London has seen several sides to the Foo Fighters this week. First there was the acoustic theatre show, which saw Dave Grohl claim it was "as much fun as screaming your rock balls off!" Then it was the secret show at the Camden Underworld, a hastily arranged gig just to focus the mind back on rock, a night which saw the band play their smallest gig in years. Finally it was the climax, the milestone of one of their biggest crowds to date, eighty five thousand people packed into Hyde Park on a roasting hot Saturday, all there to worship at the alter of the rock god Grohl.
Understandably on a massive high, Grohl told the crowd' "there is one place that treats our band like royalty!" A timely remark given the fun some of the early arrivers to this gig would have had battling the tourists on the tube who'd been to watch the Queen's official birthday celebrations nearby.
Grohl was in good company this night as he and the rest of the band were joined on stage by British rock legends Brian May and Roger Taylor during the encore. First Taylor played the drum section of 'We Will Rock You', before May and the Foo Fighters join him for a version of 'Tie Your Mother down', Taylor Hawkins providing vocals.
Earlier Motorhead's Lemmy had joined the Foo Fighters for a version of the Probot song 'Shake Your Blood', the track he had given vocals to on the Dave Grohl side project.
In between the guest appearances, Foo Fighters ran through a mainly greatest hits style set, although nothing from their debut album was played. 'This Is A Call' was the most noticeable absentee from the set list. They also left recent double album 'In Your Honour' largely untouched, with just three being played. 'In Your Honour', the now traditional opener, and singles 'Best of You' and 'DOA' the only songs to be performed.
The classics to go down particularly well included, 'All My Life', 'Learn To Fly', 'Breakout', 'My Hero' and the ultimate crowd rocker that is 'Monkey Wrench'. The latter was the final song in the main set, before the appearance of the two members of Queen.
The night finished with Grohl strutting his stuff on a forty-foot catwalk, before returning to the stage to play the hugely popular stripped down version of 'Everlong'. Fans of the full rock original were satisfied as this time the track built to it's heavy glory, all be it only for the last twenty seconds.
This show was one of the annual, rock extravaganzas which Hyde Park holds. It is a great setting for a gig, although the further back you are, the sound can be poor.
These concerts have the mini festival feel about them, with a number of other acts also playing ahead of the main event. Motorhead, Queens Of The Stone Age, Angels And Airwaves and Juliette And The Licks all took to the stage in the red hot London sun.
But the night belonged to the Foo Fighters. There wasn't the same edge to previous gigs I've seen, the familiarity of the greatest hits nature of the setlist would have been a factor, as would the size of the gig itself and it's early finish time, we can't annoy the rich folk in their expensive hotels across the road!
Those who saw both this show and their headlining performances at the Carling Weekend last August might reflect that the Reading and Leeds gigs had the edge. However there is a reason why this country treats the Foo Fighters as royalty, because they're one of the best bands on the planet and know how to effortlessly put on an excellent show.
For the record the setlist ran as follows:
'In Your Honour'
'All My Life'
'Best Of You'
'Times Like These'
'Learn To Fly'
'Shake Your Blood' (featuring Lemmy)
'We Will Rock You/Tie Your Mother Down' (Featuring Brain May and Roger Taylor)