Foo Fighters @ Red Rocks Amphitheatre - Reverb - Reverb

Foo Fighters @ Red Rocks Amphitheatre

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Remember when this guy used to be in Nirvana? Neither does he. Photos by Laurie Scavo.

Let’s see… longhaired front man, check. Gratuitous guitar solos, check. Pandering to the crowd, check. Extended instrumental jams, check. A couple acoustic numbers, check. Four minute drum extravaganza, check. Playing a little too long, check. Playing guitar in the crowd, check. Looks like we have an arena rock band kids, and that is exactly what the Foo Fighters have become. Their recent show at Red Rocks proved to be a laundry list of rock clichés pulled off with brilliant abandon.

However unoriginal the set was, it is hard to blame a band that has risen from an under-touted side project to the No. 1 party band in the world. If for no other reason, they clearly have a blast doing their thing.

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The Fighters where originally supposed to play July 14th, but due to lead singer Dave Grohl’s throat problems, the show was played last Monday. The chilly night did not keep people away.

The crowd was filled with enthusiastic fans that sang the words, pounded their fists, lit their lighters at the appropriate times and seemed utterly indifferent to the irony that Grohl used to drum for Nirvana, a band that was the antithesis of everything the Foo Fighters have become.

Starting off the night, Year Long Disaster played a short, to-the-point set. No frills, no posturing, straight rock ‘n’ roll that freaks out just enough to leave you interested in the mainly repetitive, loud, blues-based noise. Front man Daniel Davies (the son of the Kinks’ Ray Davies) and crew took time off their tour with Motörhead to play the make up dates they where originally scheduled for. The band is prototypical L.A rock, shameless in their embrace of past styles, but striking in their delivery. This amalgamation of old tone and new enthusiasm kept the crowd into the show just long enough for the band the to get off the stage.

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Next the Foo Fighters took the stage, which was adorned with little pomp other than some back lighting and small video screens. From the first song, the recent hit “The Pretender,” Grohl and company played like they where having the time of their lives. Despite the prevalence of redundant songs like “Long Road to Ruin” and “Cheer up Boys,” off of “Silence, Patience & Grace,” the band’s newest and best received album, the set was peppered with slightly older hits like “Times Like These” “All My Life” “Learn to Fly” and Monkey Wrench.”

The sound was far from great. The vocals were often growled out rather than sung, and the dueling guitar solos painfully pointed out Grolh’s inferiority to lead guitarist Chris Shiflett. The crowd did not seem to mind as long as they got to belt out the chorus’ and the copious dramatic pauses seemed pure elation to the waiting fans.

When not playing songs off the last four albums the crowd seemed a bit lost, but the pure enthusiasm of the band created a coherent party vibe throughout the set. In between songs instrumental pieces floated around, and Taylor Hawkins (arguably the best straight rock drummer currently playing) took an extended solo while the rest of the band got a break, and did what I thought was impossible: making the roto-toms somehow rock.

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It is hard not to appreciate the pure persistence of a band that has as many radio hits as the Foo Fighters in their 14 year span. It’s like listening to CCR’s “Chronicles” album — you keep saying to yourself, “Oh yeah, they wrote that song, too.” The show was a long way from the 1995 self-titled album where Greg Dulli from the Afghan Wigs plays a guitar part.

However, the band clearly still has fun playing, and they put on a show that reflects their enthusiasm for live music. While I’ll take my Grohl throwing drums at Kurt Cobain’s head, the Foo Fighters still do it for those that like their rock safer, and on a big stage.

Reverb contributor Aaron Collins is a Denver-based writer.

Regular Reverb photographer Laurie Scavo is a Denver-based photographer.

MORE PHOTOS:

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  • Chris Shifflet

    Not sure I understand why the band should be excoriated for rising to the point where they can nearly sell out a couple of nights at Red Rocks. Maybe they were more intimate or even groundbreaking at The Ogden 10 years ago, but it is hard to blame an artist for trying to create popular music and make a little money.

    And they opened with “Let it Die” not “The Pretender.”

  • hambone904

    Sounds like you came in knowing that you were not going to like the show. Arena rock in a large venue is what the fans are paying to see. Not noodling.

    BTW, the first song was “let it die” Get it right.

  • Jeff

    Yer a complete moron! Foo Fighters are way better than NIrvana’s “I’m too cool for rock & roll bullshit attitude” Dave was just held back in that stupid band.

  • Johnny

    Holy SH!t! I can’t believe someone knocked Nirvana. There is no Foo Fighters and countless other bands in all genres of rock with out Nirvana dumbf_ck. Go back to your frat rock records if you want to slam Nirvana.

