A sunny Saturday morning and a 3 hour drive to Milton Keynes Bowl can only mean one thing really. Awesome live music. When I say awesome live music, I mean world dominating, ear drum crushing, raw, real rock, and I can only be talking about Foo Fighters at this point can't I. This weekend Foo Fighters played two huge shows to almost 70000 a night at the bowl and as Dave said on stage, "these aren't just any other show" and boy did they prove it. Foos invited along some top draw talent to warm the crowd up with slots from Tame Impala, Death Cab for Cutie and their new good friends, Biffy Clyro who put on an awesome show along with debuting some brand new material, more on that later though. Foos took to the stage at 8.15pm and were, according to set times, going to rock our socks off for the next two and a half hours! Pretty short set for Foos really...not.
Opening up with "Bridge Burning" the crowd erupted like Mauna Loa and the golden circle was as one bouncing along to the track, to say it was sweaty would be an understatement. It was a sea of fans who had braved the sun all day to witness their favourite band up close and personal (it's pretty much as close as you'll get to Foos these days unless you were one of the lucky people who got Dave & Co to play your garage earlier in the year.) So people were seizing their opportunity to go crazy in the presence of greatness. Song two and the signature echo tone of the lead guitar on "Rope" kicks in and I get the slight feeling we're going to get treated to the new brilliant album Wasting Light front to back followed by a greatest hits set. I was wrong as next up was "The Pretender" and at this point I think I lost my voice screaming along to the chorus, worth it though. "Learn to Fly" and the heavy distortion lathered "White Limo" seem to go down with the crowd well as a few bodies begin to crowd surf towards the stage.
The set was fast paced moving on from track to track with Dave's persona carrying to each one of the fans witnessing this extravaganza in Milton Keynes. The set for me took a turn when Dave introduced the living legend that for Dave growing up must have been an inspiration and many a drummer alike, it was Roger Taylor from Queen! Taylor took to vocal duties as they all put down a great rendition of "Cold Day In The Sun" and now this was a spectacle.
The crowd seemed edgy wondering who else was lurking behind the blackened curtains of side stage. We didn't have to wait long for another guest appearance. Now, if you've watched the great Foo Fighters documentary Back and Forth you'll have seen Dave come together with Bob Mould of Hüsker Dü for the track "Dear Rosemary" on the album, and here in Milton Keynes 5000+ miles away from where the song came to fruition we got to witness the culmination of hours in the studio unfolding before our very eyes. Dave said before Bob took to the satge that "The good thing about this record is that I got to make a song with a person that I can truly call my hero, the person who is responsible for the Foo Fighters". A touching moment was had by all.
Next up came a fan fave if I ever have heard one, "Monkey Wrench" and a classically drawn out "one last thing before I quit..." from Dave. Check the video for the evidence of him actually screaming the whole thing, which I've not seen him do live personally the past few times I've seen him, it was sweet. And it also served well to destroy what little part of my vocal chords I had left. 15 songs into what could be a never ending set and it feels like it's only just begun, this is a good thing. The pace of the set slows a little with a great performance of "Let It Die" from the bands album Echoes, Silence, Patience and Grace. Spine tingling.
"I've got another confession to make, I'm your fool" will always bring a shiver to me as "Best of You" was released the year I left school and reminds me of that summer without a care in the world, damn what I'd give to be that age and tell myself to enjoy it a little bit more! The crowd always present and singing but when it comes to lungs I don't think we could ever compete with Dave on the decibel level. The set finishes with a slow burner in the form of "Skin and Bones" before the band turns the machine gun onto the crowd and let's us have it with "All My Life", the crowded responded with a ferociousness and drive that I've only witnessed a handful of times at gigs, and it's usually at these big one off gigs. The lights dim and we wait, for the blatant return of greatness to the stage with an encore.
Dave Grohl returns to the stage alone and uses the walkway down the middle of the Golden Circle to his advantage and plays with the crowd, teasing them with the odd note here and there on his guitar before performing, "Wheels" which appeared on their greatest hits release. I think with the release of Wasting Light we'll have at least one more Foo Fighters album before maybe a Queen style Greatest Hits Vol. II. Dave continues straight into "Times Like These" the stage dwarfing him before Taylor, Chris, Nate and Pat return also to put perform the remainder of the song. A nice cover of Mose Allison's "Young Man Blues" which the band have been performing live for a few years now.
Now, Dave went on to talk about another idol he had growing up and how the band may not be here if it was not for this man, before saying "Say hello to one of our heroes - Mr Alice fuckking Cooper!". The crowd lost their minds, me included, never did I think I'd see Alice Cooper on stage let alone backed by teh Foo Fighters. I wanted to see some crazy stuff going down, beheading, blood, whatever it is Alice does when on stage. What we got was a rousing rendition of "School's Out" and "I'm Eighteen". Something magical just happened, and 70000 gig goers were lucky enough to witness this spectacle. If youw ere to have taken a polaroid of me at this time it'd of just been a bank stare and open mouthed youth looking rather sweaty and worse for wear.
The final song of the encore would be "Everlong", the second single from their Colour and Shape album is one of their best known tracks. From when the band started to gain global recgnition and began to perform to audiences more than a few thousand strong. The years of hard work and graft. The band members that have come and gone. The songs that never made it to albums. The blood, sweat and tears have all led up to 2011 and Foo FIghetrs being back on top form with the release of a simply brilliant Rock and Roll Album. Something that makes me very happy to say once more. And tonight these 5 men proved why they are so important. They united 70000 minds and opinions and for the 150 minutes of musical destruction that lay behind them, nothing else mattered. Nothing. Foo Fighters have owned 2011 so far and I don't think their domination of this year is any where near finished. Surprise guests, awesome support slots and a nice firework display to cap it all off. Long live the Foo Fighters. Seriously, an awe inspiring performance. Just brilliant.
Videos via NME or my iPhone once they're uploaded we shall update. Shwing.