By Justin Lyons
Foo Fighters have a good problem on their hands: They can play soaring rock anthems for three hours straight. It’s actually more of an issue for their fans that barely have time to catch their breath. From start to finish, there was hardly a moment that Dave Grohl and company weren’t shaking their sweaty locks as they expertly enthralled the near sell out Gwinnett Arena crowd.
Punk rock veterans Social Distortion opened and teased that parents should call their babysitter, since Foo Fighters would play into the wee hours of the night. After touring since mid-May, it would be understandable if the six-piece band had lost a step. Fortunately, it appeared that Foos had only enhanced their eagerness to please since their showstopping performance at the Hangout Music Festival. As promised, the Foo Fighters growled, sang, belted and hurled every hit at fans for nearly 180 minutes.
During band introductions, drummer Taylor Hawkins called for applause for the “MC” of the night. The statement couldn’t be truer as nearly all eyes were on Dave Grohl who playfully interacted with the crowd, often wailing on his shiny, turquoise guitar at every spot on the stage possible. Grohl recalled early days playing The Masquerade and even teased a “2027” performance there after the crowd exceeded expectations on a sing-a-long of Greatest Hits single “Wheels.”
The bruising material scanned everything from the band’s self-titled debut album to a Pink Floyd cover and everything in between. Lead singer Dave Grohl quickly made his presence know with a trademark screech/howl that only he could make sound musical on new album tracks “Burning Bridges” and “Rope.” Highlights throughout the evening included the “first song the band ever played live” in “This Is A Call,” a raucous rendition of “The Pretender” and drummer Taylor Hawkins’ guest vocals on “Cold Day In The Sun.”
Arguably, the most impressive portions of the show were hearing how well the new material melds with the onslaught of classics the 16-year-old band played. Wasting Light reaches anthemic heights that sound even better live as though Grohl had been stock-piling arena-ready jams to unleash to fans. Grohl called the melodic “These Days” his “favorite song he’s ever written” and easily satisfied the audience as they chanted the hook to “Arlandria” right back at the band. Most surprising was how well album standout “Rosemary” flows into Tom Petty’s “Breakdown.”
During the last hour, fan favorite “All My Life” commanded all to jump and dance with grinding guitars and thumping drums. After a roaring encore, Grohl came out on an elevated platform at the rear of the floor for an acoustic set. The aforementioned “Wheels” was just a warm-up for the arena ensemble effort on “Best of You.” The night ended with perhaps the band’s ultimate anthem “Everlong” as the perfect send off.
Wasting Light seems to have re-invigorated Foo Fighters and its clear they can still get an arena chanting and shouting their lyrics as loud as possible. Lets just hope it happens again much sooner than 2027.
Learn to Fly
Cold Day in the Sun
Let It Die
This is a Call
In the Flesh? (Pink Floyd cover)
All My Life
Wheels (Dave Grohl acoustic)
Best of You (Dave Grohl acoustic)
Times Like These (Dave Grohl solo acoustic into full band)
Breakdown (Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers cover)