The Foo Fighters brought their Sonic Highways world tour to Rogers Arena last night. With the help of Austin blues rocker Gary Clark Jr., they blew the goddamn roof off the venue. It was a memorable night of passionate music, and excited fans.
I was quick to take my seat before Gary Clark Jr’s set. As an avid fan of his smooth vocals and crunchy guitar work, I was eager to finally see him live. Mr. Clark strolled on to the stage with his accompanying band mates, and dove head first into their set. The rich melodic tones of his guitar echoed through the arena and sent chills down my spine. The first thing I noticed was how much richer his sound was in real life. Even though the mix of his albums are beautifully done, especially on 2012’s Blak and Blu, its just hard to capture them perfectly.
The entire set had me mesmerized. I was locked on, and just couldn’t look away. Gary worked his guitar with this effortless flow. At times I would be watching his finger work,it was like this intricate and graceful dance up and down the fret board; simply superb.
The band slid into Bright Lights, one of the most recognizable tracks from Blak and Blu. As I looked around the arena I saw the rhythmic swaying of those in attendance, many people that were talking stopped and also started rocking with the beat. Gary’s face was contorting as he willed the resonating notes from his 6-stringed instrument, he and the audience joined in this sort of perfect little symbiotic moment. Gary Clark Jr is one you need to watch out for. He is a force of change and to overlook him at this pivotal point in his career would only be your loss. The sky is the limit for this man.
The interlude between the opener and the headliner seemed longer than usual. Many people ventured out to gather refreshments and consume merchandise. I myself went out a scored one of the limited edition venue-specific posters, a guilty pleasure of mine.
As I returned, the house lights dimmed, and the audience began to cheer. The band started the night with All My Life from 2002’s One By One while the curtain still covered the stage. By the high point just before the chorus the curtain dropped and was sucked up into the rafters, while a tapestry of lights exploded from behind. It made for a very intense effect, and added a visual explosion to the auditory one in the song.
For those that don’t know, Dave Grohl broke his leg earlier in the tour. This meant that he needed to be sitting for the majority of the show. The band, a few months back, enlisted the help of their head lighting guru to create a custom rock throne. The end result is a rock n roll throne much like the infamous one from the popular HBO show Game Of Thrones. Only on this one the swords have been replaced with the necks of guitars and spinning stage lights. The high-end chair is on a track system that takes it from the main stage, up a catwalk to the very center of the arena floor. Thus making Grohl the star on the tree.
Dave and Taylor and Pat and Nate and Chris are glorious rock gods. They don’t mess around, they don’t pretend, they just show up and do what they love.
Dave is the main focal point and with his down to earth personality and a pinch of rock charisma his crowd interaction and inter-song banter is personal and down to earth.
The band played hard and fast. Mr. Grohl whipped around in his chair and aggressively while he strummed and thumbed his guitar. From a ways back it appeared as though he was doing battle with some ferocious beast.
The set included a couple of very tasty covers. First was Under Pressure, a song originally recorded by Queen and David Bowie back in the early 1980s. At the moment they started the song, Dave noticed a man standing on another mans shoulders. He was so impressed he asked everyone in the audience to do the same. The floor area became a see of piggy back and shoulder rides. The Bowie cover turned into a great sing a long moment. Next up was a cover of Bryan Adam’s Summer of ’69. It is important to note that this is the first time ever that the Foo Fighters has performed this song live. Even though Grohl fumbled the lyrics at one point, it was a really special part of the night.
The Foo made a point of explaining that they don’t do encores. They see them as silly and a waste of time. What they do instead is just keep playing until they are not allowed to play any longer. This means they play huge sets. last night they played for nearly two and half hours. Their set list covered 26 songs (all listed below).
It is impressive to see band at this level play with such intensity and with such big smiles strewn across their faces. They love it. They love their fans. They love what they do.
This was a very special night. Gary Clark Jr blew our minds and then the Foo Fighters rocked our souls.
I want to thank all the musicians. You made this a very special night for all, and we thank you for that.
All My Life
Times Like These
Learn to Fly
Something From Nothing
Up in Arms
Cold Day in the Sun
(Preceded by the band intro)
Under Pressure (Queen & David Bowie cover)
Summer of ’69 (Bryan Adams cover – first time ever)
Best of You
This Is a Call
Skin and Bones