Live Review: Foo Fighters at Western Springs, Auckland

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Foo Fighters

w/ Cairo Knife Fight, Fucked Up, Tenacious D

Western Springs, Auckland

Tuesday 13 December 2011

Fucked Up

Canadian hardcore act Fucked Up brought the party. As far as openers go, these guys definitely knew what to do to hype an audience up. The band played well; energetic and fast paced. The five musicians stuck largely to their own spots on stage, while vocalist Damien “Pink Eyes” , spent a majority of the set walking throughout the crowd interacting with the punters. A beast of a man, topless with his hairy belly hanging out and a cup sitting atop his head, he threaded though the sea of people at random, sharing the microphone, giving hugs and high fives, even picking up one guy and carrying him around on his shoulder for a period. Most songs sounded the same due to the terrible live mix, but braving the moody weather and arriving early enough to catch the set definitely paid off.

Tenacious D

Tenacious D arrived onstage to a more rapturous reception. Their set was entirely what you’d expect if you’re at all familiar with the band: that is, two fat men with acoustic guitars singing songs about rock, weed, and all things crass. They gave a faux-storyline to the set, so that they could incorporate some of the narrative styled songs from their second album into the mix, along with some light drama to match.

With the help of their band, Kyle and Jack played a good mix of songs from both albums, as well as a yet unreleased song dedicated to their roadie, and a medley of Who songs. The backing band was great, each having a solo when being introduced to the crowd. I particularly enjoyed watching drummer Brooks Wackerman (of punk band Bad Religion) playing drum parts that were originally played by none other than Foo Fighters front man Dave Grohl. The set was juvenile, but entertaining nonetheless.

Foo Fighters

From the moment they charged onstage to the palm-muted strums of All My Life, to the final lingering notes of set-closer Everlong, Foo Fighters front man Dave Grohl had the crowd eating out of the palm of his hand. It’s almost as if even the rain subsided for him, because as he came into view scores of people removed their flimsy plastic rain ponchos and threw them into the air or started spinning them above their heads.

A Foo Fighters show is one hell of a ride. Hit after hit, both old and new, complete with lengthy solos, guitar duels and extended jams galore. They have some cool screens and lights, but the strength of their performance comes from the great music and crowd interaction. A lot of the charisma came from Grohl, who, after 17 years of fronting the Foos, knew how to work the crowd like a seasoned pro.

The band seems to have a genuine love of New Zealand; quoting a show they did at the Auckland Supertop years ago as one of the favourite they’ve ever played, and having done a charity show at the Auckland Town Hall earlier this year to raise funds for the Christchurch earthquake. Grohl loves playing Auckland so much that he chose to film the crowd for a live music video for the song These Days. He also showed a real appreciation for his fans, specially playing a few acoustic songs for the people way down the back, and sincerely thanking everybody involved, before the band finished.

After doing a bit of bartering with the crowd via a video camera backstage, Grohl came out to encore with some acoustic numbers like Wheels and Times like these, before rocking out a few final tunes with the band (including a cover of Queen’s Tie your Mother Down featuring guest appearances by Tenacious D wearing nothing but underwear and suspenders) and inevitably ending with the classic hit, Everlong.

All up the Foos played for just under three hours. With live shows such as this it’s little wonder that they’ve lasted so long, and built up such a large fan base. I just wonder how they’re going to fit everybody in next time when they play Auckland Town Hall.

 

Joseph James

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