My wife Tracey loves the Foo Fighters, really loves them and I am a big fan of their music too. So, when it was announced that they would be playing a one-off show in Geelong, Victoria on Friday 4 March 2022, we were going to pull out all the stops to get there. Thanks to her determination, we were there when Dave (Grohl) and the boys made their way back Down Under. The ALWAYS LIVE Victoria initiative, a new Victoria-wide celebration of contemporary live music, brought the Foo Fighters playing in what is considered Regional Victoria. Everything moved so quickly, with only a week between purchase of tickets and the concert going ahead.
What a night was had, as they played and played what was a very emotional set all round. The guys brought the vibe and fun of Live Music to around thirty six thousand lucky buggers, who braved the non-stop rain, to welcome back Stadium Rock to Australia. As Dave recounts during the night – “We thought we would be playing some theatre or maybe a club, but because this is Australia, here we are in a fucking stadium. We fucking miss you people so much, I am so fucking happy to be here.” Later in the night they tease that they’ll be back in November (all dates were announced yesterday).
We have GA standing tickets and Tracey would like to get there early to be able to be in position to see, not having the benefit of my height. Parking is wherever you can find around the streets near the ground and is proving hard to find, I drop her at the stadium to line up while I continue the search. I make my way back to meet her just as we are able to head in. The set-up is great and entry into the ground was pretty painless.
Having got here early we make our way to the barrier at the front and end up in a pretty good possie. It is great to see so many people feeling happy about getting on with life and preparing for really what is a part of history – the return of stadium rock. We make conversation with the people around and find people from all over Victoria, others, like us are from interstate. Some have been in line since 1.30 PM standing in brutal thirty plus degree heat with humidity hovering around the ninety five per cent mark – I don’t know how they are still standing – I certainly wouldn’t be.
Kicking off at 6.00 is The Meanies, a local Vic punk band who have been around the traps for about thirty years. Their set is fast, brutal and goes down well as they rip through their vast back catalogue and a few songs from their latest album, Desperate Measures. The crowd, still reasonably socially distanced at this stage, really gets into and enjoys their set. We spy Pat Smear, side of stage watching their set. He is also seen watching the next act up as well.
Amyl and The Sniffers are next up, a very Aussie group, with three out of the four members rocking some pretty solid Mullets including the lead singer. They are loud, raucous and are having a blast. The crowd, that is growing significantly by this time is right into them. A lot of the people I’ve been talking to have said, how good they are. They certainly worked the crowd up nicely and played with a lot of energy that had a lot of people jumping around with them.
As the time nears, the rain starts spitting, as a cheer, larger than a Geelong goal, greets the guys as they move on stage. Dave, commences with only (keyboardist) Rami (Jaffee) supporting him, as he draws out the opening stanza of Times Like These. The tension and excitement builds with each line, before the whole band joins in and everyone gets down to releasing two years of pent up energy, giving everything back to Dave and the band. The band quickly follows up with The Pretender, raising the intensity even further. The crowd is ecstatic, people everywhere bouncing around, singing their hearts out back at the band, who are playing with grins from ear to ear.
As the rain begins to strengthen, the Fooies play harder, ripping through a back catalogue that would have a number of bands highly envious – Learn To Fly, My Hero, These Days, Walk and All My Life to name a few. Interspersed throughout are newer tracks from the later two albums such as No Son of Mine, The Sky Is A Neighbourhood, Shame Shame, and Medicine At Midnight. No one in the crowd minds that these songs may be lengthened at stages by immense drum solos or guitar duels (Dave and Chris Shiflett), even bass solos by Nate Mendel, they just eat it up. Covers are the order for a couple of the songs, where the alter ego called the Dee Gees play You Should Be Dancing (Bee Gees). Grohl and drummer Taylor Hawkins swap possies so Hawkins can do a brilliant cover of Somebody To Love (Queen) and coax Grohl into his own drum solos.
A couple of oldies are brought out to play and Grohl encourages those youngsters who don’t know it to stand next to the ‘Gandalf looking Motherfuckers’ to learn the words. This Is A Call and Big Me go down a treat. But amazingly, two and a half hours is over all too quick. Finishing up with the classic trio of Best of You, Monkey Wrench and Everlong reminds us why Live Music is so important to everyone here. The crowd interaction in Best Of You is amazing as the crowd sing back to the band Wo Oh Oh, Oh Oh Oh for a good few minutes. The look on Dave and the bands face shows how much that meant to them.
Monkey Wrench is fast and furious, before Dave tells us that he doesn’t say goodbye. He’ll be back if we come back. Everlong is introduced with a beautiful speech honouring the late Michael Gudinski (which has adorned Taylor’s drum set all night, Taylor also wearing an old Mushroom music tee). Grohl recounts what Gudinski meant to him, even overcoming the language barrier, at one point refereeing to “I could never understand one word that motherfucker said, but I do know he was full of love.” The band finishes on such a high as the last notes of Everlong are held on and on, while a larger-than-life picture of Gudinski appears on the screen as the fireworks farewell us until November.
For us, we leave on such a high. To have seen such a brilliant concert and thankful to have been part of what will be the resurgence of Live Music. We can go home very happy and cannot wait to rock out with these guys again in November.