Life must be hard for Dave Grohl. He must wake up and have no idea what to do with himself. Jam with John Paul Jones? Beer with Lemmy? Smoke a fattie with Josh Homme? Poor sod. Having one of the most impressive CVs in rock ‘n’ roll must be hard. People expect a lot, like great albums – something which Foo Fighters have failed to deliver for the past decade. Don’t get me wrong, the singles have been good but the albums as a whole have been lacking since 1999’s There Is Nothing Left To Lose.
Regardless, there are moments in your life when you hear about a gig and instantly know that you cannot miss it for the world. We felt like this when Kiss played Islington Academy last year, so when news broke of Foo Fighters playing a secret show at Camden Dingwalls, we knew we had to be there. Whatever it takes. Right?
Six things we learned from the secret Foo Fighters London show:
- Outside the realm of prog, when a band walks out and announce they will be playing the new album in its entirety, it’s not usually the best news, is it? Especially if the album isn’t even out yet and only two complete tracks have been heard. When it’s a secret gig in a sweaty Camden club however, things are very different. A live showcase of this new album – Wasting Light – goes down very well, and it’s great to hear the Foo Fighters returning to a grittier rock sound. It could easily be the best album they’ve released in a long while.
- It’s nothing short of wonderful to see Pat Smear back on stage with Dave Grohl. There’s always been a strong chemistry between them, going all the way back to Nirvana’s 1993 In Utero tour and Foo Fighters were very much in their prime when Pat was originally in the band. It seems he may even have influenced tonight’s setlist, which is very much focused on the band’s earlier, far superior records.
- Tonight isn’t the first time Foo Fighters have played a secret show at Dingwalls – they stopped here in July 2007 just after recording Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace and it’s obvious why they’ve returned. The venue acoustics are immaculate and the wall of noise coming from the new five-piece lineup lacks no clarity whatsoever.
- Dave Grohl has always been one of the most endearing entertainers out there. Even behind the kit in his former band, he exuded that frontman confidence and was usually the most outspoken. Tonight he is as charismatic and comical as ever, professing his love for smaller shows whilst playing the intros to songs like ‘Breaking The Law’ and ‘Eye Of The Tiger’. He even manages to sneak Chuck Berry licks into ‘Monkey Wrench’. Crazy fool.
- Not many bands have enough hits to span out a two and half hour set. Even if they do, a set that long can easily get tiresome. In all honesty only the Iron Maidens of this world can really captivate a crowd’s attention for that long, and tonight Foo Fighters proved their right to be considered an artist of that calibre in 30 songs.
- Highlights of the set included ‘Enough Space’, ‘Hey, Johnny Park!’, ‘For All The Cows’ and most notably ‘Aurora’ which sounded astronomic with the triple guitar setup. With Pat Smear back in the band as a full time member (not just a touring guitarist) and a new record that is strikingly less polished than their recent efforts, this could be the year we see Foo Fighters step back out of mediocrity up to where they should be.
Foo Fighters @ Camden Dingwalls setlist:
Back & Forth
Matter of Time
Miss The Misery
I Should Have Known
All My Life
Up in Arms
Times Like These
Cold Day in the Sun
Long Road to Ruin
I’ll Stick Around
For All The Cows
Hey, Johnny Park!
Young Man Blues (The Who cover)
This is a Call