Foo Fighters stand strong in St. Paul
Foo Fighters at Xcel Energy Center
Seated in a throne that he designed while being “heavily medicated”, singer / guitarist Dave Grohl commanded the attention of the capacity crowd at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul before the curtain even dropped. He screamed out “Are you ready?” over and over, and when the curtain finally dropped to start the show, there he was center stage, head-banging out the band’s biggest hit “Everlong” — his good leg kicking while his broken right leg was held up high. I couldn’t help but laugh at the spectacle.
For the next few songs, Grohl hammed it up with the crowd to the point I almost felt embarrassed. Before Dave Grohl broke his leg falling from stage back in June, his presence was everywhere in music. His HBO show and accompanying Foo Fighters’ album Sonic Highways, put him in the press a lot last year with Grohl thematically saying that music is more than just music, it is a response to the conditions and feelings of the cities it is created in. And now continuing to play shows on the rebranded “Broken Leg” tour, it almost felt too much. But then the music took over at Xcel and I laid all judgement to rest.
Five songs in, Grohl’s throne glided on rails into the middle of the crowd and the band rocked out their 2007 single “The Pretender”. During the bridge, the band broke down into a rockabilly-style groove and Dave picked out a guy in the crowd, prodding him to dance along with everyone else. The guy finally abided and Grohl said “It feels good, doesn’t it?” And it did feel good. It felt really good — as did the rest of the show.
Armed with a small accordion, keyboardist Rami Jaffee joined Dave Grohl at the end of the platform in the crowd for two acoustic songs, including one of the biggest highlights of the night, “My Hero”. The crowd sang the chorus with a deafening volume. “All My Life” followed a few songs later, and had the crowd moving more than it had all night. Soon after, drummer Taylor Hawkins sang out the David Bowie classic “Under Pressure” and it sounded fantastic.
“These Days”, from the band’s exceptional 2011 release Wasting Light, followed a few songs later and was lyrically moving. It was my favorite song played all night. Then the Foo Fighters started a keg party by covering the Van Halen hits “Ain’t Talking About Love” and “Panama” back to back, with Hawkins again taking lead vocal duty. He wasn’t finished either, as the band followed with the funky Rolling Stones’ song “Miss You”. Guitarist Chris Shiflett absolutely shredded the guitar solo on his gorgeous gold Gibson Les Paul. It was impressive.
Before the show ended after nearly three hours with “Best of You”, Dave Grohl joked that next time they were in St. Paul they’d start at three in the afternoon and play for eight hours straight. Like when he exclaimed to the crowd early in the set that they were the best and loudest crowd of any city on their US tour so far, I questioned some of Grohl’s arena rock dialogue on this night. But I know if given the chance, he and the rest of the Foo Fighters would play for eight hours straight. Grohl’s love for music cannot be questioned. It is true, and even broken leg cannot stop him from rocking hard to an arena full of fans. Foo Fighters at Xcel Energy Center was outstanding, I just hope next time Dave Grohl leaves a little of that ham in the fridge.
Foo Fighters – Xcel Energy Center, St. Paul, MN – August 22, 2015 Setlist
Learning to Fly
Something From Nothing
Times Like These
Cold Day in the Sun
Skin and Bones (acoustic)
My Hero (acoustic)
All My Life
Under Pressure (David Bowie cover) *
This is a Call
Ain’t Talking About Love (Van Halen cover) *
Panama (Van Halen cover) *
Miss You (Rolling Stones cover) *
Best of You
*Taylor Hawkins on vocals
Photo by Hayley Madden