It was a close call; I almost didn't make it to this show, but last minute free tickets saved the day. It had been two years since I'd been to an arena show, and six years since a show at Rogers Arena -- when it was still GM Place -- so it definitely felt weird to be there, but Foo Fighters are a stellar live band, and even though I haven't really gotten into the album there was no way I would pass up seeing the Fighters of Foo.
With the show's early start, we missed both opening bands -- which I am not too broken up about, since one was Cage the Elephant -- and got to the seats in the nosebleeds (but, hey: free) just in time for Foo Fighters to take the stage, kicking off with "Bridge Burning", the lead off song to the new album Wasting Light. The stage setup was pretty intense, with giant screen for all to see, monitors at the back of the stage and lights galore. The stage even served as a projection screen at times, lighting up in bright red with the Foo Fighters logo. There was also a protrusion for Grohl to sing, which lead to a runway up to another, small stage in the middle that he would make use of; most notably during "Stacked Actors" where Grohl, on the small stage, engaged in a guitar duel with guitarist Chris Shiflett, culminating in the smaller stage to rise up about twenty feet.
Early on, Grohl mentioned they no longer did two hour and fifteen minute shows... rather it isn't a rock show until it hits three hours, and that is nearly how long they played for. With a nice mix of their new album and old favourites, most of them getting tweaks and variations, but without being unrecognizable, and all sounded great -- even if he can no longer do that part in "Monkey Wrench" very well (you know the part I mean).
After ending with a face-melting "One by One", they made the crowd work for more, showing a video of Grohl and ace-drummer Taylor Hawkins in the back milking the crowd, and the encore began with Grohl on the small, raised stage with just an acoustic guitar. After a couple of sing-a-longs, he launched into "Times Like These" which started acoustic, but the band kicked in with full force half-way through for a chilling moment. "Dear Rosemary" segued into a cover of Tom Petty's "Breakdown", with Dave going off the stage and into the crowd to dance with a couple people before they ended the night, unsurprisingly, with "Everlong", and damn near every person in the arena singing along.
Admittedly, there was a bit of a disconnect being so far away from the stage and what was going on, but it was still a pretty fantastic show. Grohl is one of the best frontmen, with charisma to spare, hilarious banter and not a drop of arrogance on him. When he tanked us for coming, thanked us for letting him do what he loves, he was nothing less than genuine. And as long as they keep coming to town, I will keep attending their shows.
Bridge Burning, Rope, The Pretender, My Hero, Learn to Fly, White Limo, Arlandria, Breakout, Cold Day In The Sun, Stacked Actors, Walk, Monkey Wrench, Let It Die, These Days, This Is a Call, One by One.
(encore) Wheels, Best of You, Times Like These, Dear Rosemary (Break Down [Tom Petty cover]), Everlong.