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- Foo Fighters »
“How the FUCK did this fucking band get here!?!” bellows Dave Grohl part way into tonight’s set. The question has not gone unpondered by us, especially as we struggle to keep our jaw firmly clamped following the deafening collective shriek that engulfs Wembley stadium when the band make their entrance a little after 8pm. It’s certainly not a query launched with any degree of spite, more a general sense of wonderment that the sticksmith in Nirvana** has ultimately transcended the success of the most iconic band of its generation.
Of course, the Foo Fighters have been performing to vast crowds in Britain for a number of years now, and Grohl recognises that, mentioning the various V and Reading events that his band have topped, not to mention a massive shindig at Hyde Park a couple of years ago. And, despite how easily and grandly the band handle their massive stage after years of practice, this show feels like true vindication. The name and pull of the newly-built grand-old stadium it seems, is as strong as ever.
Unfortunately, the age-old problems remain too; the first hour sees the traditional murky sound ensue as, regardless of how hard guitars are pounded on the likes of opener ‘The Pretender’ and ‘Learn To Fly’, the vast crowd and erring acoustics swallow any precision or clarity mercilessly. Of course, this usually matters little to the non-judgemental ear; stadium shows are about the experience and the crowd lap up every “come on!” and more commonly, “arrghhhh!” uttered by the frontman as if he was the first person to bellow those words from 50 feet high.
WATCH: Foo Fighters - ‘Rock And Roll’ with Led Zeppelin’s Jimmy Page and John Paul Jones
Eventually, the sound pulls through and the band continue to pulverise their way through enough hit singles to put Elvis to shame. The likes of ‘Break Out’ and ‘My Hero’ are greeted like pop jukebox classics and it’s the 75,000 present that help to make the event seem like a home-from-homecoming. It all comes to a head when, as night falls, the quartet burn through an ecstatic ‘Monkey Wrench’ and a lacerating ‘All My Life’ that sounds for that moment, like true hard rock nirvana. When Grohl pauses towards the end of set closer, ‘Best Of You’, and hearing it passionately bellowed back by the crowd, he seems completely overcome by emotion and gratitude and you feel the moment truly has eclipsed the man; you can almost see twenty years of graft, sweat and tears rushing through his head, at once exonerating and justifying. It’s hard not to be touched, and impossible to deny the moment’s magnificence. There is no man in rock, as they say, more deserving. Tonight, it’s inarguable.
Of course, during the encore, the Foos are joined by Led Zeppelin** pair Jimmy Page and John Paul Jones as Grohl and drummer Taylor Hawkins form a short lived supergroup to perform a pair of Zeppelin tracks. It’s a genuinely enthralling moment, but the true power of the night means that it can happily rest easy as a side-note to show. And that in itself is quite astonishing, but entirely fitting. The Foo Fighters have earned their tag as the biggest rock band in the world.
‘Times Like These’
‘No Way Back’
‘Cheer Up Boys, Your Make Up Is Running’
‘Learn To Fly’
‘This Is A Call’
‘Long Road To Ruin’
‘Skin And Bones’
‘Cold Day In The Sun’
‘Let It Die’
‘All My Life’
‘Rock And Roll’
‘Best Of You’_
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