Facts & Figures
Venue: Sportpaleis, Antwerp, Belgium
Bandmembers: Dave Grohl (vocals, guitar), Pat Smear (rythm-guitar), Chris Chiflett (leadguitar),
Nate Mendel (bass-guitar), Rami Jaffee (keyboard), Taylor Hawkins (drums)
Band Roots: USA – California
Supporting Act : Wolf Alice
a NOISE – report
The year before, I caught the Foo Fighters at the Festivalpark of Werchter. Start of the summer it was. The weather was hot, the atmosphere damp and the crowds were willing. Willing to witness the kick-off of their ‘Concrete and Gold’ world-tour.
Right about these days, I distinctively recall an interview with the band. In light of the launch of the new album, they explained vigorously how the next 2 years would be completely dedicated to touring the world in order to promote the freshly canned recordings. And I asked myself, if Jules Vernes was able to take a tour around the world in eighty days… Might I remind you that this was over a century ago … Why would it take a contemporary rockband such as the Foo’s, over 2 years? Maybe they’re stuck learning to fly that hot-air balloon. Maybe they’re stuck with shitty wheels and lousy back-up generators. Or maybe, this being the most plausible hypothesis, I’m the one stuck on having no f*cking clue what so ever.
So, let’s see if a well-thought-out performance analysis will shed some enlightenment over the enigma.
N – Needs
What I needed at the time was a sweet parting gift for my 2 trusted colleagues. I was on the look-out for an event that would please two extremes. On the one hand a ‘hard-trash-metal’,’all-things-black’ kind’a dude and on the other hand a ‘soft-frivolous-techno’,’all-things-glitter’ kind’a chick.
When Spotify notified me of the upcoming event, I knew I had found the compromise I had been looking for. Don’t ask me why but I felt like I was in the clear on this one. And so it seemed … Regardless of the fact that filling up an arena with the capacity to hold 23.000 people, makes you an artist of interest, both my colleagues seemed genuinely cheered-up with the surprise.
O – Opportunities
Taking your attention off his almighty Grohl, throwing around his usual explicit F-word vocabulary, ain’t like shooting fish in a barrel. The all-encompassing eminence grise, plays the crowds much like the strings on his guitar. However, he proved not too shy to turn the spotlight to some of his fellow bandmembers. He gave them an unadulterated shot at showing the best of themselves. In Taylor’s case we witnessed the routine drum-solo and meanwhile cut-and-dried Queen-cover. In Chris’ case, the audience got nailed to the spot when Alice Cooper’s ‘Under My Wheels’ sprouted out of his vocal chords. And even newest bandmember Rami, got to pull open all registers on his keyboard, taking on John Lennon’s ‘Imagine‘. Dave sweetly mashed that up with the mighty Van Halen’s ‘Jump’. Now that’s true bromance for you!
I – Improvements
Since we all know I actually and quite frankly, know sh*t about music, I won’t be tempted to criticize the vocal nor instrumental capabilities of the band. From what I hear from actual music-critics, that comes close to perfection anyway. However, that doesn’t mean I’ll let them off easy …
Let’s talk image. The image that got scorched on my retina’s was Mr. Shiflet’s Hawaiian print, radiating of his T-shirt. What in the name of sweet Marigold and Josef, ever happened to his charming ‘Lucky Luke’-likeness? Safe to say I’m generally not a big fan of the commercial Hawaiian-printed apparel.
Same goes by the way for moustaches. Judging from most of the earlier videoclips, you’d expect just another aging drag queen. However I do admit, drumming ‘Surfer-dude’ looks quiet fancy (or should I say ‘rad’) in his shorts. But honestly, can we lose the moustache, Taylor? Razors were invented for a f*cking good reason!
Well, I guess as long as Dave doesn’t start wearing those 2 infamous breads again or manbuns start invading those luscious hairdo’s, I’ll let you guys off the hook.
S – Strenghts
Every soul attending could tell that most, if not all, of the spectacle has become a scripted routine-play without all too many ‘ad hoc’ or sly innuendo’s. However like many of the souls attending, I’ll stick around for more. The duality between being bad-ass rocklegends and a teddybear-hearted ‘dad-band’, is just a too enchanting and mesmerizing combination.
I’m sure the spontaneous character of the evening would be stimulated in much smaller settings. Yes, I’d sure like to see them try that again for a change. But a blasting routine-show … still is a blast. No further comment needed.
E – Exceptions
Exceptions confirm the rules, right? So what rules do these Fighters impose upon us? FOO-lish ones, no doubt. Moreover, they’re surprisingly consistent in bringing their audiences up to speed on their code of the house for the night. Before each show, somehow, right out of f*cking nowhere, a list of prohibited items just magically leaks.
I most certainly remember a strict prohibition towards derogatory press clippings of Shania Twain. With God as my witness, I swear there was a giant light-banner, circling the arena and advertising Shania’s next concert at the same venue. Genuine, undisputable nepotism if you ask me. I wonder what Ms. Twain had to do to get in the Foo’s good graces.
Likewise a prohibition was set on big bags. But I got in with a ginormous one. Ergo, so much for granting rock stars their caprices. Although that could probably be due to the fact that I look like a sweet, goody-two-shoes, poor-brained, 26-year old schoolgirl (if you look hard enough).
In conclusion, let’s get back to topic. Why tour the world in 2 years? Hell, if you spend half your time cooking up quirky lists, that might get your focus of the road. Nonetheless, with such a huge congregation of fans and such a vast audience, I bet they could very well have toured for up to a decade. They would still have been filling up entire arena’s. Seems like we simply never grow tired of you…
So spread the word forward and play that fucking music, wild boys!