Major storms have given Brisbane a beating over the last week. The first, Cyclone Marcia, cruised north of the Australian city last Friday, and on Tuesday night, the force of nature that is the Foo Fighters, pounded the town center.
The Foos kicked off the Australian run of their Sonic Highways World Tour at the open-air Suncorp Stadium. The now two-decade-old band fronted by Dave Grohl delivered hit after hit on a perfect summer night, even if the lead-up was anything but.
Indeed, diabolical weather conditions on Saturday had forced the cancelation of a World Cup cricket match at the Gabba, a venue just miles away, and here was Suncorp Stadium, which had gone underwater in the January 2011 floods, asked to support a giant stage, lighting and sound system as well as host more than 40,000 fans after an epic drenching. In fact, Grohl and Co. had already made a last-minute cancelation in Auckland, New Zealand last Thursday when a roadie was injured and some key equipment wrecked in a major accident. But they wouldn’t be denied twice on this tour Down Under.
Opening with a subdued “Something From Nothing,” the Foos found the right gear on the second song, “The Pretender,” warning the sold-out crowd with Grohl’s typical endurance challenge: “It’s gonna be a long fucking night. You’re gonna dance all night. We’re gonna play till they kick us off the stage.”
He wasn’t kidding. The hit parade was on — “Breakout,” “My Hero,” “Learn To Fly,” “Monkey Wrench”, “Times Like These,” “All My Life.” The Foos tried-out “Congregation” and “Outside” from the new album, Sonic Highways, a No. 1 hit on its release here last November (and sixth career No. 1 in Australia). Both were well-received but nothing beats the big classics. A cover of “Let There Be Rock,” a piece of homegrown rock ‘n’ roll thunder from Bon Scott-era AC/DC, was a welcome mid-set surprise.
Drummer Taylor Hawkins was his typically energetic self, at times channelling Queen’s Freddie Mercury and never shedding his infectious smile. He was the natural talisman to Grohl who, indeed, paid homage to his friend as the reason why the Foos are filling-out stadiums.
Grohl had extra reason to celebrate this tour-opener. The show marked the 20th anniversary since his post-Nirvana band first played a show in a club. Any club. Has it really been that long? Considering this trek is supporting the Foos’ eighth studio set, the numbers don’t lie. Johnny Depp, who is in the country filming another movie for the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise, was among the guests for this special night.
The Foos have a strong connection with this part of the world. Grohl shared an anecdote of a show at the on-hiatus festival the Big Day Out (or, the “Big Day Off”, as he remembers it), and a drunken episode on motorized scooters which ended with himself and Taylor spending a night in a lock-up on the Gold Coast, surrounded by revellers from that day’s fests. He dedicated the early track “Big Me” to the famous beach city’s law enforcement officers.
When the thrilling “Everlong” closed the night, as it has for much of a great career, the Cyclone Foo had wrought its damage. It was a matter of done, done and onto the next one — Sydney’s ANZ Stadium on Feb. 26 — weather permitting.
Michael Gudinski’s Frontier Touring Company is presenting all dates on the Foo Fighters’ Australasian tour.
Foo Fighters’ set list at Brisbane’s Suncorp Stadium (Feb. 24, 2015)
Something From Nothing
Learn to Fly
Cold Day in the Sun
In the Clear
Skin and Bones
Times Like These
Stay With Me
Let There Be Rock
All My Life
This Is a Call