Photos and Recap by Max Stewart
Rock ‘n’ roll’s titans Foo Fighters brought their ground-scorching live show to Atlanta on April 28th for Georgia State Stadium‘s first official concert since the venue was touched up and re-branded following the Atlanta Braves’ move to the ‘burbs. The spirit and soul of rock ‘n’ roll is alive and well in 2018 thanks to the Foo Fighters, and it is due in large part to the orchestration and likable dynamic of modern rock’s patriarch, Dave Grohl.
It was a beautiful Saturday evening for the band as they took the stage just before sunset, while Grohl sprinted down the catwalk and howled towards to upper decks on “Run,” from the band’s latest album. The Foo Fighters continued to showcase some strong material from 2017’s Concrete and Gold, including the upbeat “The Sky Is A Neighborhood,” the ambient “Dirty Water,” and drummer Taylor Hawkins‘ vocal contribution to the record, “Sunday Rain.” If you think the broken leg Grohl suffered a few years back would hamper his energy during this world tour, you are certainly mistaken. Grohl does not let up one bit throughout a Foo Fighters concert, darting around the stage and smiling like a kid on Christmas morning. The joy that this band exudes during their show and the fun-loving bromance that is obvious between Grohl and Hawkins (Grohl referred to Hawkins as the “Ayatollah of rock and rolla, the love of my life”) makes it hard to not want to pick up a guitar, round up some buddies in a dingy garage, and chase the musical pinnacle that the Foo Fighters have clearly attained (it’s a miracle, not all successful bands hate each other and they actually enjoy playing shows!) “The best part is that they are so happy,” an attendee turned and said to me as we watched in awe as the six-piece is no doubt living out their childhood dreams every night on stage. Georgia locals had to smile seeing Hawkins sport a shirt from the ATL ‘dive-bar’ institution, “The Clermont Lounge,” which apparently he visited with bassist Nate Mendel the night before the gig (he was also wearing Van Halen board shorts… these dudes can’t get more rock ‘n’ roll.)
“We’ve got so many people in this band now, we make Slipknot look like Simon & Garfunkel,” Grohl joked with the crowd, proving throughout the night he was born to be a frontman in a badass band… even after he was a drummer in a badass band (Nirvana, for those readers that live under a rawk.) He has the audience in the palm of his hand, from playing a pin-drop focused introduction on the earnest “Times Like These,” to corralling thousands of fans to scream at the top of their lungs during the evening’s closer, “Everlong.” He has perfected the rhythm and tempo of leading the masses in a “big ass stadium” for a 2.5 hour rock ‘n’ roll ride, knowing when to slow things down with some light-hearted banter in between songs, keep the momentum pushing on the heavier material, or even call up a kid from the pit to sit in and play drums (the band brought up Pierce Edge to play on “Big Me.”)
In the end, the Foo Fighters captivated the Atlanta crowd under the moonlight with a sea of cell phone lights and piercingly-beautiful audience vocal participation (“My Hero”), some songs for the “old-school mother-f*ckers” (“This Is A Call,” “Breakout,” “Learn to Fly”), a handful of epic power ballads (“Best Of You,” “Walk,” “These Days”), a few covers (the encore riff-tastic rendition of The Who’s “Young Man Blues” and Queen’s “Under Pressure” with opener The Struts‘ Luke Spiller), and some superb individual band introductions (guitarist Chris Shiflett singing Alice Cooper’s “Under My Wheels,” the chunky punk classic Ramones’ tune “Blitzkrieg Bop” performed by guitarist Pat Smear, and a classic bait-and-switch moment when Rami Jaffee‘s piano riff from The Beatles’ “Imagine” was coupled with the vocals from Van Halen’s “Jump.”)
We sincerely thank you for your service as the leaders of the rock ‘n’ roll army, Foo Fighters. You are keeping the splintering authenticity and rousing pulse of the stadium show alive in a dwindling sample size of major rock acts. “We are here tonight for one reason, we are all here for one. To celebrate togetherness of music…” Grohl appreciates the power and spine-tinging potential when thousands of fans drive hours to the gig, maybe get a baby sitter for their kids, and pay their hard-earned money to sing some of their favorite songs with a bunch of sweaty strangers. Foo Fighters are the heroes of rock, watch them as they go…