Courtesy of RCA Records
“These are my famous last words!” roared Foo Fighters’ front man and 20-year rock veteran Dave Grohl before ripping into the adrenaline pumping “Bridge Burning” and “Rope” in front of a sold-out crowd at Nationwide Arena on Thursday.
After playing the first two tracks from this year’s “Wasting Light,” followed by “The Pretender,” Grohl (also referred to by some as the “nicest man in rock”), finally addressed the masses.
“When I was two years old I lived on the corner of High Street and Kelso,” he said.
Grohl also added that he took his rental car back to that very spot today but quickly left after he saw “two college kids getting high who thought I was a cop.”
Grohl warned the crowd, saying, “tomorrow when you go to work, you’re going to be hurting” because he had “like 150 songs” to play. The pace continued as drummer Taylor Hawkins rolled into the thunderous introduction to “My Hero,” a perennial crowd favorite and sing-along.
The thrills began an hour earlier, however, as seating was already at about 75 percent capacity to see opener and Chicago-native punk/hardcore band Rise Against. To the delight of the crowd, lead singer Tim McIlrath acknowledged all the “working class families in Ohio” and even dedicated a song to them, but not before getting political and blasting Ohio Governor John Kasich. Nonetheless, Rise Against’s aggressive and heavy set seemed to delight the crowd.
Foo rolled through their more matured singles with “Learn to Fly,” “Breakout” and “Stacked Actors” before Grohl acknowledged a few issues he has with the music industry today.
“I hate when bands have backing tracks behind them,” Grohl said, adding that musicians who “play with computers make me so f***ing mad.”
His advice to all the kids in the crowd was simple: “Pick up a guitar, start a band.”
Grohl’s old school rock beliefs were directly reflected in Foo Fighters’ performance that night. A handful of guitars, a deafeningly loud set of drums and an unpredictable (yet welcomed) appearance from an accordion, were some of the instruments used.
After much pleading from a restless crowd of more than 18,000, Grohl accepted the invitation to come back on stage. The rest of the band stayed behind as Grohl requested that the house lights be turned on, before acoustically serenading the arena with “Long Road to Ruin,” “Best of You” and “Times Like These.”
The rest of the band joined in for “Dear Rosemary” and an impromptu cover of Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers’ “Breakdown.”
“I don’t know when we’ll be back”, Grohl said. But he said as long as there are still “good people who like rock ‘n’ roll,” Foo Fighters will always stop in Columbus. The 24-song, two-and-a-half-hour marathon was capped off with what may be the definitive rock anthem of the last 20 years, “Everlong.”
The Foo Fighters showed that rock ‘n’ roll isn’t dead yet, and its greatest saviors play every show with the same amount of ferocity in order to support that claim.