Foo Fighters in Dublin: ‘This is the perfect f**king gig’
Review: Only once during the RDS gig did Dave Grohl and friends take a foot off the gas
Dave Grohl in action as the Foo Fighters play the RDS. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw/The Irish Times
Fresh off the back of Monday night’s Belfast gig, Foo Fighters returned for their first show in the Republic since the sold-out mudfield of Slane Castle in 2015. “You guys like a bit of rain don’t you?” Dave Grohl asked as the stage lights highlighted the constant drizzle.
Grohl is one of music’s most well-known personalities. His work, through several bands, and his personality have been ingrained into pop culture for nearly 25 years.
Not even a broken leg could keep the nicest guy in rock ’n’ roll out of action. After falling off a stage in Sweden in 2015, Grohl quickly sketched out a chair made of guitars and played a series of gigs from atop his new pedestal.
The Irish doctor who treated him, Freddy Murray – “this Irish bastard tortured me” – had My Hero sung in his honour.
Drummer Taylor Hawkins has recently confirmed they’ll start work on a new album once the tour wraps up. But is there still petrol left in the tank?
The guitar rock band have released nine albums, most of which have not been without their criticisms. Echoes, Silence, Patience and Grace received fairly lukewarm critical reception in 2007 but that might be the harshest thing said about any of their records. Given the band’s ability to consistently sell out stadiums, it’s fair to say they’ve never suffered setbacks from the pens of critics.
Foos fans certainly weren’t listening to the critics as they made their way to a sold-out RDS in Dublin on a damp Wednesday night.
Opening act Hot Milk released their debut single Awful Ever After in March but they’ve already bagged a few other big support slots. Even though their emo/pop style felt a little out of place, they quickly got the continuously growing crowd on side with an energetic set.
Second support act Frank Carter and the Rattlesnakes took the gig up another gear. “Safety first but this is f**kin’ rock and roll,” might have been the wisest words of the night from Carter. Crowdsurfing and mosh pits were encouraged but for women only. Carter made it clear that their set was a safe space for women and that sentiment didn’t seem lost on the crowd.
Darkness crept in as the main act burst onto the stage with The Pretender. Only once over the course of the set did Grohl and friends take their foot off the gas – for a stripped-back, slowed-down rendition of Wheels, when the whole stadium was lit up by mobile phone torches.
Grohl isn’t one to hog the spotlight. Taylor Hawkins’s platform rose above the stage for a delicate but driving drum solo before he took over lead vocals for Sunday Rain, which he dedicated to Larry Mullen jnr.
They threw in a smattering of Queen, some Ziggy for zest and a bit of Thin Lizzy (not forgetting to remember Lynott’s 70th birthday was this week), for a diverse set of old tunes alongside their best hits and well-executed covers.
The crowd never settled for a moment, following every note and lyric. The rain died off towards the end of the set, not that audience seemed to have really noticed it. They were too busy learning, or in most cases probably re-learning, why Foo Fighters are one of music’s biggest acts.
As Grohl himself said: ‘This is the perfect f**king gig.’ Few in the RDS could disagree as they slowly made their way out to the chorus of Best of You.