Dave Grohl must have played thousands of gigs at this point.
How is it, then, that he manages to maintain an enthusiasm for his job that few others could manage after 30+ years – 25 of them spent fronting Foo Fighters? The answer is simple: evidentially, the 50-year-old still really enjoys being a rock god.
Grohl's reputation as the Nicest Man in Music remains intact after Foo Fighters' gig on a rainy Wednesday night in Dublin. Returning to Irish shores for the first time since their Slane headliner in 2015, Grohl is charm personified as he greets the crowd, encouraging them to ignore the rain and stoking the embers on what promises to be, in his own words, a 'f**king long night of rock 'n' roll.'
— Conor O'Neill (@oneillconor87) August 22, 2019
He's not wrong there: a setlist that spans the band's career, from 1995's eponymous debut to their most recent album 'Concrete & Gold', lasts almost 2.5 hours. True, there are a few lulls and long passages of band introductions, as Taylor Hawkins, Pat Smear, Chris Shiflett, Nate Mendel and keyboardist Rami Jaffee all get their moment in the spotlight. At one point, Hawkins's drum riser is elevated on a platform above the stage, as he teases the crowd with the intro to U2's 'Sunday Bloody Sunday', proudly donning a U2 t-shirt and dedicating 'Sunday Morning' to Larry Mullen Jr.
— Simon Connaughton (@Seymore_13) August 21, 2019
Such lulls are forgivable, however, when they're punctuated with songs like 'The Pretender', 'Learn to Fly', 'Times Like These' and a laser-enhanced 'Best of You'. They all elicit huge hands-in-the-air singalongs, while later, the ferocity of 'All My Life' and a giddy 'Monkey Wrench' see the soggy audience erupt with joy.
The U2 theme continues, too, when Grohl seems to introduce Bono on stage midway through their set. The sold-out stadium collectively exhales in disappointment when it turns out to be a childhood friend of Hawkins' instead, who joins the drummer on an (admittedly impressive) cover of Queen's 'Under Pressure'. The band later pay tribute to Thin Lizzy with a few bars of 'The Rocker', 'The Boys are Back in Town' and 'Jailbreak', noting that the previous day had marked Phil Lynott's 70th birthday.
— Martin Mc Kenna ™ (@Kenna_kilcar) August 22, 2019
There's another connection between Grohl and Ireland, too, as he delights in pointing out. Dedicating 'My Hero' to physiotherapist Freddie Murray – the man who literally helped him get back on his feet after he broke his leg mid-gig several years ago – the camera pans to the mortified-looking Tipperary man, as chants of 'Freddie! Freddie!' amusingly break out amongst the audience.
There are some sombre moments, too; Grohl says that they're going to play slow-burning singalong 'Wheels', revealing that Irish audiences are among the few who truly appreciate it. He encourages people to hold up their phones and the RDS is temporarily turned into a twinkling galaxy of torches.
— John Brophy (@jk001) August 21, 2019
After introducing the band's backing singers (one of whom is his green-haired, 13-year-old daughter Violet) Grohl and his fellow musicians bow out with a Foo Fighters classic, 'Everlong'. The next generation may be hot on his heels, but with gigs like this one, where even crap weather can't dampen the buzz, his band's reign is secure.
And when he calls tonight "the perfect f**king gig" - something that would sound like cliched stage patter coming from any other rock star - it seems like he really means it.