We’d caught the bus from downtown Auckland along with the throngs of black-clad Foo Fighters fans, young and old…and yes, I was among the latter.
After ½ an hour of queuing to get our bus tickets, we then queued a further ½ an hour to get ON the bus!
On the bus there was a pleasantly buzzy atmosphere...although sitting in rush hour traffic was a bit of a bummer - we also collectively realised at approximately 5.45pm that we had missed the first support act, Cairo Knife Fight.
As we arrived, in the pouring rain, we were greeted by the sounds of splashing feet, drunken youths playing in the mud and the racket that turned out to be a very energetic hardcore punk band called F##ked Up.
Lead “singer”, Damian Abraham, was in full flight as we entered the gate…crushed beer cup stuck to his forehead, growling and screaming his guttural (and frankly unintelligible) vocals into a mic that he’d taken into the crowd of feral punk fans. He gleefully leapt about in the rain, shirtless (this man is a hairy, obese whale of a man) and was fully engaging and entertaining – while at the same time entirely off-putting. Maybe he just reminded me a little too much of a drunk me...
Several explosive …um…songs later, they were all done. My ears had started to ring. It was raining again.
Needless to say, it was a festival-like atmosphere. Rain, several bands on the line-up and booze aplenty. Mud, drunkenness and music...it's just GOT to be good.
We kicked back on the terraces to await the mighty Tenacious D…a couple of beers later and they arrived…fully amped up, bellies pushing their guitars out as far as their arms could reach.
Damn! This is going to be good… Kielbasa Sausage was the first song of the night for the boys…they made it sound like metal. It was AMPED…imagine turning your amp up to 11…that’s how amped it was!
They played almost their entire repertoire, from both their self-titled album and their “soundtrack” album Pick of Destiny. They even threw in a couple of covers – Pinball Wizard was a highlight.
Kyle Gass was his usual virtuoso self on the lead acoustic, with a guy who looked suspiciously like a skinny Dave Grohl in disguise on lead electric guitar. All too soon it was over. An hour of the D…I couldn’t have asked for more, really. I’d had 4 beers, listened to some great music, seen a comedy show and had a wet bum. I was having a good time.
A good ½ an hour passed between the D moving off stage and the first sounds of the unmistakable riff from All My Life starting to come from an as-yet unseen baby blue Gibson DG 335 guitar.
Then, like a bolt of lightning, there they were…The Dave Grohl Band…otherwise known as Foo Fighters. Hair flailing wildly in the wind, Grohl whipped the crowd of 50,000 soaking wet Aucklanders into a frenzy of mashing and head-banging. And just like that, the rain stopped.
Hard Rock? Oh yeah!
For 2 ½ hrs, these guys just kept coming – one blistering aural assault after another. They played 5 full songs before they even paused. And that was when Sir Dave…honorary New Zealander, most likable man in rock and generally all-round nice guy spoke. He said it was great to f##king be back in f##king New f##ing Zealand where they have the loudest f##king fans in the f##king world!
They say that the second coming will be preceded by the rise of Satan…he’ll be a charming, handsome man who has the world eating from the palm of his hand. That could aptly describe Dave Grohl. He’s chatty, witty and undeniably likeable & has the world at his feet…but he’s too nice to be Satan. Isn’t he? He sure rocks like he’s just come from the pits of hell. Hail Dave!
As he did last time he was here, he recalled the time they played the Mt Smart Supertop, back in the early 2000’s. They left the stage with bleeding ears. He’s never forgotten it. He loves that we’re such a small country with such a collectively loud voice. He really f##king loves us!
So…back to the concert. The Foos continued through a veritable hit-list of greatest hits and new songs off their recently released album Wasting Light. It was a sing-a-long in the most shouty and raw form. It was a party. It was time to go wild!
This, after all, was their last concert of their world tour. They were going out with a bang.
They did covers. Eruption suddenly sprang from Chris Shiflett’s lead guitar. The crowd went wild. They then broke into an impromptu rendition of “Runnin’ With The Devil” before announcing that they know the first thirty seconds of pretty much every f##king song ever f##king written.
This was going to be a long night.
They were having fun. Hell, everyone was having fun -even the 12 year old kid behind me who was being taken to his first rock show by his parents. He just couldn’t stop grinning.
Part way through the almost unbroken show, which was not so much cut up into sets in the traditional sense, but punctuated by Dave’s trademark chats with the crowd and the band, they launched into a full-bodied and gutsy rendition of Pink Floyd’s “In The Flesh”, from The Wall.
They ended the show with a real highlight for me...Tie Your Mother Down - a Queen classic, with the boys from tenacious D accompanying with backing vocals and interpretive dance - in nothing but their underpants and braces to hold them up.
To be honest – The Foo Fighters are as good a stadium band as they are an arena band. In an arena there’s the kind of connection with Dave that you can’t get in a stadium; but in a stadium, there’s an undeniable sense that you’re at a ROCK CONCERT. Oh...did i mention that Dave really f##king loves rock concerts?
The Foos know how to rock a stadium. I think 50,000 people will agree with me.