Foo Fighters - review

Milton Keynes Bowl

Astonishingly, 20 years after Nevermind, Nirvana's backroom boy is leader of one of the world's biggest hard rock bands. This weekend, Dave Grohl and Foo Fighters played to 130,000 people at Milton Keynes, but their set was as much a confirmation of their current standing as a celebration of their 17-year history, featuring numerous songs from new album Wasting Light, which went to No 1 across most of the world.

It's clear Grohl has been galvanised by the album's success: the energy of his performance is infectious, and during the opening song, Bridge Burning, he is already charging across the stage, grinning from ear to ear. No matter if the metal boogie of Rope is old-fashioned: it connects with the audience, as does Grohl's persona, blue-collar good blokeishness emanating from every pore.

But at the same time, Foo Fighters couldn't be less dangerous, and nor do they have, despite their enormity, any cultural traction. It's telling that Grohl brings onstage, for Dear Rosemary, Bob Mould of Hüsker Dü (one of several guests tonight – Seasick Steve and Led Zeppelin's John Paul Jones make cameos during the first encore), a band who enjoyed a fraction of Foos' sales, but will always be more significant. As Grohl tells the crowd: "We wouldn't be here right now if it weren't for Bob."

He says the same thing a few songs later when he introduces Butch Vig, producer of Nevermind and Wasting Light. Still, Vig's appearance makes a powerful point: Grohl's two career peaks may be two decades apart, and the first of them may have been fronted by a man whose iconic status he can never hope to match, but for sheer grizzled consistency, he outstrips Kurt Cobain. When Grohl roars on Walk, "I never wanna die!", an obvious counterpoint to Nirvana's I Hate Myself and Want to Die, he seems to finally step out from his late bandmate's shadow, and you wonder how many of the younger people here tonight would think, "Kurt who?"


Paul Lester

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Foo Fighters/Cee Lo Green - review
Dave Grohl's charm and witty asides couldn't obscure the many lulls in a long set, writes Ian Gittins

Ian Gittins

27, Feb, 2011 @6:01 PM

Article image
Nirvana members reunite on Foo Fighters album
Bassist Krist Novoselic guests on Foo Fighters' untitled 'heaviest album yet', produced by Butch Vig, says Dave Grohl

Sean Michaels

28, Oct, 2010 @1:48 PM

Little things we like: Dave Grohl by Martin James

Imagine a parallel universe where Queen drummer Roger Taylor went on to enjoy enormous international success with his band the Cross.

James Griffiths

21, Nov, 2003 @2:52 AM

Article image
Foo Fighters review – a fast and furious collector's item of a show
Dave Grohl headbangs atop a custom mechanised throne as the Foos apologise to Edinburgh for their cancelled gig with a set big on early hits

Malcolm Jack

09, Sep, 2015 @10:57 AM

Article image
Foo Fighters review – rock royalty end Invictus Games on a high note
Dave Grohl and co are perfect for the closing ceremony, cranking out the mass singalongs with punk-spirit spontaneity, writes Kate Hutchinson

Kate Hutchinson

15, Sep, 2014 @12:52 PM

Article image
Dave Grohl: The Storyteller review – rock’n’roll raconteur riffs with profanity and positivity
Nirvana and Foo Fighters man’s memoir inspires a sparkling monologue on success, suicide and scrambled-egg sarnies

Ian Gittins

28, Sep, 2021 @10:33 AM

Article image
Dave Grohl to publish memoir, The Storyteller
First autobiography from Foo Fighters and Nirvana musician will chart ‘all the experiences I’ve had in my life – incredible, difficult, funny and emotional’

Ben Beaumont-Thomas

06, Apr, 2021 @2:10 PM

Interview: Keith Cameron meets Foo Fighter Dave Grohl

Foo Fighter Dave Grohl talks to Keith Cameron about what kept him alive and kicking after the death of Kurt Cobain and Nirvana.

Keith Cameron

14, Sep, 2007 @1:28 PM

Article image
Foo Fighters' Dave Grohl to direct film about Sound City studios
Los Angeles recording studio where Fleetwood Mac and Nirvana recorded albums is to become the subject of a documentary

Andrew Pulver

02, May, 2012 @12:27 PM

Article image
Dave Grohl's teenage obsessions: 'I learned drums by arranging pillows on my floor'
Ahead of the 10th Foo Fighters album, their frontman recalls the music and scenes that made him – from punk gigs in Chicago to sleeping on floors in Italian squats

As told to Dave Simpson

14, Jan, 2021 @3:00 PM