Teetering near the edge of musical chaos during their near-two-hour show Thursday, the members of Foo Fighters blazed confidently through a rock-solid gig built around the strong musicianship of all four players, not to mention the affable appeal of singer-guitarist and former Nirvana drummer Dave Grohl.
This first of two consecutive sold-out nights on the Universal hill was an effective demonstration of Grohl’s ability to move an audience to extreme reaction, be it with power chords and dynamic songwriting, or with well-timed belches and — during the intro to the ballad “Up In Arms” — exhortation that “sensitive guys get all the girls.”
The band, which gains much of its brute force from the hellacious drum work of former Alanis Morissette skinsman Taylor Hawkins, charted a dynamic course incorporating numerous modern and classic rock styles into its signature, radio-friendly sound.
Band hit the ground running, opening with an outstanding double-shot of straight-ahead rockers — the steady-building “All My Life,” from the new album “All For One,” plus the melodic catalog selection “The One,” whose lyrics Grohl screamed through the shaggy-dog hair that continually hung in his face.
“Stacked Actors” was extended so Grohl could run into the audience, thrilling fans in the cheap seats as he ventured close.
Some of the newer tunes (“Low”) did suffer from humdrum verses, but each number did deliver an explosive, hook-laden chorus, suggesting that Grohl — the Foos’ frontman for 8 years now — did learn much from his late bandmate Kurt Cobain.
Show’s finale featured a guest turn from Liam Lynch, who performed his KROQ hit “United States of Whatever” while Grohl released what was left of his energy onto Hawkins’ drum kit. The anthemic older Foos hit “Everlong,” from the debut album, closed the production with apt authority.