Whew.

This year.. yeesh. I think 2011 has been the busiest year of my entire life! But more on that later. The other day, myself, my wife (because i’m married now, by the way! hahaha), and my bassist and his girlfriend went and saw the freaking Foo Fighters at the Gwinnet Center in GA!

I have listened to the Foo Fighters ever since their first album came out. I was 11 years old then. My brother brought that CD home, probably from a pawn shop or flea market. I had already heard “I’ll Stick Around”, and probably “Big Me” by that point, but i loved the rest of the album just as much as those two. I got “The Color and the Shape” on Christmas Eve at my grandmother’s house the year it came out. If i recall i also brought home a Mario Brothers wallet stuffed with $10. Anyway, i listened to the whole album that night and it blew my mind. I also hid the booklet that came with the CD because it revealed the presence of the word “fuck” in Windup, a fact that would have probably caused my mom to take it straight to the trash can. But anyway, TCaTS instantly became one of my favorite albums, and it has remained ever since. I’ve spent hundreds of hours listening to the songs on there.

They really haven’t ever put out a bad album, something very very rare for any band that has been around as long as they have (you’ve heard Loutallica, right? Sweet lord.). My personal favorite are probably the self titled, Color and the Shape, and a tie between Echoes Silence Patience and Grace, and their newest release, Wasting Light.

So yeah, anyway… in summary.
1. I have loved the Foo Fighters for a very long time
2. I love all their music
3. my mother used to be very conservative.

The release of their new documentary “Back and Forth” helped to re-stoke my interest in the band, as did their new album. When we saw that they were coming to GA we knew we had to go no matter what the cost! Our seats were neither great nor cheap, but we were excited nonetheless.

Several months later the day arrived! We headed out with our friends towards the venue. From east TN, it took us a good 3.5 hours to get to Atlanta, where we took a pit stop for some food. We had never been to a Cheesecake Factory… but oh my. The food was freaking awesome, as were the drinks. We’ll be eating there again, even if we did feel like slipping into a coma afterwards.

After that, we headed towards the arena. What should have taken 30 minutes took about an hour and a half due to horrible traffic. We got there too late to see the opening band, but caught most of Social Distortion’s set after buying some merch. I’m not the biggest Social fan, but they were good. I got a little concerned about how much we were going to enjoy the Foo’s because of the position of our seats…. if the band was standing on a clock face and looking directly at 12, we were positioned around 8 o clock. So, we were slightly behind and to the left of the band. But, thankfully, when the band took the stage they dropped some huge monitors down all above the stage. Live up close footage was streamed on these all night, which was awesome.

Have i mentioned how many people were there? Holy hell, i’ve never been to a bigger show. I think there was something like 30 or 40 thousand people there!

So after the crew soundchecked everything, the lights were dimmed and the Foo Fighters started their set. They played several songs off of Wasting Light (they opened with Bridge Burning), and My Hero. After that, Dave took a break to inform the crowd that we wouldn’t be getting a “wimpy hour and a half long set”, but a 3 hour “play till we puke” concert. The set was perfect! Although really, they could have played any collection of their material and i would have enjoyed it (one of the advantages of being in a band which has never put out a bad album). Some of the standout tunes included: Stacked Actors, Learn to Fly, Monkey Wrench, These Days, Times Like These, White Limo, Let it Die, This is a Call….. a lot of my favorite songs! And they didn’t just play them like they did on the albums, either… Hawkins spiced up a lot of the drum parts, Grohl and Shetland threw in a bunch of extra solos (p.s. never heard Dave play leads before… he did great!), and a lot of the songs featured extended jam sections and fun diversions into cover songs (like Tom Petty’s “Breakdown”). Dave and Hawkins have the combined energy of an atom bomb. After watching Dave literally running the entire length of the stadium several times per song and never once being out of breath when he came back to the mic, i have realized the true need for cardio in my life. Hawkins drumming was flawless. He looked like he probably weighed 110 pounds, and i suspect this stems from playing the way he does 3 hours a night for months at a time. That’s a hell of a workout.

Dave played a few songs solo acoustic, and the band came back to do a few more songs, closing with Everlong (of course!). It was 3 hours but i really could have listened to 3 more. Even with that big of a venue and that many people there, the band still managed to connect with the crowd on a really personal level, which is something extremely difficult to do with that big of a show. What struck me the most, other than the band’s flawless musical performance, is the level of energy and sincerity the band played with; i would have thought i was watching a bunch of 18 year olds who had just written these songs and were thrilled to get to share them with so many people. With a lot of bands, after touring for years and playing hit songs thousands of times, they just go through the motions live rather than really getting into it and putting some energy into it; with this band you can really tell they love the songs and believe in them, and you can hear (and see!) the results. Hell i’d love all my songs too, if i was Dave Grohl. I had watched a few of their live DVD’s in the past, and figured i would be in for a similar performance to what i had seen. But they FAR exceeded my expectations in every way. Its like with this new album the band has been re-ignited. I can say with certainty that any time the band is within driving distance i will go see them from here on out! I really don’t think they could have done a single thing to make the show any better. Good times!

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~ by ben eller guitars on 11/09/2011.

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