FOO FIGHTERS 10/12/18, Kansas City

Live at the aptly named Sprint Center—because the band not only sprints nonstop, it gallops! (Photo credit: Brantley Gutierrez.)

By Danny R. Phillips

I saw it with my own two eyes this past Friday night in Kansas City; the transformation is now complete. Sprawling stadium hero guitar solos, a drum riser that raised twenty feet in the air for a drum solo from the superb Taylor Hawkins, Dave working the crowd like a rock god carnival barker on speed.  It’s true, it has come to fruition: Foo Fighters are my generation’s Led Zeppelin.  The band’s bombast and control of the stage rivals any of the giants of the 1970’s, kicking you in the face one minute, soothing you with a ballad the next.

Over the past 25 years, I have seen The Fighters of Foo go from a band born of grief at the loss of Dave Grohl’s band mate and friend Kurt Cobain, creating from the maelstrom a self-recorded album meant to be for only his friends, a record where Grohl played all the instruments (except for The Afghan Whigs Greg Dulli’s appearance with his guitar on the track “X-Static”), I’ve stayed with the band through good records and not so great ones, I’ve seen them go from 1,500 seat rooms to the 18,000 strong packed into The Sprint Center like so many sardines.  I’ve seen guitarists come, go and in the case of former Germs great Pat Smear, come back again, I’ve sat through hiatuses, rumors of break ups and numerous Grohl side projects as I waited patiently for more Foo Fighters.

I have witnessed the trading in of original drummer William Goldsmith for the nearly bionic Taylor Hawkins and the retirement of Smear for Franz Stahl, former member with Grohl in Scream. Through it all, I’ve stayed diligent in my resolve when it comes to Grohl and Company; every time I get the chance to see the spectacle of Foo, I’ve never left disappointed.  This night in October would be no different, in fact it would be one of the best performances (and longest, clocking in at just over 3 hours) I’ve had the pleasure to see.

Stacked at the start with three new tracks from the 2017 record Concrete and Gold “Sky is a Neighborhood,” “Run,” and “La Dee Da,” the Foos then tore through a career spanning set that included “Walk,” from Wasting Light “This is a Call,” “Monkeywrench,” “The Pretender,” “Learn to Fly,” Van Halen’s “Jump” to the tune of John Lennon’s “Imagine,” The Ramones’ “Blitzkrieg Bop” with Smear showing his punk rock guitar chops and Taylor Hawkins trading places with Dave behind the drums to provide startlingly well done Freddie Mercury lead vocals on the Queen classic “Under Pressure” with Dave returning to the drum throne where he will always be king, a treat even if it for just one song and jamming Metallica’s “Enter Sandman” with a seven year old kid on lead guitar, after which Dave gave the kid his guitar.  Each one of their albums were represented in the 25-song set, giving new and old fans alike a taste of what they wanted, sending everyone home happy.  Closing the show with a stirring rendition of “Everlong” from The Colour and the Shape.

Underneath all the trappings of the stadium rock show (the solos, illuminating the darkness of the Sprint Center with cell phones, the stories between songs, the banter), Foo Fighters are still a band that comes to rock, Dave’s nearly 50 year old voice screaming like a kid, never phoning it in, always giving the fans what they want, making sure to cover all the moments that give the concertgoer something to remember.  The shows are never boring, the audience never slighted.  This night, like many nights over the past two decades, gave me things I’ll remember and talk about for years to come.

Dave Grohl proved to me once again that he is the showman for a generation.  Standing tall above the rest, never running out of gas and always leaving you wanting more.  Two questions swim around my mind as I write this: will I ever realize my dream of interviewing Dave and when in the fuck will they play “Wattershed” live again? There’s always next time…

 

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