Foo Fighters at Metro | Live review + photo gallery
It's been an amazing week for live rock music in Chicago. Mine started Monday at Wrigley Field with Paul McCartney's three-hour set and then, after two full days of Lollapalooza (and one left to go), it hit a new high with the epic, nearly two-and-a-half-hour Foo Fighters show at Metro Saturday night that set up the band for Sunday's Lolla-closing set.
After a rousing set from hard-charging Wales trio The Joy Formidable, Foo Fighters' avuncular ringleader Dave Grohl started his portion of the intimate evening off right by saying, "We're going to do the whole new record [Wasting Light] and then a bunch of old shit." A bit over 50 full-throttle and full-throated minutes later ("White Limo" was a standout), Grohl said, "That was the new record," dumped a bottle of water on his head and joined a three-guitar attack on pretty much every FF hit you can think of ("Best of You," "My Hero," "Everlong," "Monkey Wrench," "Times Like These," "Learn to Fly"—you get the idea), with the audience singing along to all of those hookarific choruses. (Interestingly, although it's the 20th anniversary of both Lolla and Nirvana's Nevermind, Grohl never mentioned the latter milestone and name-checked his former band only once.)
Throughout, Grohl penned a love letter to Metro, where the Foo Fighters first played in Chicago and where they keep coming back (one Halloween, he said, they took the stage dressed as Cheap Trick, but no one got the joke). Grohl dedicated "Skin and Bones" (which he said was inspired by being so skinny out on the road that people kept asking him if he was sick) to club owner Joe Shanahan. He also put in a plug for Cubby Bear down the block, where he saw his first rock show, Naked Raygun, in 1982, and gave a big shout-out to Lolla founder Perry Farrell, without whom, Grohl said, "I don't think any of us would be here."
Ever the gum-cracking showman, Grohl even waded into the crowd, playing his guitar as he made his way up to the balcony only to lower his axe down into the main-level crowd and invite clubgoers to play it as it made its way back to the stage. One patron managed to walk away with a souvenir. "Who's got the fucking knob for my guitar?" Grohl demanded before adding, "Keep it!" After swapping out guitars for a song, he was fully back in business. At times, it seemed as if the Foos might outlast the audience buttressed by Grohl's improbably melodic screams. When the band first left the stage, it took only a five-minute break before returning for a blistering encore.
Even though they said they were coming off a five-week break from playing together, the Foos were sharp and tight, with drummer Taylor Hawkins, wisely shirtless on this hot August night when patrons were stacked to the rafters, displaying both tremendous stamina and stellar chops. One of the best arena-rock bands around, the Foos gave those lucky enough to be at Metro an incredibly special night. They won't top it at Lolla, but if you missed them Saturday night, you can get a good taste of their live magic on the big Grant Park stage.