So last night was a little bit of amazing. I dragged Ann to see the Foo Fighters on her birthday, a band she’s never really listened to that much (I don’t know how, I listen to them all the time). Anyway, she picked me up from work, we grabbed a quick dinner at La Madeline’s and then headed over to the American Airlines Center. We parked across the street from the entrance (something near impossible to do at the United Center in Chicago), and sat around in the parking lot, looking up Foo Fighters trivia and the previous night’s set list on my phone (thanks Lake Pointe!).
We got inside and got settled, Frank and Sara showed up a few minutes later and we all spent some time catching up since we hadn’t seen each other in a couple of weeks. Then Ann decided to spend her birthday money on me… she bought me my first Concert T-Shirt. Now, I’ve owned band t-shirts before, but I’ve always bought them on the cheap, not at a concert… so that was cool.
Then the first band started. They’re called Against Me! and they’re not too bad for a next generation alt-punk band. Frank knew all their songs and sang along, Ann and I just soaked them in. Now, we weren’t that far away, but enough to make facial details hard to see. Without said facial details, the lead singer of Against Me! looks like Thomas Woodall when his hair was short if he got some rock attitude and some tattoos all up and down his arms. That was good for a laugh or two.
Next up was Jimmy Eat World. I’m not sure how to explain to you how God-awful they were. These guys have all the talent of a toaster. Wait, that’s demeaning to toasters… Lemme put it to you this way, by the time they decided to close their set with their only hit (The Middle), I had turned around and began pounding my head on the back of my seat in an effort to drive the memory out of my head… unfortunately blunt force trauma does not always cause memory loss.
Then a short break and Dave Grohl and the band took the stage. They were incredible. They didn’t have a big fancy light show or an amazing video package. They just came out as normal guys, who happened to be in a rock band, and played their guts out. If this wasn’t the best show I’d ever been to, it was dang close.
They were real personal and down to earth, without the need to be overly vulgar or crude. It was just a darn good show. Three songs into it, Ann thanked me for taking her to the show, despite not really caring before we got there. We both had a blast. Here’s a run down of their set, along with some additional commentary on what was said and done.
First Amplified Set:The band took the stage, along with about 4 extra musicians (a cellist, a perc and 2 extra guitars) and opened up with:
Let It Die (the extra musicians left at the end of this song and the band went right into:
Times Like These
The boys took a break here to welcome the crowd. The let us know that this show would be vastly different from their show 5 years ago. There wouldn’t be any wussy hour and ten minute set like when they double headlined with Weezer… oh no, we better have gone to the bathroom before they got there or at least have good bladder control – not that Dave had to worry, he told us he wears diapers. They were gonna play some old stuff, some new stuff, and some acoustic stuff… and they did! Band went back to music with:
Learn to Fly
Cheer Up Boys
This Is a Call
One of the above songs they broke out into a great bluesy/classic rock/Paige-esque solo and then went back to hit the last verse and chorus again, but for the life of me, I can’t remember which one.
The set list they showed later had DOA listed as the next song, but they didn’t play it (unless I blacked out). Instead, Dave walked out on the large thrust and began to solo. When he stopped, Chris Shiflett tore into one of his own. Dave and Chris went back and forth for a good 6-7 minutes. Dave was especially animated, almost Hulk Hogan-esque, in the getting the crowd to cheer. Once that was out of their system they went right into:
After this, Taylor broke into an unending drum solo, okay, it did end… it was about 7-8 minutes. Afterwards, the band went back and played the second half of Stacked Actors for the second time, only even more rockin’!
Then Dave swapped out for his acoustic and started piddling, and whaddya know – the sound came from the other side of my head. Dave started walking down the thrust and lo and behold a second stage (complete with perc kit, drum kit, piano, organ and a plethora of mics) was lowering from the ceiling right in front of us. Thus began… the acoustic set:
Skin and Bones
Band Intros, including Dallas’ own Taylor Hawkins on drums, who wrote:
Then Dave played the F.F.’s greatest song all by his lonesome on his electric as the rest of the band reset – EVERLONG! He did this on the acoustic stage,which was funny, because the floor crowd had moved back to the main stage with the rest of the band. My thoughts – if Dave Grohl has gone back yet, neither should you… Anyway, as he wrapped up Everlong, he ran back down the thrust to play a couple more songs in their:
Second Amplified Set:
All My Life
Dave thanked us all for coming and headed back stage. Of course we’re no fools, so the crowd kept chanting. I had a play list though, so I just sat down and took a break, comfortable in the knowledge they were coming back out. Then their playlist showed up on the big screen… it was what appeared to be an infrared camera and it showed a close up of the first song and then began to zoom out. As it did it showed Dave there with a cigarette hanging out of his mouth, and the last 3 songs covered up by a second sheet of paper, which Dave was lifting up to get a peek at. Then began a little game of him asking us (via mouthing and hand signals since there was no audio) if we wanted one more song, listening for cheering and taking a swig of beer when we weren’t loud enough. Finally he worked up to asking if we wanted 3 more songs and the band took the stage.
Dave then gave a little intro to Big Me. He said it wasn’t for all the hot chicks, it was for all the ugly guys like him. Because once an ugly guy picked up a guitar – and he assured us we don’t have to be Eddie Van Halen, because Big Me only has five chords and it’s “f’n easy to play” – once said ugly guy picked up a guitar he was definitely gonna see some action. And then off we went:
Long Road to Ruin
Best of You
Dave thanked us for coming and promised to come back sooner than they did the last time.
It was an amazing show – just a good down-to-earth rock show. I head banged with long hair during Monkeywrench… my first time doing that in years. Thanks for giving up your birthday to let me see one of my favorite bands Pretty Lady!