TD Garden, Boston, MA
Wednesday, November 16, 2011Support
– Social Distortion, Joy Formidable.
Wrapping up their US tour in Boston was cause for celebration for the Foo Fighters, and they celebrated all right, with a “just under” three hour performance full of hits from their seven studio albums and a few covers.
Hitting the stage just about 9pm the members took the stage hidden by large light fixtures. Facing the stage you had guitarist Chris Shiflett to the left, singer, guitarist Dave Grohl in the middle with wild man drummer Taylor Hawkins up high on his riser. Bassist Nate Mendel and guitarist Pat Smear finished off the line of guys that would create this wall of sound. Opening with “Bridge Burning” they'd waste little time hitting the audience with the sound and visuals.
The band would run through a few songs further before a rowdy and Grohl heavily requested sing along to “My Hero” early in the set. Grohl is an engaging front man. At times he struck the rock star pose and soaked in the roars, then he'd bait the audience with the fact they'd be playing a “smoking 1hr and 15 minute set”. Confused cheers, but more boos seemed to rain down on the band. Grohl would continue his tease asking if 90 minutes would be okay? 2 hours? 2 hours 15 minutes. Finally he said they'd go for 3 hours and they came pretty darn close. I'll get to how they “cheated” some in a minute.
Mid set Grohl would run down the catwalk that divided the general admission floor area. He'd point, strike a pose and stop on a small stage, that would later become elevated towards the back of the arena.
With the main set there was much to be happy with ranging from Learn to Fly, to Breakout to the Hawkins lead “Cold Day in the Sun” Shiflett and Smear provided the barrage of sound with Shiflett really showcasing his skills at the right time. Always steady Mendel is just fun to watch although all night I kept thinking he was Thom York's twin for some reason.
The band would wrap up the main set with a run of “This is a Call”, to which Grohl said this was probably the first song played as a band, which ran in to a cover of Pink Floyd's “In the Flesh?” (again lead vocals by Hawkins) and the set would wrap up with “All My Life”.
Now here is where the “3 hours” comes in to question. Don't get me wrong, the band was playing..a lot..and moving..a lot etc. The band leaves the stage and after 2-3-4 minutes of people cheering and techs tuning stuff we suddenly go backstage with video. Its shot in “night vision” and there is Grohl and Hawkins hamming it up for the camera. There is no audio but its them “trying to decide” how many songs to play. They'd hold up one finger, crowd cheers, they do the “I can't hear you” move (holding hand to ear). This goes on, and on...and on...and on...until the band “settles” on a six song encore. Part of me wished I timed this..but I am going to say from the moment they left the stage until Dave came back out was close to ten minutes. Also to further question the “three hours” was some questionable extended versions of the tunes...drawn out solos and the like. Not that any of it was not fun, but jam bands can play a three song set and have it be ninety minutes, but you'd expect it there.
Enough of that...so the encore begins and its just Grohl on the small stage in the rear of the venue. He is on acoustic guitar and talks to the audience at the back and says “This is for section zzz row zzz seat zzzz”. Three tunes are played there acoustically, “Wheels”, “Best of You” and before he started “Times like These” he said he could get the audience to do the “Wave” with just his face...sure enough it was done, and he made fun of everyone. “Times Like These” started acoustic and about half way in to it Grohl ran back down the catwalk, grabbed an electric guitar and hit the main stage. They'd play “Dear Rosemary” which went in to a cover of Tom Petty's “Breakdown”. The show ended with “Everlong” to a ravenous and loud reception. The audience, looking about as beat as the band seemed to have had enough, and seemed very satisfied.
All the “slags” I might have given very few, if any, rock bands give shows of this length. They worked the stage, they worked the audience and they didn't shy away from the hits. Two covers is a bit for a band with this much material and the lag between the set and encore bugged me personally, but it was money well spent.
Social Distortion was straight and to the point. I've never seen them live and they were good, did what they needed to do, but slowed their tunes down to much. “Ball and Chain” seemed slower in tempo and it seemed to hurt them I thought. Even the rowdy cover of Johnny Cash's “Ring of Fire” that closed the set failed to really get going. Sadly I missed the much buzz about Wales band “Joy Formidable” due to traffic. I'll see them headline in Rhode Island in a day, so that should make up for it.
Learn to Fly
Cold Day in the Sun
Let it Die
This is a Call
In the Flesh? (Pink Floyd)
All My Life
Wheels (Dave solo acoustic)
Best of You (Dave solo, acoustic)
Times Like These (solo, then to full band)
Breakdown (Tom Petty)
(the picture I took of Dave on the catwalk stage towards the back of the venue..not the best I realize)
Labels: live review