Etihad Stadium , Jan 30
A large black and gold flag covers the stage as the first strains of Dave Grohl’s guitar rings out across the field to signal the anticipated arrival of rock legends the Foo Fighters.
Having been warmed up by the energetic Clown and the original Teenage Dirtbags Weezer, the atmosphere is at fever pitch as Dave runs up and down the stage at full sprint, sky blue Les Paul in hand.
The Foo Fighters are back on Australian shores for the Concrete and Gold tour, Melbourne the last leg for dedicated fans of the super group. Rock legend Dave Grohl is in full force tonight pumping through the hits ‘ All my Life’ ‘ Learn to Fly’ and ” Run”
Taking almost an hour to say hello Grohl is a little apologetic, however there is a lot to cover and there is simply no time to waste. With Taylor Hawkins doing his finest to impress with some heavy drum solos there is a lot of music pumping out into the arena.
“Hey.. Hey.. Hey.. You know this is the last night of the fucken Australian tour, you better be the loudest fucken audience of all the other cities” he shouts to the over excited crowd, fists in the air. ” You don’t want those other cities to be louder than you, do you? You don’t want that fucken shit” Encouraging the crowd with a primal scream that is echoed back at him he cheekily proclaims ” Eh, we’re getting there” a mega watt smile plastered across his face.
” Ladies and Gentlemen turn up the house lights, damn I gotta the fucken stage I’m on. Let me see that, OK I SEE that, I fucken see you now. Ladies and Gentlemen, I’m sorry it took us a fucken hour to say hello, but HELLO, how are you – good to see you. You know why it takes so long to say hello? Coz we got a SHIT LOAD of songs We got a lot a fucken songs, you know that right? We’re gonna be here ALL night long, I hope you’re OK with that. Are you OK with that? he asks ” We’ve been a band a long time, how are we supposed to play all of our songs tonight? You want us to play ALL our songs tonight? Na, you don’t want that shit, we’ll be here until eight o’clock in the morning, that’s a lot of songs. Y’ all can stay as long as you want, I gotta room service cheese burger with my name on it at two o’clock in the morning. BUT, we’re going to play as many songs as we can- until they tell us we gotta get off the stage, OK? Lets do that.”
With all the cheering from the crowd, the band could play until eight o’clock in the morning and every single person in the stadium would faithfully stay and sing along to every song, arms raised and fists pumping. Dave could bring his room service cheese burger and eat it on stage and the crowd of dedicated fans would still be here to watch.
He’s right at home on the stage, born to be there as his energy never wavers for the three hours. Its a huge show, the stadium packed to the rafters and not for one moment does the ever humble Grohl forget that he’s got a job to entertain these people, and he does a damn good job of it.
Powering though an amazing set ” My Hero” ” These Days”, “Walk” and ” Let it die”, Dave takes a moment to introduce the band, the consummate showman stepping out of the spotlight for a moment as Chris Schifflet covers Alice Coppers ” Under My Wheels”. Not to be out done Taylor Hawkins jumps off his signature drum kit allowing Dave to step in for the cover of Queen’s classic ” Under Pressure”.
Promising to slow things down Dave Grohl suggests its time for a slower number to settle the crowd down. Ever the joker, he screams ‘ Just Kidding!!’ and launches into ‘ Monkey Wrench” as the crowd goes wild.
Looking like they’re not ready to slow down the band exit the stage before the encore. The screens switch to footage in night vision of Grohl and Hawkins asking the crowd if they’re ready for more music. The cheering gets louder as Dave encourages the noise, promising to play four more songs. ” Ballad for Beaconsfield Miners” an instrumental performance dedicated to the miners trapped in the 2006 mine accident paying homage to the survivors that famously asked for an iPod of Foo Fighters music upon rescue, begins the encore, followed by “Times like these”, “This is a Call” and ” Ever long”. Promising four songs he delivers with AC/DC tribute to Malcolm Young with ” Let there be Rock” as the same image that adorns Melbourne’s iconic AC/DC lane flashes up on the screen as a touching memorial.
For three hours Dave and the band have put on a spectacle of rock music that has pumped through the crowd. Arms outstretched every soul in the building connected for three hours of singing along to music that has been an influence of many over the last twenty or more years. Dave Grohl brings the crowd to a euphoric state and for just a short period of time none of the outside world matters. All that matters is the Foo Fighters.
Words by Amanda Lee Starkey
Behind the lens Amanda Lee Starkey