It’s not just hot this evening, it’s disgustingly, grossly muggy. But it takes more than a heavy atmosphere to keep the sweating masses away from Suncorp Stadium in the heart of Brisbane tonight. Foo Fighters are on the bill and they’re here to do what they do best, rock ‘n’ roll.
They’re a couple of young fellas but DZ Deathrays’ have already supported Foo Fighters, twice. So already you know they’re doing something right. The crowd hasn’t quite filled out yet, but that doesn’t stop Brisbane’s tightest bands from tearing the stadium apart. They come running onto the stage before shaking the foundations with their monstrous dropped octave guitar sound that sets them apart from their peers. It doesn’t take long and they have the crowd warmed up and bouncing. I would happily watch these guys open up for Foos a third time.
Last time LA pop-punk legends Weezer were in the country they were playing the Blue Album in its entirety at the Brisbane Entertainment Centre but this time round they are in ‘greatest hits’ mode and have an hour’s set to get through and they make the most of it. The set opens with The Blue Album’s ‘Surf Wax America’ and from then on it’s a catalogue of triumphs with Pork and Beans, El Scorcho and My Name Is Jonas following in succession. Rivers takes a moment to tell the gathering audience that they’ll be back next year for a headlining tour as roars erupt from the crowd around him.
Between the crowd-pleasers, the band rattle off a few home-runs from their most recent effort ‘Pacific Daydream’ and they even squeeze in a cover of The Pixies’ ‘Where Is My Mind’ – which they absolutely nail. Weezer manage to cram 14 tracks into their allotted hour, finishing with Say It Ain’t So and Island In The Sun (which, let’s be honest, should never close anyone’s set – what were they thinking?). With the set proper over, Rivers and guitarist Brian strut down Dave Grohl’s cat walk while drummer Pat, takes to Rivers’ vacant guitar busting out Eddie Van Halen’s ‘Eruption’. I spend half the time laughing my ass off at Rivers and Brians’ antics and the other half in awe of Pat’s incredible guitar skills.
There’s only one way Dave Grohl knows how to set foot on stage. He comes running out with that familiar blue Gibson strapped around him, bolting down to the end of his famous catwalk that extends out half way to the grandstands. After this dramatic entrance everything stops, leaving just guitarist Chris Shiflett playing the open riff from Run, the first single release off their latest album Concrete and Gold. As the song kicks and the band appears behind him the crowd has long since lost its collective mind. All My Life and Learn To Fly flow like clockwork after each other before Dave hits the mic to address the crowd directly promising a set that will only end after they get kicked off stage.
Tracks like The Pretender, newbie The Sky Is a Neighbourhood and My Hero have the crowd louder than the band at times. During Breakout, Grohl has the stadium lights turned completely off, leaving a at least 10,000 phones lighting the whole stadium. The set is rather new material heavy, with tracks like Dirty Water feeling a little bit out of place in a stadium rock set. But you were never too far away from another trip down memory lane – and you were always in close proximity to Dave replacing lyrics with things like “Ok, here we go”, or “are you ready?” or just a “yeeaaaaaahhhh!”
As the band receive introductions from Grohl mid-set, they take turns strutting their stuff to the crowd. Guitarist Chris Shiflett belts out what Dave calls a “real stadium rock solo”. Bassist Nate pulls out the opening bass line to Another One Bites The Dust as the band follows suit for a brief few bars. Pat Smear belts out the rocking opening chords The Ramones hit Blitzkrieg Bop and again the band follows suit, playing a fair cut of the song. As Hawkins is introduced (as Daves soul mate) they use this to segway into their cover of Under Pressure by Queen and David Bowie. They add to it by bringing Wolfmother brainchild Andrew Stockdale to the stage to help sing the duelling vocals.
Suddenly Dave spots a local kid Joey down the front with a sign asking to play Monkey Wrench with the band and Dave took the bait. As Joey reaches the stage Dave tells the young fella not to “shit the bed in front of 40,000 people”. Joey struts like a mini-Grohl, running up and down the cat walk, creeping to each side of the stage during the palm-mute section and hitting nearly every cue with one of the biggest rock bands in the world. Way to go!
The main set closes with Best of You and the cameras cut to Dave and Taylor backstage deciding (based on audience response presumably) how many tracks to play in the encore. Dave returns with an acoustic slung on to perform his beautiful instrumental Ballad of the Beaconsfield Miners and a stunning rendition of Paul McCartney’s Blackbird before playing those obligatory closers Times Like These and possibly the greatest track of the post-grunge era, Everlong.
A ticket to a Foo Fighters show doesn’t come cheap, you’re paying good money. But the up side is, you’re paying good money to see one of the the greatest rock shows on the planet today. They’re one of the tightest, loudest rock bands on the touring circuit and they manage to smash out mind-blowing 3 hour sets to 40,000 plus punters everytime. And no matter how many times I see them, I’ll never get tired of the energy of a Foo Fighters show.
Photos by Dan Maynard