They were *great*.
Last night the Foo Fighters were supported by, er, Eagles of Death Metal (never heard of, probably won't remember... sorry) and the Futureheads (of whom I recognized a couple of songs). Most people were still walking about, getting beers, etc while these two bands were on. Our seats were actually very good -- literally the second row from the top of the arena, but right at the front. Unfortunately we had some nuthouse people in front of us, though -- 3 guys and a girl. The guy in front of me was about seven foot tall and had really bouffant hair so when he stood up I couldn't see bugger all. He also kept holding his head in his hands and moaning as if the music was so good he couldn't take it. Hmm... Another of the guys looked pretty sleazy and reminded me of Richard the slimy hotel-owner from Sex and the City. The third bloke was an old boy with a greasy grey ponytail and an unsteady gait. He smelt heavily of pot, was swigging from a bottle of vodka inside his fleece, and kept looking like he was going to keel over. The girl of the group actually looked quite staid but didn't behave like it, and my friend Kit and I had a hard time working out just which of the guys she was actually 'with'. We decided by the end of it that it could quite possibly be all of them!
So anyway. The place literally came alive when the Foos came on and launched into "In Your Honor", the title track from their new album. The crowd filling the mosh-pit was writhing and swelling like a river and it did look like fun, but I'm actually quite glad I wasn't down there: there was a bunch of guys a few metres from the front who constantly had a large circle of empty space around them because they spent the whole time cannonballing into one another. At first we thought they were having a fight, and I was quite surprised that nobody got hurt.
Dave Grohl talked to the crowd a lot and during "Stacked Actors" he actually came off the stage and ran through the crowd to play from the little lighting booth in the middle. As he was on his way there was some confusion as to what was happening, then the spotlight came down on him and the crowd went mental. Suddenly everybody swarmed back from the stage to the middle of the arena and Dave and Chris Shiflett (second guitarist) played a guitar duel which *rocked*. It was weird because from where we were up at the top you could see all these tiny lights around Dave, which we realized were people recording the event on their mobiles. Then, while Dave made his way back to the stage Taylor Hawkins (drummer) did an amazing drum solo. Here was where my only complaint lies -- all I could see of Taylor was his hands, because there was a big cable hanging down from the lighting rig which, from my viewpoint, ran right across the drum-kit. Luckily, however, they had video screens on either side of the stage and I was just about able to see him on that. (Also, because I didn't mention him, the fourth member of the band is Nate Mendel -- bass player.)
I had a bit of a moment when it came to the time for "Everlong" -- my favourite Foos song. Dave sang it alone with just his guitar for company, and he did it really softly and gently. For some reason, not many people sang along, but those who did (including me), did it really quietly. It's such a beautiful song... smoke had drifted out over the crowd and got caught in a bunch of laser beams and the whole thing was really ethereal and quite moving. The rest of the band came in and launched into the full version only for the last chorus.
They only played a couple of songs off the new album, and surprisingly "Resolve", their current UK single release, wasn't one of them. Most of the set was a really good bunch of stuff off all their previous albums -- Big Me, Monkey Wrench, All My Life, Up in Arms, My Hero, Have it All, Generator, Learn to Fly, Breakout, This is a Call, The One... All my favourites were there with only one exception ("Aurora").
There was a strange contrast for me, seeing the Foo Fighters in this kind of arena. I saw them play once before, almost exactly 8 years ago in 1997. That was at the Shepherds Bush Empire, a considerably smaller venue. The stage was pretty small, Taylor's drum kit was up on what looked like school stage-blocks, and there was a not-very-impressive silvery curtain hanging at the back of the stage. Well... this time around? A proper huge arena full of people, a huge stage, floor to ceiling banners with band logos on them, smoke effects, lasers, video screens... What a difference 8 years makes.
There's a rumour that next year they will tour again, but in smaller venues and playing acoustically only (I stress this is a rumour -- I read it on a message board somewhere and I can't remember where). If this does happen, I will *so* be there.
I started to get a really horrid cold yesterday, so I am going nowhere today. I'm going to wrap my Christmas presents and if I can get into the right frame of mind then I'll get on with chapter fifteen. I may also casually browse MTV for James Blunt videos...
I had a dream about him last night. Mr Blunt is a *very* good kisser.