Dave Grohl Thanks Chicago For Influencing The Foo Fighters
By Tankboy in Arts & Entertainment on Aug 31, 2015 5:39PM
Pointing at the crowd, Grohl assured the masses they would lose their voices first, since he was "genetically predisposed" to non-stop screaming. And after hours and hours of listening to Grohl scream, we have to admit he was right. The show at Wrigley was a bit of a full circle for the band, coming near the end of their North American leg of the Sonic Highways tour—a tour they essentially kicked off last year with a show at Cubby Bear, the bar where Grohl saw his first punk rock show, —Naked Raygun— that set him on his path to rock and/or roll superstardom. Yep, Chicago created the Foo Fighters.
The whole evening was a tribute of sorts to the bands that helped Grohl along his musical journey. Openers Urge Overkill were indie darlings of the early '90s and Nirvana tour mates; Naked Raygun headlined the Cubby Bear show Grohl attended as a teen; and Cheap Trick is, well, Cheap Trick.
It was a rainy evening, Naked Raygun's Jeff Pezzati commented, "It's the damnedest thing. It never rains here for a Jimmy Buffet concert." His band still turned out a powerful set, despite the sogginess of the field (and the ever deepening puddles of water on the stage). Their potency was even more evident when compared to the Cheap Trick set that followed. The show was marred by poor song choices, bad timing and a plethora of unfortunate headgear. While Naked Raygun took their time slot as a chance to prove that they are far more than some punk rock nostalgia act, Cheap Trick was dangerously close to broadcasting the opposite message about themselves.
No bubble OR squeak allowed. Photo by Jim Kopeny / Tankboy
It took Cheap Trick far too long to stop indulging themselves and kick the set into high gear. Even despite that, Rick Nielsen's guitar work was amazing and expansive. We all know singer Robin Zander's rhythm guitar is turned way down in the mix, so Nielsen's guitar covers a lot of territory. Zanders' voice is still in fucking incredible shape though. The aural swoops on "Dream Police" were delivered flawlessly. So the band is in fine form, we just can't fathom their choices of pacing and setlist. At the end of the set, though, Nielsen did out-Oprah Oprah, tossing a hundred of guitar picks in ton the crowd. Think: You get a pick! And you get a pick! And YOU get a pick!
And then the Foo Fighters took the stage. Since Grohl broke his leg earlier this year while onstage, he's now stuck in a ridiculous rock and roll throne that zooms around the stage. It is so '70s and Spinal Tap-ish it's impossible to actually make fun of the thing because it is so obviously over the top it evades mocking. And the man is a living Muppet. We can't believe he doesn't re-break his leg every single night as he flops around in that throne like a deranged Animal. Despite being, arguably, the biggest modern rock band out there right now, Grohl and the Foo Fighters do not surf on past accomplishments—they still play as though this is very important stuff.
Photo by Jim Kopeny / Tankboy
The band opened with the trio of "Everlong," "Monkey Wrench" and "Learn to Fly,"—all testaments to their catalog that they can get away with playing at the front of their set without worrying about under-delivering as the evening goes along. C'mon, each of those could easily be a sucker-punch in the encore slot. And just before "Monkey Wrench," Grohl gave another shout out to Naked Raygun, screaming, "If it wasn't for your city I wouldn't fucking be here right now!"
Grohl ended up doing more shouting than singing throughout the show, and he obviously viewed the evening as more than just another tour date. This was his own version of a big, sloppy wet kiss to Chicago. At one point, Grohl admitted this show was meant to be a celebration, a stadium version of "keg party shit." So when he talked on and on with the crowd between songs, we were willing to forgive him.
For a dude who is immeasurably rich, and obviously able to indulge every single indulgence he might have, Grohl still manages to come across as the most affably lucky drummer turned frontman in history. Near then end of the evening, my concert companion turned to me and said, "I never thought I had a favorite band. But I think they're my favorite band."
Near the end of their multi-hour set, bloated as it grew at times, we think we understand that feeling. Grohl and the Foo Fighters aren't content to just be the biggest rock band. They want to constantly keep proving to you that they're worth your attention. That's a rare quality on this level of fame and we're happy they still keep thinking they need to prove themselves to us.