Review: Lucy Hayes
Foo Fighters - Wembley Arena, November 22/23, 2002
CAVE-IN were the chosen ones, the band that eternal
'Rock God', Dave Grohl, rescued from an unknown abyss and thrust
into the bright lights of Wembley to open for the mighty Foo
Fighters on November 22 - 23, 2002.
Hailing from Boston, Massachusetts, the four messy-haired dudes
thrashed out their rock/Shed 7 sounding tracks; the drummer's
thwacking enthusiasm totally annihilating two bass drums during
their five-track set!
They certainly gave it some, although they didn't get the crowd
going. But it must've been daunting, given the sheer scale of
the audience and the obvious sense of anticipation being felt
as the Foo Fighters prepared to kick off.
They ended with Led Zeppelin's Dazed and Confused, which
raised a cheer of recognition as the lead singer spoke of Zeppelin
being integral and a major inspiration during their jamming
sessions and the eventual formation of Cave-In.
And when they arrived, they did not disappoint. At first, it
was in the form of lighted silhouettes behind a huge lyrical
sheet of The One and Tired Of You - in bold, blood
red lettering - as the distinctive opening chords of All
My Life, One By One's opening track, throbbed out
into the arena. Then, momentarily, the veil disappeared and
the Grohlster leapt forward, head banging into the main verse.
One of my faves, My Hero, from The Colour and The
Shape, was launched into next and really got the crowd rocking.
Since emerging from the revered Nirvana drums, Grohl has proved
to be a natural frontman, possessing all the essential qualities.
He is totally spontaneous, funny, with wry observations, always
cracks jokes, creates fake accents and adds sound effects and
an absolute passion and hyperactive enthusiasm for performing
his music for his fans.
I could just about see the Grohlster, but not close enough
for my liking! But after making note of a girl wearing a Star
Wars T-shirt in the seating, and while the opening rifts of
the classic, hardcore, guitar-accelerated Monkey Wrench
pounded, he ran off the stage, and hurtled through the seating
on the right-hand side (pausing for pics with fans!) to a central
staircase, where a spotlight focused on him, allowing us a perfect
The whole of the standing crowd then turned to face him, applauding
and waving to chant the angst-fuelled 'one last thing before
' chorus in unison.
After this spontaneous interlude, and returning back to the
stage on a high, Grohl pondered: "I don't know how those
Oasis guys can just stand still when they're playing rock 'n'
roll;, something just gets in me and I have to let loose."
This totally sums up how Grohl's heart and soul goes into every
track performance, and every show, never just playing a track
through gritted teeth after the billionth time on tour.
A major part of the Foo's appeal is the diversity which exists
in their four albums and how they can produce hardcore, aggression-fuelled
tracks such as Monkey Wrench, The One, and Breakout,
on the one hand, and then laidback, chilled and contemplative
tracks such as For All The Cows and Generator or
mellow, balladesque tracks such as Aurora and Tired
Of You on the other.
My ultimate fave, Everlong, raised the roof and was poignantly
played and sung to.
The drums have always been Grohl's first love and therapy and
he returned to them to help out The Queens Of The Stone Age and
gain perspective for the One By One album. An instigator
of humorous musical videos, he turned into a devil for Tenacious
D's Tribute video, and also collaborated with Bowie.
Practically the whole of One By One was played where Grohl
(in his own words) is 'screaming my balls off!' Lyrically, the
album is more raw and mature, reflecting Grohl's evolved personal
life and state of mind.
According to Grohl, 'the best track we've ever written is In
Times Like These, which is well-recognised when played by
owners of the new album and XFM listeners. Low is dark
and introspective, Disenchanted Lullaby is a howling confessional
about succumbing to commitment, and Tired Of You inspires
a quieter mood and sparked a mass swaying of lighters and a singalong.
Grohl continually praises fellow Foo's Mendel, Shiflett and especially
Hawkins for his explosive drumming and jokes how they're told
'not to take this and drink that', implying it's management, when
it is, in fact, Hawkins who's back on form and clean after an
overdose last year, which shocked Grohl to the core (the two are
very close friends away from the band).
The frenzied Stacked Actors created mass pogying and head-banging
and heightened the existing tropical climate.
Grohl is still very humbling and self-deprecating and, towards
the end, genuinely thanked fans for supporting the band over the
past seven years, as he does at every performance. The sentiment
doesn't last for long and he shows he's still a lad by letting
out a loud frogmella burp and feigning shock at the blatant offers
from girls at the front.
A deafening encore request was accepted and the touching Aurora
was played, along with Breakout. As the lyrics, 'You
make me dizzy, running circles through my head
' were sung,
he then paused, allowing the crowd to yell back the next few lines,
until intervening with the jibe, 'er, I'd kinda like to sing now!'
The final track of the night was This Is A Call, which
includes the infamous 'fingernails are pretty, fingernails
are good' lyric, and marks the Foo's first ever single. All in
all, an overwhelming verdict of fan Footastic!!!