Thursday, February 28, 2008

Concert Review: Foo Fighters @ Allstate Arena, Chicago 2-25-2008

by Wayne Graham

In a word? Incredible. In thirteen words? The Foo Fighters have perfected the art of the Big Arena Rock Show.

After spirited (and well-received) opening sets by Against Me! and Serj Tankian, Dave Grohl and the gang took the stage to "Let it Die" from their very fine Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace album. From that point 'til the end of their two-hour set, they served up one perfectly executed display of power pop-infused hard rock after another. And the sold-out audience gobbled it up.

The band touched on the best, the best, the best, the best of each of their 6 studio albums, with each member of the band (Grohl, firecracker drummer Taylor Hawkins, lead guitarist Chris Shifflet, and bassist Nate Mendel) playing with a hearty amount of Bruce Springsteen and The E Street Band-style gusto. Grohl, as always, was the perfect Master of Ceremonies, combining infectious enthusiasm, non-stop kinetic cheerleading, and--without a doubt--the most hilarious stage banter of anyone touring the globe today. (Sorry, Paul Stanley)

The band blasted through a string of fist-pumping anthems (punctuated by a guitar duel and a terrific Hawkins drum solo) before traveling with their auxiliary touring members--former full-time Fighter Pat Smear on third guitar, a keyboard player, a mutli-percussionist, and a violin/cello player--down a catwalk to a small, circular satellite stage in the center of arena. Here, they played a series of exuberant, oddly intimate (for Allstate Arena, anyway) acoustic/semi-acoustic numbers. The band truly excelled during this portion, especially on a stunning version of "My Hero." Grohl played "Everlong" Live Earth-style, alone with his guitar on the center stage, before joining the rest of the band on the mainstage for the song's explosive conclusion. From there, they delivered the rest of the hits, turned up to 11.

I had seen FF three times prior to this gig, and this one was easily the best of the bunch. With every year, the Foo Fighters grow in stature within the hard rock community, and their live prowess grows right with it. Do not miss them on this tour.

Let It Die
The Pretender
Times Like These
Learn To Fly
Cheer Up Boys, Your Makeup Is Running
This is a Call
Stacked Actors
Skin And Bones
My Hero
Cold Day In The Sun
But, Honestly
Monkey Wrench
All My Life

Big Me
Long Road To Ruin
Best Of You

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