By James Montgomery
The Foo Fighters have never been a band to duck the magnitude of the moment, from Wembley Stadium to a New Zealand gig last year that was so massive it registered on the Richter Scale.
So it’s no surprise that, when they took the stage Saturday (September 29) night in New York City’s Central Park for , they not only rose to the occasion, they blew they thing out of the water.
Yes, the Foos played a set worthy not only of the 60,000 in attendance, but of the import of the reason they all gathered here: to end global poverty. And while, much like the Black Keys who performed before them, they didn’t use their hour on stage to discuss politics, they instead used the sheer power of gut-rattling, fist-pumping rock to elevate the night.
Frontman Dave Grohl started things off solo, telling the masses that “Tonight, we’re not playing for you, we’re paying with you” before launching into “Times Like These.” He was joined by his bandmates mid-song, and, in-between stage-long sprints, he riffed hard and screamed loud. That song segued into “All My Life,” which roiled on rich riffs and built to a crashing crescendo, before ending in a rousing, crowd-spanning singalong.
“I wish we could play all night, but I’d rather see Neil Young,” Grohl laughed, tipping his cap to the night’s headliner, before diving into a string of hits (“Times Like These,” “Arlandria,” “Learn To Fly.”) In between, he also admitted that he “didn’t know” when the Foos would perform live again, so he and his mates decided to just leave everything on the stage.
That abandon was apparent in “The Best” and set-closing “Everlong” (which Grohl intro’ed by shouting “Last chance to dance!”) and, after squeezing every last riff into their hour set, the left the stage to thunderous applause. It’s not clear when we’ll see them on the stage again, but on this night, for a tremendous cause, they let it all hang out. Which, really, is what the Foo Fighters do best