“I wish you were here. It’s not the same. Because usually I sing this one along with you.”
As Dave Grohl launched into Foo Fighters’ 2007 hit “The Pretender,” it was clear how much the band was missing its fans. The Nov. 14 livestream from Sunset Strip haunt The Roxy was meant to shake out those cobwebs, following a stellar turn on “Saturday Night Live” on Nov. 7, and did they ever. Grohl along with bandmates Nate Mendel, Pat Smear, Taylor Hawkins, Chris Shiflett and Rami Jaffee — Grohl’s 14-year-old daughter, Violet, was one of the backup singers — delivered with an intense energy, ripping through some of the Foos’ biggest hits, including “All My Life,” “Times Like These,” “Best of You,” “This Is a Call,” and latest single, “Shame Shame.”
“I have to be honest, the last eight months we haven’t done much,” said Grohl, who typically will spend that much time on the road in an album cycle year — and playing arenas not tiny clubs. “And six months went by where we didn’t even see each other. And that’s some f–ed up s–t.”
The Foo Fighters frontman was his usual, charming self, chewing gum and sipping whiskey while bantering between songs amid the awkwardness of an absent audience. Still, Grohl refused to let show participation slide. “If you hate your f–king neighbors, and you hate your f–king roommates, I want everybody to sing “My Hero” by yourself in front of your f–cking iPad,” Grohl declared. “I know it seems embarrassing, but you can imagine what it’s like being on this stage pretending there’s people here,” said Grohl, just as the Foos’ crew onsite began belting the lyric, “There goes my hero” — much to the band’s surprise. This prompted Grohl to barrel through another round.
Grohl admittedly has not been a fan of the onslaught of livestreams and drive-in concerts during the pandemic. As he explained from the stage: “We’ve been on the road for 25 years and that’s the best part of what we do… be face-to-face with you guys.”
But ultimately, he realized the importance of bringing joy and happiness through the band’s songs. And if a livestream chock full of hits is the Foos’ raison d’être right now, then so be it. A bonus: besides serving as a much-needed escape for fans, a portion of the proceeds from the stream will go to Sweet Relief, which provides financial assistance to music industry workers struggling financially while facing illness, disability, or age-related issues, as well as industry professionals financially impacted by COVID-19.
Before Foo Fighters closed out their 12-song set with “Everlong,” Grohl left his virtual audience with this — “We miss you all very much. We hope that we can see you again soon. I Know we will. And f–, dude, when we do this again with everybody, that s–t’s gonna be good.”
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