Foo Fighters and the unstoppable Dave Grohl dial it up to 11

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Foo Fighters
Accor Stadium
December 9, 2023

After decades of stadium shows, you’d think Foo Fighters would ration the rock’n’roll tropes to a slow drip through their notoriously long shows.

But no. Singer and guitarist Dave Grohl bucks out of the gates for the opener, All My Life, and down the mosh pit runway to flaunt the full gamut of his signature moves. (Head banging, mainly, but also holding his guitar aloft.)

Dave Grohl bucks out of the gates from the first song and doesn’t let up for the entire show.Credit: Flavio Brancaleone

To see his fluffy tresses soaked to a snaky, sweaty mess so quickly, bouncing in time above his low-slung Gibson guitar, plunges the crowd into a frenzy of adulation that barely, rarely lets up until the show’s 11pm close.

The energy of hard-hitting new drummer, Josh Freese, is showcased early, too, with the screens playing to his Ryan Gosling-esque grin and Energiser Bunny exuberance. Putting the spotlight so fondly on Freese – described later by Grohl as “the guy who made it possible for us to tour again” – is a touching way to bring him into “the Foos” fold, after the 2022 death of drummer Taylor Hawkins.

Grohl’s band introductions are an excuse to cover snippets of AC/DC (Thunderstruck), Beastie Boys (Sabotage), Devo (Whip it) and Nine Inch Nails (March of the Pigs). Barricade to bleachers, we lap it up.

Foo Fighters’ 11th record, But Here We Are, came out this year, but the people-pleasing set list dips into all their eras, featuring I’ll Stick Around and This Is a Call from their 1995 self-titled debut, and Everlong from 1997.

No rock’n’roll cliche is left unexplored in Foo Fighters’ explosive show.Credit: Flavio Brancaleone

Grohl gags about playing “mouldy oldies” but the band’s line-up is largely intact – including bassist and Nirvana live member Pat Smear – which means the old hits remain satisfyingly pungent.

New or old, most songs are jammed out and rammed with solos, banter, a cappella interludes or peeling back to let the crowd sing. Many times a song seems wrapped when the chorus pounces back and sprints to a close.

Notable in the crowd are more teenagers than you’d expect to worship a 28-year-old band. Grohl notes the phenomena too, saying it’s more pronounced in Australia than elsewhere.

Grohl is a tap on full blast all night. And because of him, nearly exclusively, every riff seems a victory, every drum fill a triumph. Magically, however, the live show masks the awkward truth that Foo Fighters have some very middle-of-the-road songs. Some of the lyrics could be taught as the formula of formulaic. Yet if it’s hard to divorce this truth from Grohl’s intense likeability when listening to Foo Fighters’ record – that task proves impossible live.

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