Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Live Review - Foo Fighters @ Ed Sullivan Theater

20 years ago, Scream drummer Dave Grohl joined a local Seattle buzz band called Nirvana. 20 years ago this week, the band debuted a new song called “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” no one, including the band who realize the impact the song and the record that it was on, Nevermind would have on pop culture and music history. With that song and record, the band lamented themselves as one of the most important bands of the 90’s and are now one of the most important of all time. We all know the history of the band at this point, tragically this month in 1994 Kurt Cobain took his own life and left us with a lifetime of music to treasure and the “what if” factors if the band continued on. After Kurt’s death, Dave Grohl started Foo Fighters and are now easily the most respected rock and roll band on the planet. 20 years after Grohl debuted “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” with that Seattle buzz band, he is now releasing Foo Fighters seventh album, Wasting Light. What better way to celebrate the release of a new record – playing on one of TV and New York Cities most iconic stages – Ed Sullivan Theater.

As the invite only crowd shuffled in for a birthday bash David Letterman will never forget (it was Letterman’s birthday as well as his favorite band’s album release day), the sound of The Beatles was playing over the speakers. The sound and music of the band that made that stage infamous and the stage that made TV and variety shows infamous, Foo Fighters were up at bat to do what they do best – play loud, fast and heavy. Walking on stage at 9pm sharp, the band, dressed as The Beatles (even drummer Taylor Hawkins had his drum kit look like Ringo’s) on a reconfigured Letterman stage, they busted right into playing their latest record, Wasting Light. No hello’s, no introductions, Foo Fighters just let the music do the talking. Playing the brand new album from top to bottom, the Foo’s were showing off why they are so loved. As loud as they possibly could, even the lights around the set were shaking; they did not miss a beat. With a few technical glitches coming from guitarist Chris Shiflet, it did not slow the band down, in fact, no one seemed to notice but Shiflet himself as the band has Pat Smear playing his axe to support Grohl and Chris. After being a touring member of the band since 2006 (Smear was an original member of the band but left in 1997), Pat is back full time with the Foos and it just makes their energy and shows that more pulse pounding. It would not be until 51 minutes into the set where the band would actually say something to the crowd, “and that is our new record,” he said as soon they played the final note from Wasting Light.

The band broke out into their comedic banter and displayed their brilliant sense of humor and fun. Engaging the audience even more, they performed a full greatest hits set which included every radio hit from “Learn to Fly,” “One by One,” “Best of You” and David Letterman’s favorite song, “Everlong.: Even including deep cuts from drummer Taylor Hawkins singing “A Cold Day in the Sun” to riffing on Pantera’s “Walk,” to closing with “This is a Call,” Foo Fighters are the band and live rock and roll show every generation they have tapped into love and for their charm, charisma and of course music, they will have the longevity and drive that will keep them going for more generations.