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Foo Fighters, Wembley Arena | reviews, news & interviews

Foo Fighters, Wembley Arena

Foo Fighters, Wembley Arena

Godlike Genius Dave Grohl roars back with a rejuvenated five-piece line-up

Fresh from being anointed a Godlike Genius at this week's Shockwaves NME Awards, Dave Grohl celebrated with a roaring two-hour set with his recharged Foo Fighters at Wembley Arena, still a dismal dive despite the major refurbishment which put the entrance at the wrong end. However, Dave basks in the reputation of being the Nicest Man in Rock and a thoroughly good egg (Lemmy says so, and nobody argues with him), and he successfully flooded this unprepossessing shed with good vibes mixed with shattering quantities of decibels.

As he reminded us, this was the Foo Fighters' first full-scale gig for nearly two years, and Grohl was almost bouncing off the walls with pent-up energy. Though former member Pat Smear has rejoined, meaning that the quintet now has three guitarists, Grohl still played all the juiciest riffs and most of the guitar solos while the others bumbled around behind him in the mix. Apart from "Cold Day in the Sun", which was sung by drummer Taylor Hawkins, Grohl handled all the lead vocals too. The latter function occasionally proved a little too much, notably in "Learn to Fly" where his singing sounded a couple of tones adrift, but mostly this was a gargantuan performance.

A new Foos album, Wasting Light, is due in April, and they previewed a few tracks here. They opened with the walloping "Bridge Burning" and later crashed through the clipped and tense "Rope", but the best of the new ones was "These Days", which displayed the vintage Foo virtues of simplicity and tunefulness washed down with gallons of powerchords.

Yet another of Grohl's hats is Master of Ceremonies, a role he tackles with commendable thoroughness. He actually sounds believable when he expresses his appreciation for the way his British fans have stuck with the band for 16 years. "For you guys, I'm just gonna play all the good songs," he promised, and by and large he wasn't lying. What else would you expect from a man who harbours an implausible obsession with EastEnders (which he watches on BBC iPlayer), and who once had his picture taken with Cindy Beale? (Foo Fighters at Wembley Arena, pictured below.)

foos_stageAlthough Grohl deserves a clip round the ear for not including "Gimme Stitches", this was mostly a throttles-open blast through the core of the Foos' catalogue. "Times Like These" struck a poignant, heroic-but-battered note, and Grohl had no trouble getting almost the entire crowd to sing along to the measured surge of "My Hero". The restless major-to-minor changes of "Generator" would have been even more effective if the sound mix hadn't lurched out of control halfway through, but the band regained control with a crushing "Stacked Actors" and a pulverising "Hey, Johnny Park!" "Monkey Wrench" couldn't replicate the layers of detail from the recording, but compensated with a steamhammer beat which welded together primitive punk and speed-metal.

The show ended with "Skin and Bones" and the elegiac "Best of You", but the surprise package was a blast through Mose Allison's "Young Man Blues", played raw and livid like The Who did it on Live at Leeds. The Who's Roger Daltrey had joined the Foos for an impromptu version of the song at the NME Awards on Wednesday. Tonight, of course, the indefatigable Grohl played both Daltrey and Pete Townshend.

Watch Dave Grohl interview from the Shockwaves NME Awards

Comments

Grohl energy level was really startled.His fans definitely enjoyed such a glorious performance by him.Mose Allison at the end section of t he show was really awesome.

I am a Take That fan and waisting for their live tour for latest album Progress.I did not experience other bands but my friend insisted to b a part of Arena show and I must say it was awesome.

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