Foo Fighters Bring Epic Howls & Savage Headbanging to Madison Square Garden: 5 Best Moments
“Do you want some fucking rock and roll music?,” Dave Grohl screamed to the sold-out crowd at Madison Square Garden on Monday night (July 16). The show marked the first of two New York dates the Foo Fighters would play in support of their latest album, 2017’s Concrete and Gold and the answer from the capacity crowd was, of course, yes please!
Over the course of the set that creeped past two hours, rock and roll is exactly what the band brought. There was no shortage of Grohl’s guttural shrieks or full-range hair flips while the band ripped through their extensive catalog of timeless hits, from “Learn To Fly” to set ender “Everlong.”
Here are the five best moments from night one.
-- To signal the start of the show, Grohl came charging onto the stage, like a child letting his imaginary cape billow in his self-made breeze. He pointed at fans, screaming “Are you ready?!” before cautioning: “It’s going to be a long night.” The rockers then delivered fan favorites including “All My Life,” “The Pretender” and the “The Sky Is a Neighborhood,” off Concrete and Gold, during which four backup vocalists joined in. One of them was none other than Grohl’s 12 year-old daughter, Violet.
-- In addition to Grohl's guitar wizardry, the remaining five members -- Nate Mendel on bass, Pat Smear on guitar, Chris Shiflett on lead guitar, Taylor Hawkins on drums and Rami Jaffee on keys -- each delivered their own searing solos. Smear sipped champagne during his, before leading the band in The Ramones’ “Blitzkrieg Bop”; Jaffee performed some funky synthy magic that Grohl admitted sounded “pretty cool,” but likely wouldn’t make it on their next album; but Hawkins’ solo was a force to be reckoned with. The platform he was positioned on slowly rose 30 ft. above the stage as he hit each drum so hard -- as if his arms were battery-powered -- that the mic stands shook. All the while, Grohl took a seat on a nearby amp to watch his friend and fellow drummer own the spotlight.
-- About halfway in, during “My Hero,” the crowd joined in the first stadium-wide chant of the night. The track was followed by “These Days,” during which Grohl broke out into laughter and had to step away from the mic during its final acoustic chorus. “I’m having too much fun,” he said before finishing the song. “I can’t believe this is my fucking job, this is the greatest thing in the world.”
-- Later in the set, Grohl and Hawkins traded positions, with Hawkins hopping off his platform to play frontman as Grohl got comfortable on drums. Hawkins -- who also sings -- was joined by Luke Spiller, vocalist for glam rock opening act The Struts, for a soaring take on a Queen classic: “Under Pressure.” Grohl was clearly impressed, saying, “I feel like Taylor and Luke should start a fucking band.”
-- Grohl introduced set-closer “Best Of You” by declaring: “I am genetically predisposed to sing my fucking ass off every single night.” So, naturally, he made sure the encore that followed proved his claim to be true. But, before his band returned to the stage for one more round, they teased the crowd, courtesy of a night-vision video feed that played on the screen, showing Grohl and Hawkins chilling backstage.
Grohl told the crowd the Foos would do one more, then Hawkins insisted on two, immediately upping the ask to three, until finally, when the applause were loud enough, the band came back for a four-song encore of “Big Me,” “Times Like These,” “This Is a Call” and -- last but not least -- “Everlong.” And though Grohl didn't deliver on his promise that they would be there all night, they packed plenty into the time they had.