For his first live review, our newest correspondent, Chad Baalman, took on a big assignment in the Foo Fighters show on Saturday night at the Scottrade Center. We commend his attention to detail with the lengthy set list and sticking it out through the marathon show.
By Chad Baalman
“We’re going to play a song for every one of you. We’re going to play 12,000 (expletive) songs.”
OK, so Dave Grohl was kidding when he told the Scottrade Center crowd Saturday night just how much music he and Foo Fighters had in store for them. Still, the Foos unleashed a relentless 2-hour, 45-minute set on the third stop of their North American tour that undoubtedly left fans exhausted.
Grohl took a dig at the bands who punch the clock under two hours and proceeded to give fans the requisite Foo Fighters hits, a couple covers, two solo acoustic numbers by the ex-Nirvana drummer himself and eight songs from the band’s most recent release, Wasting Light.
Two songs from that album kicked off the show. The opener “Bridge Burning” gave Grohl a chance to loosen up the vocal chords from the start as he screamed the opening lyrics, “These are famous last words!!”
Fans didn’t have to worry. Grohl (lead vocals, rhythm guitars) had plenty left in the tank for the marathon set. He and his band mates — Chris Shiflett (lead guitars), Pat Smear (rhythm guitars), Nate Mendel (bass), Taylor Hawkins (drums) and Rami Jaffee (touring member – keyboards) — pumped the Scottrade Center full of energy with “The Pretender,” with Grohl even giving a subtle nod to local legend Chuck Berry with a little duck walk during the number.
The show was only three songs old, yet the Foos had the crowd eating out of their hands and signing along in unison with a rousing rendition of “My Hero,” the first of three songs from their sophomore 1997 disc, The Colour and the Shape.
The songs came at a rapid-fire pace as Grohl, when we wasn’t chugging a Beck’s, kept the amount of stage banter relatively low. He added some more local flavor to the show as he recalled playing at Mississippi Nights, the famous, now-closed Laclede’s Landing nightclub (Nirvana’s 1991 show there was high-(or low)lighted by a mini riot). He also called out acts that relied on computers to beef up their sound and referred to his band as “guys just playing instruments as best we can.”
Hawkins took the mic for “Cold Day in the Sun,” but his day job as the drummer for the Foos is where he shines the brightest. Hawkins brought it big-time on Saturday, abusing the drums as much on the last song of the evening as he did at the start.
Yet it’s clear that the multi-talented Grohl stands front and center for the Foos. Grohl took strolls down the long catwalk that divided the floor in half and endeared himself to fans with self-depreciation and humility when he did work the crowd. He gave off the vibe of being a blue-collared, hard-working rock star even though the spotlight is often on him. He cozied up to the crowd by saying, “I wish we lived in the same apartment building and we could do this every night. With no consequences, no rules.”
The middle portion of the 26-song set list was highlighted by “Walk,” the second single from Wasting Light in which the band kept the emotion and intensity building throughout. The momentum continued with the straight-ahead, 100 mph rocker “Monkey Wrench.”
Grohl and the gang deftly mixed in melodies like “Learn to Fly,” “This is a Call” and “These Days” with the aforementioned rockers. In another change of pace, Grohl kicked off the seven-song encore on a riser in the back of the arena with two acoustic solo efforts — “Wheels” and “Best of You.”
The Foos covered Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers with “Breakdown” and the smiles were proof the band had fun with it. But the end was near with the midnight hour approaching and they closed things out with a bang with “Everlong.”
The fans at Scottrade Center got a little bit of everything from Foo Fighters on Saturday and it’s hard to imagine many of them walking away from the concert feeling shortchanged.
Even if they didn’t get 12,000 songs.
Foo Fighters set list – Scottrade Center, St. Louis, MO – 9/17/2011
1. Bridge Burning
3. The Pretender
4. My Hero
5. Learn to Fly
6. White Limo
9. Cold Day in the Sun
10. Long Road to Ruin
11. Stacked Actors
14. Monkey Wrench
15. These Days
16. I Should Have Known
17. Skin and Bones
18. This is a Call
19. All My Life
21. Best of You
22. Times Like These
23. Young Man Blues (Mose Allison cover)
24. Dear Rosemary
25. Breakdown (Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers cover)