Foo Fighters ascend as kings of rock

There are three things you need to know about a Foo Fighters concert – it’ll kick off with All My Life, end with Everlong and in between you’ll be taken on a full-throttled thrill ride of some of the most kick-ass rock ’n’ roll this side of 1991.

The Foo Fighters concert last December in Auckland was the fourth time I’ve seen the band live, and the second in a year. I was among the very lucky 2000 or so who managed to get tickets for their Canterbury Earthquake Relief Concert at the Auckland Town Hall in March 2011.

Lucky not only because seeing such a great act in such an intimate setting is truly a rare privilege, but also because they treated us to a live rendition of their entire new album, Wasting Light – weeks before it was even released.

And this was before they hurtled into pretty much their usual set-list of older material!

The December concert at Auckland’s Western Springs stadium was the first time I’d seen the Foo Fighters at an outdoor venue.

Admittedly, beforehand I did wonder how the concert would live-up to the one at the town hall. How would the Foo Fighters fill the cavernous hole that is Western Springs with nearly as much power as they did the Auckland Town Hall?

I needn’t have worried.

At the Town Hall, the Foo Fighters’ music reverberated through the 100-year-old building – rattling it to its foundations, amplified by hundreds of fans jumping up and down causing the wooden floors to shake.

The thought did pass through my mind how ironic it was that an earthquake relief concert was emulating the very effects of such an event…

But anyway, that is not the point of this blog…

At Western Springs, none of the band’s power was lost – and sure enough, the fans once again caused a rumbling – enough to trigger seismic sensors! The ground was literally shaking from people jumping.

What struck me during this sublime sonic assault is that the Foo Fighters can now truly claim the throne as the best rock act in the world.

Their rise has been a steady progression over the past 18 years, as they cultivated a dedicated body of fans, many of whom matured along with band.

Each new album has sold more copies and each new concert tour has filled out bigger venues – culminating in iconic performances at Wembley that completed the Foo Fighters’ ascension as the kings of rock.

They may not have been around as long as the Rolling Stones, and don’t put on lavishly large productions like U2, but when it comes to pure, unaltered power, no other band trumps the Foo Fighters.

They bring the same energy and authenticity to a large stadium concert with 30,000 people, as they do to an intimate town hall performance to 2,000.

There are no political statements, or speeches. The closest thing you get to an ideological rant is Dave Grohl lambasting bands that call themselves rock acts, but can’t get onstage and play music without computers.

It’s this commitment to producing real music that’s been the secret to the band’s success and is evident in their concerts.

Live, classic Foos tracks like Monkey Wrench and This is a Call, stack up pretty well next to the latest hits These Days or Arlandria – and vice versa.

This doesn’t mean the Foo Fighters’ music has not developed or advanced in 18 years, but rather that their older songs still have a lot of life left in them, while the new ones retain the spirit and spark that put the Foos on the map in the first place.

That’s because Grohl and his band mates have just stuck to do doing what they do exceptionally well – making no bullshit, straight-shooting, bone-rattling, rock and roll.

Check out the videos below from the past two Foo Fighters concerts in Auckland:

Foo Fighters Stacked Actors guitar duel – Auckland Town Hall

Jamming version of Monkey Wrench – Foo Fighters | Western Springs, Auckland

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