September 16 at the Sprint Center in Kansas City, Missouri, the Foos
brought the “Light”.
Text/Photos by Danny Phillips
Walking into the Sprint Center,
I did not know what to expect from Foo Fighters. Sure, they are rock giants.
Sure, they have hits out the ass. However, I had not seen them live since they
were touring behind The Colour and The Shape. For those of you keeping
score at home, that tour was their second, and it was fourteen years ago. How
had they changed in the years since? Was it for better or worse? Well, within
the first three songs the answer was revealed to the audience like a curtain
being drawn open: Foo Fighters have gotten much, much better.
Blowing out of the gate with
“Bridge Burning” and “Rope,” for the next three hours (yes, three hours) Dave
Grohl and his fellow Foos gave off enough energy to power a small village.
Leaning heavily on the new album,
Wasting Light, Grohl was in full Rock God mode. He mugged to the crowd,
did the Chuck Berry duck walk across the stage, rose from the stage with
acoustic guitar and in single spotlight, had a shredding contest between
himself and lead guitarist Chris Shiflett. Massive crowd sing-alongs ensued.
All this arena rock stuff wore on the young punk rocker in me a bit; I hated to
see one of my heroes playing to the rock star clichés but, at this point in his
career, Grohl is a full-fledged rock god. So the clichés are, sadly,
inevitable. In addition, when they broke out “White Limo” complete with video
of the Lord and Savior of Metal Lemmy Kilmister of Motorhead, the lovers of
heavier Foos material simultaneously dropped 15,000 loads and all was forgiven.
The band just would not let up.
At the two-hour mark, Dave said, “We play long ass shows, and I’m not ready to
go home.” No shit. They just kept playing…playing…and playing. Whether it was
“The Pretender,” “White Limo,” “Stacked Actors,” “Skin and Bones,” or “Monkey
Wrench”, which Grohl prefaced with “Next time you go see a rock band, tell them
to turn off their fucking computers. ‘Cause when a rock band turns off their
computers it sounds like this.” The band was at the top of its game, everything
clicked and with Grohl’s personality in full glory, there was not a bad seat in
Strangely, against my usual
preference, even the slower numbers of the night like the moving “I Should’ve
Known” or acoustic takes on “Best of You,” “Long Road to Ruin,” and “Times Like
These” worked for me. Sure, it was not a perfect show (I would have loved to
hear “Wattershed” and “Weenie Beenie” live again), but for the most part, I was
happy. Since first seeing him come out from behind the drums on the Foos debut
tour, I now see the progression into a rock legend. Dave, Pat, Taylor, Chris
and Nate seem at home with their place in the history books. Dave thanked the
crowd for being rowdy and a ton of fun. Taylor Hawkins’ drumming never gave
out. Pat Smear had an ever present Cheshire cat grin on his face. Chris
Shiflett played lead like a flame thrower. And Nate Mendel rocked the bass with
a calm power. After three hours of catalogue surfing, a great cover of “School’s
Out,” and the phenomenal closer “Everlong,” everyone seemed happy to be on hand
for this page in the Foo Fighters saga.
Learn to Fly
Cold Day in the Sun
I Should’ve Known
Skin and Bones
This is a Call
All My Life
Long Road to Ruin
Best of You
Times Like These
Breakdown (Tom Petty cover)
School’s Out (Alice Cooper cover)