Thursday, July 16, 2015

Live Review: Foo Fighters @ CitiField

It was a cold Saturday in November when myself, along with a couple thousand other Foo Fighters fans lined-up in front of CitiField in Queens, New York. We were not waiting to get Mets season tickets or to meet a player, we were waiting in line like the generations before us, to get tickets to a concert. When I grew up, you either called Ticketmaster or went to the venue and queued to get concert tickets. Now, with the internet and smart phones, it is in the palm of our hand but it also makes it easier for scalpers to get good seats and flip the ticket so they can make a buck. Most major touring bands have caught on to this and have found work arounds. Artists like Radiohead and Nine Inch Nails ask fans to present the credit card that was used to purchase the tickets at the venue. Some artists even issue special foil or watermarked tickets with the holders name on it. Foo Fighters opted to do it the old fashioned way. Just go to the venue the morning the tickets go on sale and "Beat the Bots," pick your seat and don't pay a service fee. It may seem absurd in this day and age to do something like that but for this band, it seems just right. Myself and other fans mingled and got to know each other and realized that a few thousand people can't be this crazy to do something like this. After waiting in line for four hours, I picked up two tickets for general admission, then it was the waiting game to play until July 16 would roll around.

The night finally came and it was worth the wait in every sense. A lot happened in the eight months since those tickets went on sale. For starters, the band released their latest record, Sonic Highways, they were nominated for four Emmy Awards for their docu-series, Sonic Highways. They were the final band to perform on Letterman. Oh, and Dave Grohl fell off a stage in Sweden and broke his leg.

Hear Our Essential Foo Fighters Playlist on Spotify! 

The tour has been renamed "The Broken Leg Tour" and with fears of the band having to cancel, Grohl devised a throne in which he could sit and play and let the show go on.

Just after 8:30, the band came on stage and began playing the opening chords to "Everlong," as a big black banner with the Foo Fighters "FF" logo covered the stage. Once Grohl would start his singing, the banner flew away and it was on with the show. Jumping right into "Monkey Wrench," Grohl said, "We are going to do this all night. We have a lot of fucking songs to play." It only got the crowd more hyped. This was the second of two sold-out concerts at CitiField and the band were determined to hit it out of the park.

Performing classics like "Learn to Fly," "The Pretender," and new songs like "Something From Nothing" and "Congregation," Grohl took time out to then discuss his accident on top of his throne -- which moves up and down the stage. As they showed images of what happened to him on screen, he thanked his medic in Sweden and then the band's road crew for all their help. It was then they jumped into a ballad version of "Big Me." It wouldn't be the only reworked classic from the band, as Chris Shiflett and Pat Smear backed Grohl up to perform ballad versions of "My Hero" and "Times Like These." It was then into the blood of Foo Fighters that had fans' heads spinning as they did classic rock covers like Queen and David Bowie's "Under Pressure," KISS' "Detroit Rock City," Thin Lizzy's "Jailbreak," and Alice Cooper's "School's Out." "We are a band that grew up on classic rock, so if you don't know these, we are not playing your bar mitzvah," Grohl joked. This was just the tip of the iceberg.

For nearly three hours the band flexed serious rock and roll muscle. While their leader may have been slightly handicapped, it didn't stop him from being the charismatic and fantastic front man he is. The beauty of them is that they are fans, just like us. Proving it when they brought out D.C. punk legends Bad Brains to perform "How Low Can a Punk Get" and "The Regulator." "I just played with my heroes. In a stadium!," Grohl shouted after a dream of his came true. Ending with "Best of You," the band took their triumphant final bows and got off stage. As the fans left the stadium, each and every single one that waited in line on that cold November day knows that Grohl would have waited with them if he could. What makes his rock and roll throne not as ostentatious or as Spinal Tap-esque as it may seem, is because he is the undisputed new King of Rock....and a fan.