Foo Fighters has been on my concert bucket list for a while! I’ve been lucky enough to check off a lot of artists on that list over the last couple of years, so the list is getting pretty short. On Saturday, I checked off one more!
I’m not a huge Foo Fighters fan. While I will never change the radio station when a Foo Fighters song comes on, I’ve also never bought a Foo Fighters cd. I have a lot of respect for Dave Grohl and think he’s an amazing songwriter and musician. Plus, a lot of my concert loving friends kept telling me that the Foo Fighters was a show that I had to see. So, when tickets went on sale, I got lucky and was able to snag two seats in the very last row of the BB&T Pavilion.
So, did the Foo Fighters live up to the hype? Did they melt my face off like I expected, or were they a concert dud? Keep reading to find out!
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The show was at BB&T Pavilion in Camden, NJ, which is not my favorite outdoor venue. However, if you are a big name and are playing an outdoor show, that’s the place you are going to play.
They have made some improvements to the venue this past year. They’ve installed a big bank of individual bathroom stalls (I call them high end porta-potties), which has made the bathroom situation much better there. They also started selling a really good selection of craft beer, and brought in several food trucks to bring some different food options.
So, while the prices are still ridiculous and parking can be expensive and a mess (unless you know about my super secret lot), it seems to be much more tolerable to go to a show there this year than it has in years past.
You can read a more detailed review of BB&T Pavilion here:
ABOUT THE ARTIST
The Struts are from Derby, Derbyshire, England and consist of Luke Spiller (vocals), Adam Slack (guitar), Jed Elliott (bass) and Gethin Davies (drums). The band originally formed in 2009, with Spiller and Slack being the two original members.
Spiller was raised in a Christian family and was mainly exposed to gospel music when he was young. When Spiller was 7, he discovered Michael Jackson and decided that he wanted to be a dancer. By age 11, he started listening to bands like Led Zeppelin and Queen, and began imitating Freddie Mercury in front of the mirror. Spiller started playing in bands and singing at age 16.
Spiller and Slack met in 2009, and they started writing and recording music together. The Struts released their debut studio album – Everybody Wants – in 2014. They signed a record deal in early 2015, and released their EP – Have You Heard – in the U.S. The Struts went on tour in the U.S., and quickly began selling out venues. Their single “It Could Have Been Me”, began gaining popularity on the U.S. alternative rock charts.
The Struts decided to relocate to Los Angeles in 2015. They have quickly gained popularity by opening for bands like The Rolling Stones, The Who, and the Foo Fighters. They are working on their second album, and expect it to be released in 2018.
I was almost as excited to see The Struts as I was Foo Fighters. I’ve seen The Struts a few times previously, and they’ve always put on a fantastic show.
There are times when social media can be a curse, and times when it can be a blessing. This was definitely a time it was a blessing. The show start time on our tickets was 7:30 p.m. Additionally, the day before the show I got an e-mail from Live Nation telling me everything I needed to know about going to the show, including stating again that the show start time was 7:30 p.m.
I had a couple of friends who were still looking for tickets, so the afternoon of the show I went to the show event page on Facebook to see if anyone was selling. As I was paging through the posts, I saw one from somebody who said The Struts were actually going on stage at 7 p.m. What?????? I went to Foo Fighters Instagram and Twitter, and they had posted set times confirming the 7 p.m. start. Thank goodness I saw this, or I might have missed their whole set.
While I understand that most people are not at the show to see The Struts, I find this change of start time to be totally disrespectful to the band. When the stated start time is 7:30, do they really expect people (other than those trying to get a good spot in the pit or on the lawn) to be in the venue and in their seats 30 minutes early?
Despite the snafu, we made it inside with plenty of time to get to our seats and be ready for The Struts. While there was a good crowd in the pit, the seats were still pretty open including our row. While I wish more people would have been exposed to The Struts, it gave me plenty of room to dance.
The Struts kicked off their set with their fan favorite “Put Your Hands Up”. It’s the perfect song for front man Luke Spiller to get the crowd going.
