I saw them five times in my life. None of them were memorable. In fact, three of them are on my top five worst shows list. Why I continued to go to these awful shows was a dearth of reason and surplus of naivety. Every time after the first, I hoped the last was just a bad night for the band.
Each show – from my first in 2000 to my last in September – was the Dave Grohl Giant Ego Spectacular Showcase. You know, as opposed to a Foo Fighters concert, where a band called the Foo Fighters plays Foo Fighters songs.
At least half the show is Davey G yammering and yakking. Now, does he tell us a story behind a song or album? Does he say anything interesting about the band’s travels or innerworkings? No. It’s mostly back patting and pandering.
|Foo fans just gotta Grohl and bear it, baby.|
To paraphrase Mr. Grohl at a recent show: We’re not one of those bands that play for an hour and leaves (pauses for 10 seconds). We’re not one of those bands that play for an hour and half and leaves (pauses for 10 seconds). We’re not one of those bands that play for two hours and leaves (pauses for 10 seconds). We’re gonna play til you tell us to stop (pauses for 20 seconds)! Do you want us to stop? (soaks in the applause for a minute and a half).
Then, in nearly every song, the bridge is overextended by a 10-minute chord loop while he runs around the stage and catwalk. By the time the song kicks back into the final chorus, I’ve checked out. Simply don’t care anymore. All momentum is depleted.
Oh yeah, and then every song is capped with that a gratuitous big rock ending. You know, those annoying minute long one-chord drum-guitar builds where you start clapping then stop realizing they are playing it out more so they can hear you clap and yell longer.
That’s horseshit, man.
All that is beautifully captured in this 12-minute version of “Monkey Wrench”:
Gee Dave, a two-and-a-half hour show isn’t that hard to pull off when half the time you’re just taking a hyper-loquacious piss. It seems like he’s completely unaware that people came to listen to the songs they know and love – the songs (and songwriting) that made the Foo Fighters famous and respected in the first place.
And it’s a shame, because as I said earlier, Foo Fighters records are still good. Old ones stand the test of time. And the new ones definitely are better than their contemporary pop star peers.
Yes, the Foo Fighters deserve a Rock Hall induction. Dave will probably get two. And that’s deserved, too, for everything he does off the stage.
I just needed to get that out. To me, people who come back from a Foo Fighters show saying it was the best show they’ve ever been to are speaking wishfully and obtusely.
Just because they are playing rock and roll doesn’t make it a rock and roll show.
So I’ll leave you with this – a no-frills performance of a B-side/deep cut from their first record played without ego, without tongue in cheek, without an over-long ending.