Hey did you know that Dave Grohl broke his leg? Yup, at a concert in Sweden he fell off the stage, then got up and finished the show with the doctor holding his ankle in place. He had to cancel a few shows but ultimately soldiered on with the band’s scheduled US tour, sitting on a throne he designed while he was high on pain killers post surgery. I had read about this online, of course. Not on Blabbermouth or even Pitchfork or Consequence of Sound, but right on Yahoo News. Google, Time, this was national news. So why did Dave feel the need to re-iterate the story to fans in attendance at last night’s show? Complete with a video montage of the incident? Fans who paid to see the band, paid to park, paid god knows what for drinks and food and merch obviously knew the story, so why waste their time with a story they already knew? Time that could’ve been occupied by music they came to hear? This was just the tip of the iceberg of why I found myself oddly and sadly disappointed in last night’s show.
The performance started off promisingly enough, solid renditions of hard rocking Foo classics Everlong and Monkey Wrench, before descending into irrelevance. Dave felt the need to talk. And talk. And talk between every song, and some times in the middle of songs, and about nothing of particular consequence. The aforementioned “I broke my leg” story, droning diatribes about “still loving rock and roll”, empty platitudes about how many times the band has played the Electric Factory, referring to themselves as a “stadium rock” band without a hint of irony, and how they’ve been “together for 20 years”, even though Dave himself has been the only consistent member throughout that time. Hell, the crowd seemed to love it, I think I was the only person in the whole enormous amphitheater standing there with a face on, so what the hell do I know?
The songs themselves were padded with interminably long “jam” sections, always formulaic-ly placed towards the end, after the second chorus, stretching out the bridge before the last verse or chorus to an unbearable length. It’s one thing of you’re Phish, or Dave Matthews Band, or even the Meat Puppets who we just saw recently and were highly entertained by. But nobody showed up last night expecting to hear a soulless three minute radio rock jam like “Learn to Fly” (always a weak spot in the Foos’ catalog, in my opinion) stretched out to an ungodly seven or eight minutes like it’s fucking Master of Puppets or something. Cover songs sprinkled throughout the set started as a novelty but became an annoyance throughout the night as well, Dave with another humble brag that they were “The highest paid cover band in the world”.
Don’t get me wrong, I still respect Dave Grohl for his time with Nirvana, his work with current bands I love like Queens of the Stone Age and Ghost, and his more metal and punk leaning projects like Probot and Sound City, and there’s a handful of Foo Fighters tracks I thoroughly enjoy, especially the early stuff from the self titled record. But maybe I just wasn’t the right audience for such a self indulgent “stadium rock” show? Was it the outdoor venue that rubbed me the wrong way? Dave’s chair bound inability to roam the stage? Either way, when the band comes back through town I doubt I’ll care enough to find out.