Dave Grohl and pal producer/songwriter Greg Kurstin cranked up the “Hanukkah Sessions” for a third year on Sunday night (Dec. 18) for another round of covers of songs made famous by Jewish musicians. In a twist, this year’s efforts were all recorded live at Los Angeles’ intimate Largo on Dec. 5 with a cast of all-star guests taking the stage at the 250-capacity club.
The pair also brought in a ringer to handle vocals for the first of the eight night celebration of lights: director Judd Apatow. The Bros co-producer stepped to the mic for a run through Blood, Sweat & Tears’ 1969 Grammy-nominated Billboard Hot 100 No. 2 hit “Spinning Wheel,” which, according to a Variety report on the event, was inspired by a karaoke night in Hawaii with Grohl’s family. “A little blood and plenty of schvitz went into this year’s Hanukkah Sessions — but the only tears you’ll be shedding will be tears of nachas when you hear Judd Apatow sing ‘Spinning Wheel’ by Blood, Sweat & (No) Tears!” read the video’s description.
“This is a song that means a lot to me, it was performed by the great Hank Kingsley [Jeffrey Tambor] on The Larry Sanders Show. This is a tribute to Garry and to Hank,” said Apatow at the top of the clip, referring to the infamous sidekick on the fake talk show hosted by his late friend Garry Shandling. And with that, with Grohl on drums and Kurstin on keys, Apatow sang-talked the swinging psychedelic soft rock classic on a stage decked with multiple menorahs, some stray tinsel and a killer horn section.
During Kurstin’s jazzy piano solo Apatow did some awkward dad dancing before the late-song break, announcing casually, “there’s more” before diving back in with a series of goofy faces as the band went into a song-ending freak-out. Proclaiming himself out of gas (or was it oil?) at the end, an out of breath Apatow joked, “Dave I know you do five-hour concerts, but that’s all I could do. I need a month off.”
Grohl and Kurstin released the first “Sessions” in Dec. 2020 in the midst of the first winter of the COVID-19 pandemic, dropping one new cover for each night of the holiday. In the midst of a concerning rise in antisemitic incidents and hate speech in the U.S., proceeds from the Largo night went to the Anti-Defamation League.
Among the other guests at Largo were P!nk, Kurstin’s The Bird and the Bee collaborator Inara George, Grohl’s mighty-voiced 16-year-old daughter Violet, Beck, the Yeah Yeah Yeah’s Karen O and Jack Black. The inaugural 2020 “Sessions” featured covers of songs by he Beastie Boys, Drake, Mountain, Peaches, Bob Dylan, Elastica, The Knack and the Velvet Underground, while last year’s edition brought eight crazy nights of covers, including a black metal take on Lisa Loeb’s “Stay (I Missed You),” as well as the Ramones’ “Blitzkrieg Bop,” Barry Manilow’s “Copacabana (At the Copa),” the Clash’s “Train in Vain,” Kiss’ “Rock and Roll All Nite,” Van Halen’s “Jump,” Amy Winehouse’s “Take the Box” and Billy Joel’s “Big Shot.”
Watch the “Spinning Wheel” cover below.