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Chasing The American Dream

September 14, 2005

FOO FIGHTING


photo courtesy of foofighters.com

While contemplating whether or not to buy tickets to the Foo Fighters/Weezer concert, my good friend just happened to ask me if I’d like some luxury suite tickets to the event? Well who am I to argue? So I hob-knobbed it with the Rich & Famous, or maybe more accurately stated, the Rich & Famous’ kids along with some 20,000 other screaming, dancing, moshing, body surfing concert goers.

Row 1, Seat 1, soft cushy chair and an unobstructed view albeit a fair distance away from the stage. Not too shabby. I shouldn’t have had dinner beforehand either because there was a huge food buffet with everything imaginable from carved roast beef and turkey to penne and meatballs to salads, soups, pizza, chicken wings, and even desserts. All I could muster was this double chocolate chip brownie thing that melted in my mouth. Divine. But here were to talk music, right?

I expected Weezer to hit the stage around 7 p.m., but an opening band actually preceded them. And wow, they were really good! They called themselves Mae. They’ve got a couple of CDs out. Give them a listen too; you won’t be disappointed.

Weezer came on around 8 p.m. to the strange intro music of Disney’s, When You Wish Upon a Star. I mean, it was Jimminy Cricket singing and everything. The only thing I could think of was that Weezer is from Orlando and Disneyworld heaven. As I listened to lead singer Rivers Cuomo sing the opening song, Don’t Let Go, he sounded somewhat similar to Dashboard Confessional’s Chris Carrabbas. Weezer’s got a nice sound and a bit of everything really. Rock, Indie rock, alternative, and even some acoustic. I also liked the fact that each band member sang lead on at least one song showing the group’s versatility. They played current radio favorite, Beverly Hills, and other hits including Say It Ain’t So, Hash Pipe, Undone, and my personal favorite, Buddy Holly. Like Green Day, they invited an audience member to come onstage and play guitar much to the crowd’s delight. Overall, it was a nice performance for an ‘opening band.’ I give them a lot of credit. They played for well over an hour to a less than enthusiastic crowd who, as seems to be the norm, save all their energy for the main act.

Dave Grohl and Foo Fighters came charging onstage around 9:40 p.m., and I think I lost my hearing around 9:41. In fact, my ears are still ringing three days later. This was clearly the loudest band I’d heard in a long time. And out amping Green Day is saying something. Dave literally screamed his ass off during the opening two songs. I’m told the first song was the title track to their new CD, In Your Honor, but about the only lyrics I could make out were, “I would die for you tonight.” I’m truly amazed at how he can scream so loudly yet maintain his ability to actually sing on key or have any voice at all for that matter.

As I looked around, I noticed amps piled haphazardly on the stage. Three odd-shaped video screens and an elaborate lighting and laser console hovered above the stage. The lighting was pretty spectacular along with the slime-green lasers. Dress code was, of course, on the grunge side. Black tee-shirts and jeans the norm for most of the band.

Dave introduced himself as “your new friend Dave” and encouraged the crowd to sing along to the next two familiar songs, My Hero and Best of You. He took time out to address the crowd and told us it had been five years since FFs had played in Florida. He apologized and told us, “it would NOT be another five. Four-and-a-half maybe, but not five.” One thing’s for sure, the man has no qualms about throwing out the four-letter words. Every sentence was littered with F-bombs and S-bombs. I’m sure parents in the audience cringed. He also told us that he had a small family, but pointed out that some of them lived right here in Ft. Lauderdale. He dedicated the next song, a ballad, to them. After it was over, Dave said, “Alright. Enough of that sensitive bullshit, I feel like screaming my ass off!”

And so he did. The band played familiar tunes such as This is a Call, Learn to Fly, and Times Like These. They also sang CCR’s Born On the Bayou, a reprise of their tribute to Hurricane Katrina sufferers sung the previous night on the Hurricane Aid concert. Interesting, or maybe not so much, tidbit about Times Like These. I’ve got a chapter in my book with the same title. The chapter reflects the lyrics of the song during a low point in my life. “I, I’m a little divided. Do I stay or run away, leave it all behind? It’s times like these you learn to live again. It’s times like these you give and give again. It’s times like these you learn to love again, it’s times like these time and time again.”

Comically for me, the concert ended as it had begun. Electric guitars and bass were blasting and Dave was screaming some unintelligible (to me) lyrics during the encore’s last song. Foo Fighters sure played their guts out for the zany crowd during the 90-minute performance. Dave Grohl admitted he’s gettin’ on up there at age 36. But you’d never have guessed it having observed that performance. It’s obvious to me that his days with former band Nirvana and Kurt Cobain have not been forgotten. He sings with a similar passion and spirit as his ex-bandmate once did in his heyday. I’m sure Kurt’s very proud of him.

What a great Summer concert tour it has been for me. Not only have I enjoyed the main acts, but I’ve also discovered some new, lesser-known favorites. I think I value these lesser-knowns even more so than the big bands. I don’t know why more people don’t. It seems the “kids” are more content hanging outside the arena smoking, gabbing, and talking on their cell phones rather than listening to some unknown third or second opening band. But listen up people; these bands have to start somewhere. For me, I’d rather discover them right then and there rather than hearing them for the first time months later on the radio. And to you “old” classic rockers out there, believe me, there is more to music these days than Pink Floyd, Led Zep, Journey, Styx, or Foreigner. There is some truly remarkable music being created by the younger generation. I’m very proud to be a big fan of today’s music. The kids may look funny, dress funny, and have some weird names, but baby, they can play, sing, and write songs with the best of them. And so for me, it’s onto the Fall concert tour. I think I’ll start off with Liz Phair followed by Death Cab For Cutie. Reviews to come.

2 Comments:

  • First of all, pardon the tone of my last tone-I sounded like a Indian porter taking luggage at the Bombay airport, not remembering somebody's name but using the expression, "my friend", simply to get a tip.

    Secondly, I am thinking about seeing the Weeze here in the P
    NW. You know, the funny thing about this(and I am not trying to drop names, but it has to be said) is that I know Krist Novoselic, and he and Dave are really different. Krist has been working on local politics here in SW Washington, and he did our Rock n Register event this last year(didn't play, but spoke), and my boss and his wife are good friends with he and his sig. other. He is just a normal, albeit tall and really smart, guy who just happened to be in one of the biggest bands of all time. He is always engaging, and he whenever I see him, he always knows my name(Which is wierd as hell) whenever I see him. He is just so dammed laid back that Dave's personality is such a contrast to Krist's personality.

    Glad you liked the show-I agree with you that there are so many good young bands trying to get it togeather. BTW, however-Liz Phair is old school, and I like her old stuff better than her new stuff.
    Where are you going to see her?

    By Blogger Geoffrey Hirschfeld, at 2:44 AM, September 21, 2005  

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