While Spiller can be quite a showman (he was wearing a gold jacket and black pants with gold fringe on the bottom on Saturday night), at their core, The Struts are just a good old rock n’ roll band. Someone commented on my Facebook post, that they are a band that formed in the wrong decade. Their music is very reminiscent of ‘70s rock bands like Queen, who was clearly a big influence on them.
The short eight song set continued with old favorites like “Kiss This”, as well as “Primadonna Like Me”, which will be on their upcoming second album. The Struts wrapped up their high energy set with “Could Have Been Me” and “Where Did She Go”. At the end of the set, Spiller told the audience (as he has at every show I’ve seen) to remember their name – The Struts!
I think this band is destined for great things, and a long career. I highly recommend catching their live show if you can.
Set List (click on any link and download the song for purchase directly on Amazon): Put Your Hands Up, Body Talks, The Ol’ Switcheroo, Primadonna Like Me, Kiss This, Put Your Money On Me, Could Have Been Me, Where Did She Go
The Struts are on the road opening for the Foo Fighters throughout the summer. On days off, you can also find them playing some of their own headlining shows. Check out their website at www.thestruts.com for more info on upcoming dates.
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Foo Fighters was formed in Seattle, Washington in 1994 by Dave Grohl. The band was originally formed as a one-man project by Grohl, who was the drummer for Nirvana. As most everyone knows, Nirvana front man Kurt Cobain died on April 8, 1994, which led to the end of Nirvana.
While Grohl was touring with Nirvana, he was also writing his own songs. He never shared the songs with the rest of the band because he said he was in awe and intimidated by Cobain.
Following Cobain’s death, Grohl was offered positions as a drummer in several other bands. However, he decided to go into the studio and record 15 of the 40 songs he had written. During those sessions, Grohl played every instrument and sang all of the vocals on the tracks.
Grohl decided to release the songs under the title “Foo Fighters”, hoping to remain anonymous. But, the demo tape started circulating and garnered interest from several record labels. Grohl recruited some other musicians and officially formed a band.
Foo Fighters made their public debut on February 23, 1995 in Arcata, California. The band released their debut album – Foo Fighters – in 1995.
The Foo Fighters released their second album – The Colour and the Shape – in 1997. The album put Foo Fighters on the map of rock bands to be reckoned with, and included songs like “Everlong”, “Monkey Wrench” and “My Hero”.
Over the years, the Foo Fighters continued to gain popularity and continued to release studio albums including There Is Nothing Left to Lose in 1999, In Your Honor in 2005, and Sonic Highways in 2014. Their latest (and 9th) studio album – Concrete and Gold – was released in 2017. The current members of the band include Grohl (lead vocals, guitar), Nate Mendel (bass), Pat Smear (guitar, backing vocals), Taylor Hawkins (drums, percussion, backing vocals), Chris Shiflett (guitar, backing vocals), and Rami Jaffee (keyboard, piano).
While the Foo Fighters have had huge commercial success with their recorded music, they are probably best known for their epic live shows. The band is known to play for 3 hours plus, and go hard the entire time. Probably one of their most famous live performances was on June 15, 2015 in Gothenburg, Sweden. Grohl fell from the stage during the second song of their set. The band kept playing while Grohl got medical attention. Grohl returned to the stage to finish the set sitting in a chair. After the show, Grohl was flown to London where he had surgery to insert six metal pins into his leg.
The Foo Fighters were scheduled to kick off their North American tour in 2015 with a July 4th show in Washington, D.C., which was also to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the band. Despite speculation that they would cancel the show due to Grohl’s injury, the band played with Grohl using a custom-made moving throne that he sat on during the show. Grohl claimed to have designed the throne himself while he was in the hospital following surgery.
Another memory for 2015, was when a thousand Italian fans gathered in Cesena, Italy to perform “Learn to Fly” and ask the Foo Fighters to perform in their town. The video went viral and Grohl answered the request. The Foo Fighters played a show in Cesena on November 3, 2015.
