Thursday, August 20, 2015

Review + Photos: Foo Fighters at Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre in St. Louis


And I wonder
When I sing along with you
If everything could ever feel this real forever
If anything could ever be this good again

I remember hearing about Kurt Cobain's death. My cousin and I were driving toward Lake Springfield in Illinois, and the news came on the radio -- WYMG, I think. That's how we got our notifications in the '90s: we had to wait and we had to listen. Things were often spontaneous, and news was often sudden and cold; somehow hearing things and reading them on a screen are two different things. Suicide? A note? I did not understand. I'll never understand.

1994. I loved Nirvana. I loved Pearl Jam. At the time, I didn't really know the name Dave Grohl. I knew there was a drummer in Nirvana. Names, though: there was nowhere to search for names -- you learned about them in liner notes in CD booklets. Those inserts are not valued today, but I studied that shit growing up. How I ever missed Grohl's name, I don't know. I do know I missed it because I never paid attention to the band that Grohl formed after Nirvana. That band was and still is Foo Fighters.

20+ years have gone by, and Grohl didn't have to be in St. Louis last night. There is no good reason why he had to be sitting in a throne, with one pant leg ripped off, other than because, as he told us, "I have the best job in the world."

Still, though. He could have easily taken some kind of insurance deal (you lawyers can weigh in here), re-scheduled his band's world tour, and re-filled his oxycontin prescription. And everyone everywhere would have been like, "Okay, cool, Dave! We love you!"

But Dave Grohl didn't do that. He found a way to carry on. When he injured his ankle/leg in Sweden, he took a shot of Crown Royal and finished the show sitting down while a man he had just met kept his ankle in place. Then, only after having to cancel a few shows, he drew up a figure of a throne -- he wanted "lazers and shit shooting from the top." And last night, there he was.

When I had a third ear surgery in May, the last thing I did the night before was watch Grohl and the Foo Fighters perform "Everlong" for David Letterman on his final show. It was Letterman's favorite song, and the words hit home for me:

And I wonder
When I sing along with you
If everything could ever feel this real forever
If anything could ever be this good again
The only thing I'll ever ask of you
You gotta promise not to stop when I say when

Is it ever going to be like before? And how long must we wait in perpetual doubt? How long? I tell ya: sometimes I just don't know.

The Foo Fighters opened with "Everlong" last night, and an immediate wave of chills shot through me. I used to believe in signs and all that shit, and maybe I still do, but regardless: there Dave Grohl was, in real life, recovering from his own injury, singing this enormous song. I don't care if you dislike Grohl or the Foo Fighters: that was a beautiful display of incredible resilience and pride.

"I didn't finish high school because I had to hit the fucking road, man!" Grohl later told us. This was after a spirited "Monkey Wrench," an acoustic "My Hero," and a medley of Van Halen covers to which Grohl referred to as the "keg party" portion of the show. The show finally ended -- after about two and a half hours -- with a rousing "Best of You," which led into a cover of AC/DC's "Let There Be Rock."

I thought to myself: A few years ago I witnessed Kings of Leon walk off the stage after three songs because of an alleged pigeon that was literally shitting on the band.

And then there's Dave Grohl, broken leg and all, whose mere presence absolutely guided his band through hits and covers and keg parties.

It was clear: the honor wasn't for the 17,000 to be witnessing Grohl play and sing. It was an honor for Grohl to be doing his job.

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