The Broken Leg Tour: Foo Fighters Live

Citi Field; Queens, New York, USA; July 16, 2015

by Melanie Love

Ever since catching the Foo Fighters at a festival in 2012, it’s been on my bucket list to see the legendary rockers headline their own show. Three years later, my rock ‘n’ roll dreams have been fulfilled with the Foo’s raucous, blistering, positively epic second night at Citi Field in Queens, New York. (Not to mention a standout appearance from up-and-coming heirs to the rock throne, Royal Blood, who readied the crowd with some of the raw, roiling cuts off their self-titled debut).

foo_fighters_in_concert_720It was no matter that Dave Grohl was playing with a broken leg, an injury sustained at a show in Sweden a month prior. Just as he managed to plow through with the rest of that show, the band has continued their North American tour undaunted. As Grohl lounged on a massive throne equipped with lasers and a bunch of sawed off guitar necks, the band enraptured the crowd with 27 songs and nearly three hours of music – which put to shame almost every show I’ve ever seen with their puny hour-and-a-half run-times. Indeed, Grohl’s got more frontman chops from a seated position than a lot of bands have in full health.

There’s nothing like a beautiful summer night in New York and a bunch of classic tunes to keep a crowd energized, head-banging and singing along as the Foos made their way through a one-two punch opener of “Everlong” and “Monkey Wrench.” Every Foos cut I’ve ever jammed out to and loved seemed to find its way into the setlist, from hits like “Learn To Fly” and “The Pretender” to tenderly strummed acoustic versions of “Times Like These.” Showcasing the band’s longevity and range, they followed up “Big Me” – which hails all the way from their 1995 debut – with the sprawling “Congregation” from last year’s Sonic Highways. Whether Grohl was commanding the highest-up seats to scream so he could test the sound delay from that far away or regaling us with a 15-minute tale of how he broke his ankle and, hopped up on painkillers, invented the very throne he was rocking out from, the band held the crowd in the palm of their hand from start to finish. Even in a massive, 40,000-seat stadium, the energy of the crowd was more like an intimate club show.

Though they’ve got more than enough of their own material to cull from, some of the best moments of the show came from an interlude of well-chosen covers: snippets of Kiss’ “Detroit Rock City,” Thin Lizzy’s “Jailbreak,” and “School’s Out” by Alice Cooper, which gave each Foo (Pat Smear and Chris Shiflett handling rhythm and lead guitar respectively, Taylor Hawkins pounding the drums, and Nate Mendel on bass) a chance to shine in the spotlight. Of course, as the Vault’s resident Queen aficionado, I was most charmed by a spot-on cover of “Under Pressure,” with Hawkins taking the Freddie Mercury vocals and Grohl doing his best Bowie. (Though their take on the dark, brooding Tom Petty And The Heartbreakers’ classic “Breakdown” is a close second).

Twenty years into their career, the Foos still keep things fresh, playing with genuine excitement and passion. Case in point: as the show was winding down, they brought out punk legends Bad Brains for versions of “How Low Can A Punk Get?” and “The Regulator,” which Grohl called the “great moment of his entire life” (plus a few choice expletives for emphasis). It’s part of what makes the Foo Fighters so endearing and so enduring – their love of the music is absolutely infectious, creating an unforgettable experience for the fans. All hail the Broken Leg tour!

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