"Tomorrow night we gotta play this big show in a big f*ckin' field and it will be super duper fun," Foo Fighters frontman Dave Grohl groaned, a hint of sarcasm surfacing. "But I gotta be honest... I was really f*cking looking forward to playing here."
"Here," for the uniformed, was at Chicago's beloved club Metro -- with its 1,150 capacity -- Saturday night (Aug. 6), just one day before the Foo Fighters' headlining performance at Lollapalooza. And while the much buzzed-about set was not official Lolla, the two and half hour gig could easily prove to be the fest's best.
Video: Foo Fighters Open Their Set With "Bridge Burning"
For Grohl and the boys, the show, which sold out almost instantaneously, served as practice after five weeks off, the singer told the packed-in crowd. Yet Grohl pulled out all his devilish humor and charisma - something it seems almost impossible for him to hold back when he's up there on stage. "We have so many f*ckin' hits, I wasn't even going to talk tonight. But I guess I can say hi!" Grohl declared shortly after the band played its new record, "Wasting Light," from start to finish. Few hits were left out (save for "Big Me"), with Dave punctuating them in an oddly appropriate way: by shredding into the faces of audience members.
Grohl took crowd interaction to a higher ground, disappearing from the stage at one point, re-appearing in the VIP balcony, shredding over a railing, then dropping his guitar into the crowd below. Grohl got the axe back, too - but something was missing. "Who's got the f*cking knob for my guitar?" Grohl bellowed but followed it up with a cheerful, "Keep it!"
Stage anecdotes were plentiful, among them an ode to Lollapalooza's founding father and Jane's Addiction frontman, Perry Farrell. "I don't think any of us would be here without Perry," Grohl said amidst an extended version of "Stacked Actors," one of the show's most rollicking moments.
More dedications and sentimentalism followed, with Grohl declaring his love for Chicago and nearby club the Cubby Bear (where Grohl saw his first rock show ever, Naked Raygun back in 1982). "I played this club so many f*cking times," Grohl said of the Metro. "We played here once on Halloween night and dressed up like Cheap Trick. Nobody got it."
Throughout the set, the band managed to achieve what most can only hope for: an opportunity to present its new album, in full, but not at the expense of the hits the fans want to hear. If the Foo Fighters can do it again tonight over on the big stage, there's no doubt they'll reign supreme over Lolla 2011, much as they do over the rock charts and radio airwaves.
Foo Fighters Set List, The Metro:
New Album, "Wasting Light," Start to Finish:
"Back & Forth"
"A Matter of Time"
"Miss the Misery"
"I Should Have Known"
"All My Life"
"Learn to Fly"
"Cold Day in the Sun"
"Long Road to Ruin"
"Times Like These"
"Young Man's Blues" (The Who cover)
"Skin and Bones"
"Best of You"
"This Is a Call"
"Hey, Johnny Park!"