Foo Fighters @ The Forum, Inglewood CA 10/14/11

Since It’s no longer possible to see Nirvana live, my buddy dbfield and I thought seeing The Foo Fighters might be the next best thing. Like Nirvana’s material, There’s an immediacy to the music of Foo Fighters that I still don’t fully understand. I don’t quite get it. I think it has more in common with punk music which I’ve never taken the time to appreciate. At my core, I’m a sucker for melody and musicianship, which isn’t to say that FF are not great musicians or don’t have an ear for good melodies.  They’re an important band with a wealth of strong material. The songs are muscular yet melodic, frantic at times but also frenetic. This particular gig was mostly an evening of blaring guitars (3 of them!) and unnerving, over the top shouting from Dave Grohl. Maybe it was the mix or the acoustics of The Forum, but damn it was a LOUD show, and not the good kind of loud. It was assaultive to the senses. So it wasn’t my fondest concert experience, but I still got to see one of the pillars of alternative rock, maybe even the flagship group of modern alt-rock.

Cage the Elephant was the primary opener for this gig, while Mariachi El Bronx provided more diverse offerings. I had little familiarity with CTE up to this point. “Shake Me Down” was being heavily rotated on AltNation and terrestrial modern rock radio. They even scored a guest spot on late night TV as well. Upon first listen, CTE wasn’t really my thing. Their sound was very raw, bluesy and loose. The vocals were nasally but with a rough, gravel like quality that suited their bluesy yet punkish music.  They reminded me of early Kings of Leon, but not so uptight and with a better sense of humor. Their set was merely “ok.” They couldn’t reproduce the fire of the studio originals. Something was lacking, and the set didn’t really take off until Dave Grohl stepped onto the state to fill in for their drummer, Jared Champion, who recently suffered a ruptured appendix. Singer Matthew Shultz stated that Dave would be filling in because their drummer “suffered an exploding appendix”, referring to their new group as “Cage the Foo Fighter.” It was at that point that the rest of the set took off, and I think Dave’s mighty delivery on skins helped to propel the group onstage. Now the bass drum truly thumped and the backbeat on the snare drum had greater presence and definition. There was  greater power behind each stroke that effectively cut through the buzz of Lincoln Parish’s guitar and Shultz’ abrasive vocals. It’s still cool to see a band like this tackling an arena, even though they weren’t necessarily my cup of tea. Songs performed tonight included “Shake me Down,” “No Rest For the Wicked,” “Aberdeen,” “Back Against the Wall,” and “Sabertooth Tiger.”

Foo Fighter’s set began to riotous applause. It’s quite a sight to see 17,000 people go crazy for a bunch of ordinary guys belting out songs about everyday life. Aside from the sound quality, there was still plenty to appreciate including the length of the show. The band gave their fans a generous helping of songs, clocking in at more than 2.5 hours. Dave Grohl is a surprisingly great frontman, an entertaining drummer and a frantic guitarist. Dave admitted that he approaches the guitar like he approaches the drums, rhythmic and percussive which was cool to me, I had never thought of the guitar in that way – and it truly defines the Foo Fighters’ guitar style. Dave was super talkative and had a great sense of humor onstage. What I found the most interesting was his personal experience jamming with Prince. Grohl said “Prince is a frickin genius and he’s probably the greatest musician I’ve ever met in my life.” I’m very glad I was able to afford this ticket/trip out to LA. Now if only Pearl Jam will tour soon.

1. Bridge Burning
2. Rope
3. The Pretender
4. My Hero
5. Learn to Fly
6. White Limo
7. Arlandria
8. Breakout
9. Cold Day in the Sun
10. Stacked Actors
11. Walk
12. Monkey Wrench
13. I Should Have Known
14. These Days
15. This is a Call
16. In the Flesh? (Pink Floyd cover)
17. All My Life
_________________________________
18. Long Road to Ruin (Acoustic)
19. Best of You (Acoustic)
20. Times Like These
21. Miss The Misery (with Fee Waybill)
22. Dear Rosemary
23. Breakdown (Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers cover)
24. Everlong

We got a rockin Pink Floyd cover, as well as an astonishingly faithful rendition of Tom Petty’s Breakdown. Fee Waybill of The Tubes also came out for a duet on Miss the Misery. Lots of surprises this night.

Worst moment: Ear rupturing volume.

Best moment: acoustic versions of Best of You and Times Like These that really got through to me. They were tender, the arena was super quiet and I couldn’t help but smile.

The band had so much fun this night. And it was cool to see Pat Smear onstage as well. I think my appreciation for FF is deepening, especially after hearing Wasting Light and seeing the Grammy win. Image

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Posted on October 2, 2012, in Cage the Elephant, Concerts: 2005-2011, Foo Fighters and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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