Loud And Brash With A Touch Of Quiet Queen To Boot
The Foo Fighters attract an eclectic following these days. From the middle aged businessman decked out in his suit and tie to the ten year kid proudly donning his recently purchased tour t-shirt, it is very much a mixture of the young and the old that welcomes Dave Grohl's band back to London, a mixture of those who have been in the trenches from day one right down to the newly recruited. But there's one thing everyone has in common; they are about to witness the history of the Foos in all its loud brash and even quiet glory and they are about to do so with Mr Grohl firmly in the driving seat.
With gum being chewed incessantly and his face obscured through the joint efforts of a mass of hair and an unruly beard, Dave Grohl prowls across the stage, teeth snarling at his crowd as he forcefully strums his guitar. This is the nicest man in rock and tonight he is here to rip your head off and douse you with his specially concocted bout of adrenaline fuelled rock. Diving straight into 'Let It Die', Foo Fighters unleash an relentless speed train of hits that take in the pummelling anthemic 'Times Like These' through to the anger ravaged fury of 'Breakout', with new contender 'The Pretender' provoking a lung bursting rousing sing along. Fast and furious in every way even the so called slower Foo songs such as 'Learn To Fly' and latest hook laden single 'Long Road To Ruin' gather momentum under the conduction of Grohl's enthusiasm with the ferocity of a guitar duel signally the opening of 'Stacked Actors' bringing a brutaally swift end to proceedings.
But things aren't over yet. As a circular stage materialises in the middle of the crowd it is time for the gentler side of the Foos to make its appearance, giving the band chance to interact with their fans and to showcase some of their classics in all their stripped to basics glory. Intoxicatingly hypnotic, 'Skin And Bones' dazzles in its live surroundings as an acoustically driven Foos gains the help of a violinist, pianist and extra guitar curtsey of former Foo Fighter Pat Smear. Heck the Foos even manage to reign in the aid of a triangle player, much to the amusement of Grohl who remarks on how everyone has now certainly got their money's worth. From this 'My Hero' blazes through the crowd, awe inspiringly inciting a mass sing along, matched only by Taylor Hawkins getting his turn on vocals for the bouncingly vibrant 'Cold Day In The Sun'.
This being London, and as Grohl remarks something special always happens in the Capital, Foo Fighter's call on some friends to join them on the acoustic stage with none other than Queen's Rodger Taylor and Brian May arriving to transform Queen's '39' into a Foo acoustic wonder, making way only for an emotionally laced rendition of 'Everlong' performed souly by Grohl from right in the middle of his adoring followers that doesn't fail to create that spine tingling feeling.
Having supposedly left the stage after a ear bursting blast of 'All My Life' the Foos make their next appearance via video, beamed onto screens as they are shown backstage begging to go home for some sleep, much to the disappointment of the fans. After some comic bartering including a mime from Chris Shiflett, a compromise of a four song encore is made and the gang return once more, revealing some rare live classics such as 'For The Cows' and Grohl's very own choice of 'Weenie Beenie'. With so much jam packed into a tiring yet enjoyable set there is room and energy left only for one final bout of crowd participation as 'Best Of You' threatens to remove the former Millennium Dome's ceiling. Fast furious and with just enough acoustic led luxury to rejuvenate, this was Foo Fighters old and new, bursting with energy and bathed in raw vitality, a lethal combination that left all in its path in a sweaty heap of exhausted contentment.