following hot on the heels are hits such as All My Life, Learn to Fly, and The Pretender. This has the crowd fired up even more if possible and they are constantly in motion now. Sky is a Neighbourhood is up next with a trio of backing singers, before we get an extended jam session between Grohl and drummer, Taylor Hawkins in the solo of Rope. The grins showing on both their faces, as they duel back and forth, leaves the crowd in no doubt that they truly love this shit. A riser is positioned underneath Hawkins drum kit and proceeds to raise him about 3-4 metres above the stage drum soloing all the way up. He is up there to showcase his talents drumming and also singing Sunday Rain.
Foo Fighters concerts are heavily interactive, Grohl is a charismatic front man and likes to tell a tale or two. One tale tonight being he’s been told Adelaide is the heavy metal capital of Australia. The crowd is happy to play along are then told to sing along (as if they haven’t been already) to My Hero. During My Hero, Grohl runs down the 50 metre runway to ensure the people up the back of the stadium are included. This part of the crowd were made the pun of some dial up internet jokes (that’s why they got the back seats) and being so far away they existed in another ecosystem.
The hits just keep on coming along with extended solos and further jamming. These Days, Walk, Let it Die, White Limo, Arlandria, Breakout (complete with phone lighting of the whole stadium) are delivered in fine style before newer songs Dirty Water and Arrows reintroduce the trio of backing singers.
The rest of the band are no slouches in their playing and are in fine form. They are having just as much fun as Grohl and Hawkins up on stage. Each of them are introduced, playing a conglomerate of covers with a few of the other band members showing off their vocal skills. Chris Shiflett shows off his guitar and vocal chops with a great cover of Alice Cooper’s Under My Wheels. Nate Mendel does a little Another One Bites The Dust bass line before we get a taste of what Hawkins and he play around with backstage. Pat Smear gives us smashing punk rock number and keyboardist, Rami Jafee gives us a guitar sounding solo.
Hawkins and Grohl swap places to cover Queen and David Bowie’s Under Pressure and the crowd absolutely eats it up. Grohl’s drumming reminded everyone he was a major drummer in another life with Nirvana. Watching his antics banging on the skins on the big screen reminded me of a skit of him and Animal off The Muppets. The way he was throwing his head around and grinning like a maniac looked like he was channelling Animal.
Monkey Wrench and Best of You finish off the main set and the band leave the stage. The crowd starts chanting for an encore before a well-known skit of Grohl and Hawkins backstage being brought up on the video screen. They are getting the crowd revved up by asking them how many songs to deliver as an encore. Grohl suggests one song only, and turns to confirm with Hawkins. When he faces back toward the camera, Hawkins cheekily suggests two to the crowd’s delight. This goes on until we have a 2, 3, 4 – ok 5 song encore. The crowd cheers louder and louder as extra songs keep getting added.
Grohl comes back out with his acoustic guitar and heads back down the runway. We are treated to the instrumental, The Ballad of the Beaconsfield Miners that was inspired by the events of the trapped miners who when first contacted asked for water and a iPod with Foo Fighters on it. A cover of The Beatles Blackbird, one of Grohl’s favourite songs, is delivered before he kicks off an instrumental Times Like These. Halfway through, with the crowd singing along, he walks back up the runway to the loud crash of the full band reappearing and finishing off the song. This is a Call gives way to the band saying they will be back. Instead of saying goodbye, they play Everlong.
Three hours have just flown and we’ve been thoroughly entertained. Ears ringing, the crowd leaves happily having witnessed one of the biggest, loudest bands in the world, at the top of their game. As we’re travelling back to the hotel, the Uber driver tells me that the whole city could hear the concert. Seems only fitting for the purported heavy metal capital of Australia (Ask Dave…).
The answer to Dave’s question at the start, by the way, was a resounding YES!
Foo Fighters Australian dates to come:
Brisbane 25 January
Sydney 27 January
Melbourne 30 January