"We're f***in' movie stars!"
That's how Foo Fighters frontman Dave Grohl greeted the packed crowd at the band's surprise show Tuesday night at Stubb's, part of a Media Temple party closing the South By Southwest Interactive conference. And it was indeed a day Grohl and company got to play movie stars, with the world premiere of the revealing James Moll-directed documentary "Back and Forth" as well as a chance to play the group's forthcoming seventh studio album, "Wasting Light," in its entirety.
Those lucky enough to have made it into Stubb's didn't have to wait long for fresh fare, either. Foo Fighters kicked off the 21-song, hour-and-50-minute show by playing "Wasting Light's" 11 songs front to back, from the explosive hard rocker "Bridge Burning" and the sinewy single "Rope" to the punky "White Limo," the dynamic "These Days," the reflective "I Should Have Known" (which on record reunites Grohl with surviving Nirvana bandmate Krist Novoselic) and the ringingly melodic "Walk." The band sounded like it had been playing the songs for years, and while"Miss the Misery" and Matter of Time" seemed to connect particularly well with the crowd, all of the new songs were greeted enthusiastically.
An appreciative Foo Fighters, assisted by keyboardist Rami Jaffee on several songs, then rewarded that indulgence with a passel of what Grohl called "massive f***ing hits," nearly everything any fan of the band could want - including "All My Life," "Times Like These," "Learn to Fly," "The Pretender," "Monkey Wrench," "Everlong," "Best of You," "This is a Call" and a charged, extended version of "Stacked Actors." Exhorting the "industry motherf***ers" to sing along during "My Hero," Grohl playfully admonished their attempts ("You clearly need to do more shots!") but also expressed genuine gratitude "to still be here playing for you… people." He also noted that the show was somewhat shorter than the Foos would have liked to play and promised to "be back soon and play for two hours and 45 minutes" - though nobody at Stubb's was complaining with that they did get.
Earlier in the evening the Foos drove the limousine from the "White Limo" video (but without Lemmy at the wheel) to the screening of "Back and Forth" at Austin's Paramount Theatre. The group was greeted with cheers from fans outside as they disembarked, and prior to the film Grohl commented that "when we were pulling up the street…I was looking around thinking, 'God, I wonder who else has a f***ing movie today, because I couldn't imagine that so many people would want to see this." He also noted that the group refers to the film as "the history of us getting fat" and that watching it is "weird. It's kind of like showering together or something - which we do."
"Back and Forth" chronicles Foo Fighters' history from Grohl's days in Nirvana through his adventures as a one-man band and beyond. It features interviews with all of the current band members as well as former members William Goldsmith and Franz Stahl, along with a wealth of historical footage and personal still photos as well as new scenes of the group making "Wasting Light" - including scenes of recording with guests Novoselic and Bob Mould - in Grohl's garage in Encino, Calif.
The film will have a limited theatrical run on April 5 prior to its April 8 premiere on VH1, VH1 Classic and Palladia. Foo Fighters perform at the mtvU Woodie Awards on Wednesday in Austin and kick off a U.S. tour on May 17 in Tulsa, Okla. "Wasting Light" comes out April 12.