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Concert Reviews:
Foo Fighters Play Long And Loud At Joe Louis Arena

Of the Oakland Press

Posted: Monday, February 25, 2008

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DETROIT -- Near the start of Foo Fighters' concert Sunday night (Feb. 24) at Joe Louis Arena, group leader Dave Grohl encouraged the crowd to "make yourselves comfortable...we're gonna be here awhile."

That they were. As the movie industry celebrated its Academy Awards night, Grohl and company had Motor City music fans covered with an abundantly energetic two hours of rock 'n' roll that flaunted only minimal frills, the former Nirvana drummer-turned-frontman's abundant personality steering the show through 19 songs and engaging in a few arena rock cliches with an amiable air of self deprecation.

Following a fierce opening set by Florida punkers Against Me! and a crowd-polarizing but entertaining romp of vaudevillian metal from System of a Down frontman Serj Tankian, the Foos stormed on with an opening barrage of "Let it Die" and "Pretender" -- two of five songs the group performed from its Grammy Award-winning 2007 album "Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace" -- "Times Like These" and "Breakout." Grohl was immediately prowling ramps on either side of the stage as well as a long runway that led to a second stage towards the back of the Joe Louis floor.

As rough-and-tumble (but still tight) live as they are polished on album, the Foos were bolstered Sunday by four additional musicians, including former Wallflowers keyboardist Rami Jaffe and onetime Foos member Pat Smear on guitar. The extras' contributions came primarily during a mid-show excursion on the second stage, an acoustic-flavored set that let the ensemble lighten up for versions of "Sink + Bones," "Marigold," "My Hero," "Cold Day in the Sun" (sung by drummer Taylor Hawkins) and "But, Honestly" before Grohl stared "Everlong" solo and transitioned back to the main stage as the band kicked in for the final verse.

The Foos turned a couple of fan favorites into epics on Sunday; "This is a Call," the group's first single in 1995, was extended with a long mid-song blues jam, while "Stacked Actors" started with a call-and-response guitar duel between Grohl and guitarist Chris Shiflett and also included a drum solo by Hawkins. Grohl also spoke fondly about Detroit -- his first wife, Jennifer Youngblood, was from Grosse Pointe -- and started the encores with a long story about a 1987 stop in Hamtramck as a member of the band Scream, when the singer left the band's money bag at a gas station, only to return to find it still sitting atop the pump.

Before closing the night with "Best of You," Grohl promised the Joe Louis crowd that "we're gonna go home, make another...record, then come back and do it all over again. That's my plan." And it certainly sounded like a good one to everyone in the arena.

Send your thoughts and comments to Gary Graff


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