Foo Fighters Play Surprise Concert at Preservation Hall While Recording In New Orleans

Foo Fighters press image, January 2014
Steve Gullick

Only a couple days after the Foo Fighters announced plans to release a new album this fall that’s being recorded in various studio across the U.S., the rock band played a surprise show at New Orleans’ Preservation Hall that ended up shutting down an entire city block.

On the evening of May 17, following several days of recording sessions at Preservation Hall with producer Butch Vig, the Foos played a surprise set in the space with the Preservation Hall Jazz Band. The 90-minute show — which included crowd-surfing at all — featured such Foo Fighters classics as "Times Like These,” “My Hero,” “Learn to Fly,” “Big Me” and “These Days.”

On hand at the show were such VIP guests as Arcade Fire's Win Butler and Régine Chassagne, as well as Anderson Cooper, who was collecting footage for a "60 Minutes" profile on the band, according to the The Times-Picayune. Toward the end, New Orleans native Trombone Shorty borrowed a horn to join the Foos on “This Is A Call.”

Earlier in the day, Foo Fighters frontman Dave Grohl teased the concert by tweeting, “So...NOLA, what're you guys up to tonight?”

New Orleans was just one stop on the Foo Fighters’ eight-city recording odyssey, which also included Chicago, Austin, Nashville, Los Angeles, Seattle, New York and Washington, D.C. The making of the band’s as-yet-untitled album, it’s eighth overall, will be chronicled in a new HBO series that Grohl directed.

Foo Fighters Reveal New Album Details, HBO Series

As previously reported, the band recorded one song at each stop with local legends sitting in (for example, members of Cheap Trick are said to be featured during the Chicago portion, according to a source) while the lyrics were written "in an unprecedented experimental style," reads a statement detailing the project. "Dave held off on putting down words until the last day of each session, so as to be inspired by the experiences, interviews and personalities that became part of the process."

The series, which Worldwide Pants is executive producing, comes on the heels of Grohl's directorial debut, the 2013 Grammy-winning doc "Sound City," which told the story of the Van Nuys, Calif. studio where Nirvana recorded the seminal album "Nevermind" and featured interviews with such iconic artists as Paul McCartney, Stevie Nicks, Neil Young and Trent Reznor, among others. Similarly, the HBO series will, in Grohl's words, present "a love letter to the history of American music" with each episode exploring the cultural impact of these artists' hometowns.