Photos by Pierce Tracy Edge; Recap by Max Stewart
Last night, there was a Christmas musical miracle in Asheville. As many were snowed in from Winter Storm Diego, and impromptu concert was announced Sunday afternoon at The Orange Peel featuring Warren Haynes and Dave Grohl that had many waiting in the cold to see this once-in-a-lifetime event on Sunday night (for only $10 a ticket, mind you).
Haynes has been hosting the Christmas Jam in Asheville for 30 years, showcasing some of the most authentic musicians in the scene for a charitable cause (proceeds go to Asheville’s Habitat for Humanity). Saturday night technically marked the finale of the two-day event, but Christmas came early for fans in Asheville that stuck around for an extra night.
Grohl has just dipped his toe into the world of long-form instrumental jams, and he performed his 23-minute instrumental track “Play” for the first time at Christmas Jam on Saturday night, alongside Queens of the Stone Age guitarist Alain Johannes, Jane’s Addiction bassist Chris Chaneyas, and producer Greg Kurstin. As if Grohl needs any further proof of being a musical wizard, he played all seven instruments on the studio track (guitar, drums, keys, synthesizers, vibraphone, tambourine, tympani). The prog-rock and wide-ranging time signatures of the epic song really came to life in the live setting.
On Sunday, the ‘Pop Up Snow Jam’ featured another performance of “Play,” with Grohl showing why he is music royalty by transitioning throughout various tempos in what felt like a distorted rock opera.
Haynes and Grohl are masterminds and legends in their own musical circles, and it is so gratifying to see them finally playing together. When they collaborated for a bunch of covers last night, it felt like a couple of buds enjoying themselves in a garage.
The setlist reads like a “Best of Rock” list, including covers of Led Zeppelin, The Who, The Beatles, and The Rolling Stones (full list of songs played below). Hell, Haynes even sang Nirvana‘s “All Apologies” with Grohl sitting behind the kit… Oh yeah, the encore of Lynyrd Synyrd‘s “Simple Man” actually featured former Skynyrd drummer Artimus Pyle as well. Wow.
When playing drums for a cover of Tom Petty‘s “You Don’t Know How it Feels,” we could not help but think back to the Nineties when Grohl actually was offered to play drums for the Heartbreakers after Kurt Cobain‘s death and the end of Nirvana. In the end, he decided to test his hand as a front man with the Foo Fighters (safe to say he made a good call).
There were many other musicians that joined the night’s fun festivities, including Audley Freed (Black Crowes, Trigger Hippy), Matt Abts (Gov’t Mule), Jimmy Vivino (The Tonight Show Band with Conan O’Brien) & D.C. saxophonist extraordinaire Ron Holloway.
What a monumental cross-pollination of rock royalty, and it was obvious that Grohl and Haynes have a real musical chemistry. We can only hope this is the start of many future collaborations, and maybe this will inspire Grohl to try his hand in more instrumental endeavors down the road?
Rock’n’ roll was alive and kicking in the Blue Ridge mountains, enjoy some fan videos of last night’s performances below.
Pop Up Snow Jam with Warren Haynes & Dave Grohl
The Orange Peel, Asheville, NC (12.9.18)
Since I’ve Been Loving You (Led Zeppelin cover)
You Don’t Know How It Feels (Tom Petty cover)
All Apologies (Nirvana cover)
Breakdown (Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers cover)
Helter Skelter (Beatles cover)
Bitch (Rolling Stones cover)
Hunger Strike (Temple of the Dog cover)
>Dear Mr. Fantasy (Traffic cover)
Eminece Front (The Who cover)
No Quarter (Led Zeppelin cover)
Simple Man (Lynyrd Skynyrd cover, featuring Artimus Pyle from Lynyrd Skynyd on drums)
“You Don’t Know How it Feels”
“Since I Have Been Loving You”