Concerts Concerts Foo Fighters Rock Toronto with Biggest Show On Tour

Foo Fighters Rock Toronto with Biggest Show On Tour

Foo Fighters at Air Canada Centre
Foo Fighters
Air Canada Center in Toronto, ON
August 9th, 2011

Review by: Katie Christensen
Photos by: Pete Nema

Rock & Roll is far from dead; all 20,000 fans at the sold out Foo Fighters show at the Air Canada Center on August 9th can attest to that.

In its truest form, Rock & Roll has become an anomaly on the airwaves. However, for seventeen years, the Foo Fighters have delivered those familiar heavy guitar riffs; climatic, skin-and-soul-permeating verses; and drum solos that make your head spin. And of course, Dave Grohl's signature hoarse scream really sends the message home.

Wasting Light, the Foos' seventh studio album, is no exception. Recorded in analogue in Grohl's garage, the band harkened back to their beginnings and produced their heaviest album yet. The album features guitarist Pat Smear for the first time since 1997's superlative The Colour and the Shape and producer Butch Vig from Nirvana's iconic Nevermind. Clearly all good additions as this album is the Foos' first number one album in the USA.

The crowd at the ACC started out relatively docile considering the size and the energy that was buzzing. While waiting, inebriated fans sang their favorite songs while occasionally screaming, "FOO" with the crowd responding, "FIGHTERS".

Foo Fighters finally emerged with Wasting Light's intense opening track, "Bridge Burning" kicking off the monsterous 2 1/2 hour set. Grohl's fiery cry, "These are my famous last words" injected the crowd with adrenaline. The lightning-like strobes flashed along with the slamming chorus and Taylor Hawkin's spot on drumming reminded us of everything we love about the Foos and why we're here — to witness rock musical majesty. They followed with the stadium-rock, post-grunge single "Rope", which ended in a gnarled guitar fire-fight between Grohl and lead guitarist Chris Shiflett. The familiar opening notes from "The Pretender" off Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace brought a huge smile to my face. It's not their most popular album but I have fond memories of blasting it on my car stereo for the entire summer of '07. The entire stadium sang along as Grohl ran up and down the aisle amongst the fans.

The band brought the crowd back to the days before the Foos reached rock god status with "My Hero" off their second album The Colour and the Shape. They still resemble those goofy kids who wanted to make music and did not take themselves too seriously; now with just a bit more money and offspring. As the songs delved deeper into their repertoire with "Learn to Fly", the crowd sang so loudly they almost drowned out Grohl. Sipping whisky from a red plastic cup to soothe his vocal chords, Grohl said, "When I woke up this morning I was so nervous thinking I was going to lose my voice but when I look out onto all you people" upon which he released a gruff, high-pitched wail, clearly showing us the power of whisky and Torontonians. Grohl stood back and absorbed the roaring applause and joked "Thank You, Goodnight".

Their song "Arlandria" brought us back to Dave's hometown and humble beginnings. When he sang, "My sweet Virginia, I'm the same as I was in your world," we see not the world famous rock star but the teenage punk rocker from Thomas Jefferson High School who is still unsure with his own success screaming "Fame, Fame go away, come again some other day". From teenage years to adulthood, they moved onto classic tune "Monkey Wrench", which chronicles Grohl's divorce, followed quite fittingly with the morose melody "Let it Die". "These Days" came next which Grohl says is his favorite song that he has ever written. Care to expand on that Dave?

The Foos finished their set with "All My Life", taking a short break before the screens lit up with a night vision of Grohl backstage. Although we couldn't hear the band through audience applause, we negotiated a five song encore with Grohl emerging solo with acoustic guitar in tow. He sang "Wheels", "Best of You" and "Times Like These". Humble and gracious, his demeanor broke down the typical appearance of a rock star to reveal a regular person with a guitar. The most memorable moment of the night was the final song, "Everlong", the most affecting, passionate rock song of the 90's which makes me nostalgic for summer campfires and field trips. Songs and moments like these cement the timelessness of music and instills the fact that Foo Fighters will continue to produce music that will be remembered long past the demise of the fleeting pop/rock songs with which we are inundated. Grohl summed up the sentiment perfectly: "Computers are good for Tetrus and porn,  but Rock & Roll is about a bunch of guys trying to play the best they can." God bless the Foo Fighters.

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