Foo Fighters took the stage just before 8:30 p.m., a few minutes later than their posted 8:15 p.m. start time. Grohl and band were no-nonsense right from the beginning, taking the stage and going straight into “All My Life” and “Learn to Fly”. They followed this up with “The Pretender”, which included the band going into a longer jam of the song than just the “studio album version”.
In fact, when Grohl finally addressed the crowd, he apologized for not talking earlier, but he said they wanted to get as many songs in as possible. That was the general them throughout the show. Foo Fighters did not disappoint with playing all the songs every fan wanted to hear. Grohl kept saying throughout the show that they weren’t done yet, and that it was going to be a long night. He even said that he had this idea that they should play at least one song from every record that they made.
One of my favorite parts of the Foo Fighters show, was when Grohl went through one band member at a time and introduced them. After each introduction, the band member was given a solo. After each solo, Grohl stated that the solo would have been fine when they were still a small band playing venues like the Electric Factory or TLA, but not for a big arena show like this. That would lead into the band member being featured on a song, which happened to be a cover. They covered “Under My Wheels”, “Another One Bites the Dust” and “Blitzkrieg Bop”. Foo Fighters’ keyboardist Rami Jaffee was featured on “Jump” by Van Halen, which interestingly was mashed up with the keyboard melody of John Lennon’s “Imagine”.
But my favorite cover of the night was “Under Pressure” by Queen. It featured Taylor Hawkins joined by Luke Spiller of The Struts on vocals, and Grohl back on the drums. It was a classic moment.
Foo Fighters continued to delight the crowd with mostly “old school fan” (as Grohl referred to them) favorites. There were only a handful of songs from the new album that made the set including “The Sky Is A Neighborhood” early in the set and “Dirty Waters” late in the set. Both of those songs were accompanied by a group of back-up singers.
After going non-stop for almost three hours, Foo Fighters ended their set with “Best of You” and went off stage. With the house lights still down even though it was already 11 p.m., the crowd knew there was going to be an encore. It may have been one of my favorite encore breaks ever. Hawkins and Grohl suddenly appeared on the big screen from back stage. They did a little skit, where Hawkins was holding up two fingers, indicating he wanted a two song encore. Grohl mockingly slashed his throat and pointed to where his watch would have been and held up one finger. After going back and forth, Grohl agreed to the two songs, and then Hawkins asked for three. It had the crowd on their feet.
When Foo Fighters took the stage again after the encore break, Grohl talked about how they had been on local radio station WMMR earlier, and met a young kid back stage. Grohl referred to the kid as the “little rocker”, and said when he asked him what he wanted to hear, it was all obscure Foo Fighters stuff. He said that he requested “Big Me”, and they played it for the “little rocker” as the first song of their encore.
Foo Fighters wrapped up their three hour set with “Times Like These” and “Everlong”. My overall observations? Foo Fighters give you everything they have for 3 hours. I was exhausted watching Grohl and Hawkins particularly. Grohl screams a lot. He also curses a lot (his term of endearment for the crowd started with mother and ended with an expletive that starts with the letter “f”). Did the show melt my face off? No, but it was a non-stop rock n’ roll show that gave me everything I wanted from the Foo Fighters.
Oh, and go see The Struts. They were as much the star of the show as Foo Fighters in my opinion!
The Foo Fighters have been on the road on their Concrete and Gold Tour since the album’s release in 2017. They will be playing shows across the U.S. through October of this year. Check out their website at www.foofighters.com for upcoming tour dates.
Set List (click on any link and download the song for purchase directly on Amazon): All My Life, Learn To Fly, The Pretender, The Sky Is A Neighborhood, Rope, Sunday Rain, My Hero, These Days, Walk, Under My Wheels (Alice Cooper cover), Another One Bites the Dust (Queen cover), Jump (Van Halen cover), Blitzkrieg Bop (Ramones cover), Under Pressure (Queen cover), Monkey Wrench, Wheels, This Is A Call, Breakout, Dirty Water, Run, Best of You Encore: Big Me, Times Like These, Everlong
Have you seen The Struts or Foo Fighters before? Were you at the Camden show? Let me know what you thought. Comment below or e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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