For many years, I was on the fence about the Foo Fighters. I wasn't sure if Dave Grohl and company were merely a proverbial flash in the alt-rock pan or were going to pass the test of time. But as the years moved on, the band continued to roll out hit after hit. They weren't going away.
Though I'm a huge fan of '90s rock, I never bothered to give the Foos a chance, even as the band's popularity soared among critics and the public. But as I walked through the halls The Forum, I realized how misguided and stubborn I was to not recognize the Foos' influence on rock over the past decade and a half.
I mean, parents brought their kids, which demonstrates the appeal that the band has to all generations of rock music fans.
From the opening “Bridge Burning” to “Everlong,” the sextet kept the enthusiastic crowd entertained for nearly three hours. Nearly a third of the songs from last night's set were off the band's latest release,
Wasted Light Wasting Light. However, the set was fairly balanced between staples like “Breakout” or “Monkeywrench” and the newer material. Going with the all-black look, Dave Grohl wasted no time working the crowd like the arena rock veteran he is. Whether it was running down the ramp that sliced the general admission area into two, or encouraging them to sing the final chorus to “My Hero,” he had total command of the 18,000 fans throughout the night.
The crowd wasn't afraid to lose their shit and rock out. Besides families, folks there ranged from college students to Generation X'ers. There were arms waving, heads bobbing and bodies bouncing throughout the set. The energy level hit its highest point during the final song of the first set, “All My Life,” when several small mosh pits broke out in the general admission section. The audience was as passionate and energetic as any that I've seen at a concert in this city, something that wasn't lost on the band.
After acknowledging The Forum's venerable history and place in the Los Angeles rock scene, Grohl playfully quizzed his fellow bandmates about their first gigs here. Chris Shiflett's embarrassingly admitted to seeing Quiet Riot, while Pat Smear was proud of having taken in the Rolling Stones and Stevie Wonder together. The frontman told the first-timers in the audience that they too could one day headline this building; hopefully they'd remember this show.
Grohl called this a hometown gig for the band, despite originally hailing from Virginia, and there were references to L.A. throughout the night. “The first time we played this song was at Spaceland,” he said while introducing “This Is A Call.” He jokingly referred to himself as a”Valley Girl,” referring to his current residence.
For Nirvana fans, it's hard to comprehend that to many youngsters Grohl is known as the frontman for the Foo Fighters. After Kurt Cobain committed suicide, Grohl could have easily all but quit making music like his fellow Nirvana member Krist Novoselic did, happily collected his royalties and called it a career.
Somehow, though, the Foo Fighters have not only managed to carve out a nice career, but have cultivated a cross-generational appeal, which was something that seemed unfathomable when Grohl started the band in April 1995.
Critical Bias: Seeing the Foos live for the first time was about 15 years overdue.
Random Notebook Dump: There's something refreshing about going to a venue and not seeing the building plastered with advertisements.
Set list below.
Learn to Fly
Cold Day in the Sun
Let It Die
Skin and Bones
This is a Call
In the Flesh? (Pink Floyd cover)
All My Life
Long Road to Ruin
Best of You
Times Like These
Miss The Misery
Breakdown (Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers cover)