The venue’s marquee captured the spirit of the evening with a simple proclamation — “Long Live Rock and Roll” — and the band, comprised of frontman Dave Grohl, guitarists Pat Smear and Chris Shiflett, bassist Nate Mendel, keyboardist Rami Jafee and drummer Taylor Hawkins, proudly carried the torch.
In an intimate setting, performing in front of 2,000 fans and friends, it was also a family affair both onstage and off, as the band’s loved ones were seated in the balcony nearby and got more than a few shout-outs themselves. Grohl’s daughter, Violet, who’s been singing backup with the band on its latest album cycle, was in attendance onstage as well.
“This is crazy,” Grohl said as the band took the stage just after 8 p.m. to thunderous applause. “We needed a warm-up before this weekend.”
The “warm-up” to the band’s big night coming up this Saturday at Cleveland’s Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse — where the Foos will be inducted into the Hall by none other than Paul McCartney — treated those lucky enough to snag tickets to a 17-song set packed with adrenaline-fueled arena anthems like “All My Life,” “Learn to Fly,” and “My Hero.”
Playing in this setting on the band’s “day off” suited Grohl, who was born in Warren, Ohio and noted his “roots” in the state.
“We’re used to playing in big, cold arenas and stadiums, and I love it, but this is nice,” he told the crowd.
Clad all in black offset by his trademark pelham blue Gibson, Grohl didn’t waste one ounce of stage time addressing the crowd, encouraging cell phones to light up and gleefully pointing to a fan that actually produced a cigarette lighter for the occasion.
“We have a lot of old motherfuckers in the house,” he taunted the Gen X-heavy crowd. “Who’s old? Raise your hand!”
The jovial vibes continued midway through the performance as Grohl caught a glimpse of noted photographer (and part-time harp player) Danny Clinch taking photos nearby — including the ones posted here — and cajoled him to join the band onstage on “The Pretender.”
“He is one, bad-ass harp player,” Grohl said of Clinch.
Musical highlights of the evening included Hawkins’ pulsating drumming on “No Son of Mine” — so primal it seemed to slice through the crowd. He later took his turn up front for a cover of Queen’s “Somebody to Love” with Grohl giving Nirvana fans a thrill as he took a seat at the drum kit. A crowd-pleasing Bee Gees cover followed, with “You Should Be Dancing” providing a goofy reprieve from the onslaught of shredders.
A Moses Allen song, “Young Man Blues,” led to the full-throat and -throttle “Best of You” and the show wrapped with the sublime closer, “Everlong.”
After joking with the crowd that they had already played two hours and couldn’t get to songs like “Money Wrench” (“because of Covid regulations, I can’t let you touch my equipment”), Grohl took a moment to reflect on the moment. “It’s a fucking honor to be here for the Hall of Fame show,” he said. “It’s crazy, we don’t think anyone ever expected it to happen, and even had it not happened we would still be here doing this — because this is what makes it happen.”
Foo Fighters at House of Blues Cleveland set list:
All My Life
Learn to Fly
No Son of Mine
The Sky Is a Neighborhood
You Should Be Dancing
Somebody to Love
Times Like These
Young Man Blues
Best of You