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A whole lotta rock 'n' Grohl!


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 view!

The whole of the standing crowd then turned to face him, applauding and waving to chant the angst-fuelled 'one last thing before I quit…' 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!!!

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