The Foo Fighters don't exactly need help when it comes to satisfying arena-sized crowds, but that doesn't mean they won't take it anyway.
Last night at NYC's Madison Square Garden, Dave Grohl and the boys not only played past midnight -- a rarity given the venue's typical 11 p.m. curfew -- but during the encore, they brought out Joan Jett and Husker Du leader Bob Mould for rip-roaring covers of "Bad Reputation" and Tom Petty's "Breakdown," respectively.
Before all that, however, the band was doing fine on its own. F-bombs were flying from Grohl's mouth, shred-heavy solos coming from his fingers, and laps through the audience kept him running (via an extended stage that spanned the distance of general admission). It was an inspiring bit of frontman badassery -- a universal truth to those in attendance at the packed arena, which has recently undergone a makeover.
The Foos' 24-song set, which was preceded by openers Social Distortion and the Joy Formidable, kicked off around 9:30, led by "Bridge Burning" and a handful of other standouts off the band's latest, "Wasting Light." Grohl's standard "it's going to be a looooong night" line was met by hearty cheers, as was his "Guitar Hero" rant, in which Grohl urged parents to buy their kids "a real one [guitar]... they might write something like this ['Monkey Wrench']."
The most amusing Grohlism of the night didn't pop out of the frontman's mouth until the encore, as Grohl, perched alone atop a rising platform toward the back of the crowd, initiated "The Wave"... with his face. "I'm gonna end up on one of those 'Behind the Music specials, [saying], 'It was all good I started making ppl do the wave with my f*cking face. Then it all fell apart.'" But the crowd obliged, happily, as Grohl continued on with stripped-down renditions of "Wheels" and "Best of You." It's tough to conjure a real "Kumbaya" feeling in an arena the size of MSG, but from a rowdy "My Hero" (drummer Taylor Hawkins' finest moment of the night) to Grohl's acoustic sing-along of "Times Like These," the Foo Fighters achieved it with ease.
After his solo stint, Grohl rejoined the band -- with the addition of Bob Mould, who has made appearances throughout the band's tour -- for the Foos' recent collaboration with the former Husker Du head, titled "Dear Rosemary." They ripped through it, followed by a cover of Tom Petty's "Breakdown," honoring the leisurely jazz leanings of the original and amping it up just slightly. The rock, however, was just starting, as the band brought out another guest -- someone they had never played with. Joan Jett emerged and roared through "Bad Reputation" with the Foos as her backing band, topping even Grohl's frontman dominance.
As the Foo Fighters launched into the night's final song ("Everlong"), a fan threw a CD at Grohl. His response: "If you want me to listen to your f*cking band, don't throw your CD in my face. How are we supposed to go on after that?"
And yet, they did.