I doubt you could call any of my reviews conventional so I’m sure as hell not going to start trying to line now. This review is coming to you from my perspective as a fan. I’ve wanted to see Foo Fighters live for as long as I can remember and a few short days ago at Emirates Old Trafford (Old Trafford cricket ground) that aim became a reality as I along with my brother and two of my best mates rocked out for two and a half hours with arguably the biggest rock band in the world.
I’m not even going to try and pretend that this wasn’t the best that I have ever been lucky enough to attend. Until Wednesday that honour was held by a show Jay Z did at the LG Arena in Birmingham in 2010, but I think the Brooklyn born legend has been nudged into 2nd place. (Sorry Jay)
The main criteria I am judging the show against are simply my own expectations and that is because being the fan that I am if the gig could live up to the hype in my head then it was a damn good show. This wasn’t just a good show; this show was freaking unbelievable.
It might not be the obvious thing to hit on first but looking back one of the main things that jumps out at me is the way that Dave Grohl can handle a crowd. I have been to hundreds and hundreds of gigs of all shapes and sizes but I have never seen one person move and control a crowd like that. Jay Z got close but Grohl took it up a notch. Every move, every shout, every single word was there to make you the fan have the best night of your life. You just got the impression that he cared, 50,000 people had turned out in the crap Manchester weather to see him and his band and he wanted to make sure that you had the best time possible.
There were so many highlights crammed into the bands two and a half set but I’ll now try and give you a rundown. I’m going to start with why the aforementioned Mr Grohl will be remembered as not only a great rock musician and frontman but a great man in general. I was lucky enough to be pretty close to the ‘T’ section of the stage so had a great view of this. Out on his own Grohl slowly wound his way through the first verse and chorus of Times Like These as he spotted a little kid (Frankie, aged 8) singing the lyrics back to him. He then stops playing and dedicates the rest of the song to Frankie, but he doesn’t stop there. After another couple of words he stops again and after a short exchange with Frankie’s mom he invites Frankie on the stage and proceeds to shake his hand, have a little chat, and then sing a few lines with the star-struck 8 year old as we all sang along and then chanted Frankie’s name. How many other bands do you know who would do that? Forget the music Dave Grohl is a great human being.
The band opened their set with Everlong before delivering crushing renditions of tracks like Monkey Wrench, Learn To Fly and The Pretender. I thought it was a strange choice to start out with Everlong and although I and the rest of the crowd ate it up i’m still not convinced even now that that was the best track to start with. However that was pretty much the only slight misstep of the whole night. The first real ‘moment’ came in the form of My Hero which was performed on the ‘T’ section of the stage. Singing that song, along with 50,000 others is an experience that I will never forget. You know how you watch performances of that song live and you think how awesome it would be to be in the crowd? Yeah it really was that awesome.
Covers of the David Bowie/Queen classic Under Pressure and The Faces Stay With Me followed again to rapturous applause. By now the night was heading into the final stretch but there was no way that this set was going end with whimper. All My Life was as big, heavy and frantic as anyone could have hoped. It felt like the whole crowd was bouncing as one, the feel of togetherness was unreal. The cherry on the cake though was a stretched out version of Best Of You. It sounds like a cliché but our group all looked at each other at various points as we were belting out this one as if to go ‘Are you feeling this as well?’ the whole thing was absolutely mind-blowing.
My expectations for this gig were absolutely through the roof, but my God I was not disappointed. It takes a special kind of performance to actually get you fully emotionally invested in it but for those two and a half hours I was lost in another world. Wednesday night was one of those rare moments where everything felt into place. I’m single, and I haven’t got any kids so I can unashamedly say that 27th May 2015 was one of the best nights of my life, so for that, Messrs Grohl, Smear, Mendel, Hawkins and Shiflett I thank you.