From the moment the opening guitar riff of “Bridges Burning” cut through the packed Wells Fargo Center, it was on. They ripped though a blistering set of hit after hit after hit after…hit, highlighting the fact that Dave Grohl is a monster frontman.
At first, it seemed like the Dave and Taylor (Hawkins) show. The pair is defining Bromance…and I like it. Hawkins even sang lead on two songs – “Cold Day in the Sun” from In Your Honor and a cover of Pink Floyd’s “In the Flesh.”
The rest of the band – Nate Mendel, Pat Smear, Chris Shiflett and keyboardist Rami Jaffee – looked a little tired and road weary until Grohl intro’d the band and everyone seemed to come alive, gracious that so many people came out to see them on a school night. And then Grohl ran out to another tiny stage toward the back of the house. Shiflett stood on the main stage, and the two had a little dueling guitars battle, which provided a bit of levity and a chance for Shiflett to show off the mad skills that got him the title of lead guitarist for the Foo Fighters.
After the show, WMMR’s Pierre Robert reported that the Foo’s Philly audience was the largest audience on the tour, and I believe it. In fact, I’m surprised I can hear at all today. The Foos played eight songs off the new album, Wasting Light and closed the first set with the anthemic “All My Life.”
Then Grohl appeared in extreme close-up, bathed in a greenish, night vision camera-y light, projected on screens peppered throughout the stage. He put a hand to one ear and the crowd exploded. He held up one finger, and the crowd cheered. Shiflett appeared on camera and held up two fingers, and the crowd really cheered. Teasing the audience, Grohl shook his head no. The crowd booed until he held up two fingers and then three. This continued with Smear and Hawkins joining in until the hand count got up to six more songs.
“The whole show you thought you had the shitty seats,” Grohl told those sitting in the back and in the nosebleeds beyond, “Well not anymore.” He performed three of the five encore songs solo, acoustic and on the elevated stage toward the back of the floor. Everyone – and I mean everyone – was on their feet. Grohl even played a taste of “Blackbird” by his beloved Beatles but cheekily made mention of his lack of classical training and said that you should never play songs from a band that’s better than your band, “That’s why you only play one verse.”
Once back on the main stage to finish out “Times Like These” plugged in and with the rest of the band, they were then joined by Bob Mould of Husker Du fame for “Dear Rosemary” which he also appears on on the album, as well as a seemingly impromptu cover of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers’ “Breakdown.” The Foos closed the show, of course, with “Everlong,” one of the best songs ever, in my opinion, and the audience appeared to agree – bouncing, singing, clapping and dancing, totally uncaring that they’d already been on their feet doing much of the same for the last three hours.
Taylor Hawkins introduced Grohl as one of the best musicians of our generation, and he wasn’t the first person I heard say that last night – or in general lately. That’s a moniker I don’t think should be tossed around lightly, and after delivering a set of such magnitude, in which Grohl ran around, totally engaged the audience, shredded on the guitar and sang his balls off, I have to agree. The Foo Fighters are well aware that they’re where they are and doing what they love because of their fans. Dave Grohl and Co. paid their Philadelphia fans last night in full.
A complete setlist can be found here.