It doesn’t take much to get the Foo Fighters to throw a party on stage. Put a Rock And Roll Hall of Fame induction in the mix — in Dave Grohl’s state of birth (Ohio), no less – and it’s even easier for one of the world’s most routinely unpredictable bands to make things even crazier.
Such was the case Thursday night (Oct. 28) at the House of Blues in Cleveland, where the Foos – fresh off playing for tens of thousands at the Shaky Knees Music Festival in Atlanta and two nights away from their Rock Hall induction – had their high-spirited way in front of family, friends, employees and lucky fans who snapped up tickets for the rare club appearance. The two-hour-plus show was an early celebration for the sextet, with not a small amount of tongue in cheek.
“This is kinda nice,” Grohl said after “The Sky is a Neighborhood.” “We’re used to playing these songs in big f–king arenas and…stadiums (with) 50, 60, 70,000 singing along…and I love it. But this is nice….” He introduced each of his bandmates as “Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductee,” “How the hell did THAT happen?” Grohl – who was also inducted with Nirvana in 2014 — joked during a couple of intervals, though he identified guitarist Pat Smear as “the only one that makes sense to me” to induct. “The other ones are, like, What?!”
Later on, he noted that, “As much as we joke around about it, it is a f–king honor to be here for that Hall of Fame show. It’s f–king crazy! I don’t think anybody expected it…But even if it had not happened, we’d be here doing this, ’cause this is what makes it good.”
There was no doubt the night was indeed a good one for the band, whose families — including several small children — watched from a VIP box in the balcony (though Grohl’s daughter Violet was part of a backing vocal quartet during several songs). Grohl specifically identified Barrett Jones, co-producer of the first Foos album from 1995, as well as a cousin singing along to “My Hero” from the balcony. He shouted out members of the band’s management staff, chiding one for his lack of cell phone skills. Photographer Danny Clinch, meanwhile, put down his camera and joined the band to play harmonica during an extended rendition of “The Pretender.”
The song list followed suit with the Foos’ other major recent shows, including dips into the band’s latest studio set, Medicine at Midnight, and “You Should Be Dancing” from its Bee Gees covers EP Hail Satin. In addition to the Taylor Hawkins-sung rendition of Queen’s “Somebody To Love” (Hawkins and Grohl inducted the band into the Rock Hall in 2001), Grohl threw a “weird one” into the mix – a ferocious take on Mose Allison’s “Young Man Blues” as popularized by the Who.
Just before the Foos wrapped things up with “Everlong,” Grohl thanked the crowd “for the last 26 years. It’s been fun.” And he promised to return and to a venue “where we’ll be 100 yards away from you, that sounds like shit.”
Paul McCartney is slated to induct the Foos into the Rock Hall on Saturday, Oct. 30, at Rocket Mortgage Arena. The ceremony will be filmed by HBO and premiere on Nov. 20.