    Aaron – I went to the show and I’m a fan of the band’s records. Especially Dave’s background and Taylor’s drumming. I knew that there would be some commercialized parading on stage and I think you’ve provided an honest critique of the show. It was fun and they did it well. Contrary to what’s posted in the comments, I thought there was a lot of noodling at the show. Not in the jam-band-dead-end sense, but there was some weird breaks and transitions that did nothing for me as a fan. Dave Grohl is one of my favorite drummers and rock personalities, but let’s face it folks, he’s not a great guitar player. A great rock writer no doubt, but I heard a lot of flubs Monday night. Not to mention he sounded out of breath at times. Who knows though. It’s probably really hard to run all over that stage and hit all the notes too.

    Bottom line, I love this band. They are not perfect musicians like Steely Dan and that’s what we got – The Larimer Lounge show at Red Rocks. That’s what made me love the night even more.

  • Paul LaSalle

    That show was great. “Let it Die” was the opening song and it’s probably the greatest opening song I’ve ever heard at a concert. I’ve been in a great mood all week because of this show. Now, where can I pick up a bootleg?

  • longhorn

    Without Nirvana, the Foo Fighters would not be the band they are. Dave is a great songwriter, but Kurt influenced him, and helped make him what he is today. Not trying to discredit Dave, cause he kicks ass. But don’t try and say that Nirvana was a stupid band when you like the FF’s soooooo much. That comment was ridiculous. I personally always like the early days of bands when you see them in a small venue. More meat, less fluff.

  • josh

    Just another elitist indie reject complaining about mainstream rock. blah, blah, blah.

  • kayslian

    I always laugh when people compare bands, as if you had some secret insight into the realm of Nirvana. Nirvana is one of my favorite bands of all time, right next to the Foo Fighters. I like them specifically because they are DIFFERENT! How can you even begin to compare the two? Their music is not similar in any way whatsoever! Seriously, Nirvana was over and done with in 1994. So Dave Grohl got his big break playing drums behind Cobain and he has found nearly 15 years worth of success with Foo. I’ve been to several Foo concerts over the last decade. They always play passionately, rock the crowd, and look like they had fun. It is sad that, musical genius as he was, Cobain was never able to get over his sadness and depression to truely enjoy being a artist.

    I attended the second night at Red Rocks. It was an awesome, amazing concert. Thank you Foo for being the Rock band you really are, and for always leaving us with a memorable experience!

  • Graham

    it was a great show! and whoever wrote this is a nubster
    however Nirvana will always be better. so save it for those who care Jeff.

  • BT

    Sounds like the guy who wrote this article, shouldn’t have been.
    It was a great show.

  • Brian Arnold

    Wow, another terrible review from a Post hack. You must have been hanging with Baca. Oh, and get it straight o great one that gets paid for slagging on shows, he is the son of DAVE Davies. 22 years of Red Rocks shows, and this was among the best. Sorry you think everything with a bit of pop mixed in is “safe.” Cant wait for your review of Sigur Ros that I am sure can do no wrong. Just because they sell records and tickets and can connect with many different types of people makes them “safe.” Well, bring on the safe.

  • Vinny

    Honestly, Denver Post should find someone else to write. Mr Collins, have you ever seen Nirvana live?? Maybe you did, and maybe you were lucky and had a good show. I saw them in 1994, about 2 months before Kurt and it was the wrose concert I’ve seen.

    Yes, Nirvana started a whole new era of rock, a lot of bands today, including Foo Fighters wouldn’t be here or wouldn’t be as good.
    But you can’t say that the concert on Monday AND Tuesday (YES I WENT TO BOTH) wasn’t anything but GREAT. It was one of the best concerts I’ve been, that’s why I went back on tuesday. And I’ve seen a lot of concerts.

    In 1994 I saw Nirvana, Alice in Chains and Red Hot Chili Peppers.
    Also saw RHCP last year at the Pepsi Center which was a very good concert, but not better than their 1994 concert AND Foo Fighters’ 2 concerts at Red Rocks. This summer I saw REM, The Police, Dave MAtthews… nothinhg was better than Foo Fighters.

    When today, do you go to a rock concert where besides the great music there’s conversation with the crowd and even the lead singer asking us what we want to hear?!?!?

    It was one of the best concerts I’ve seen, both Monday and Tuesday. ( Monday was a little better).

    By the way, great comment from KAYSLIAN.

    Please, find someone else to write. your articles…

  • longhorn

    jumping up and down about mainstream rock? i guess if there is a ton of $ spent on marketing the mainstream stuff and it’s crammed into our faces, I have to like it cause it’s good right? glad there are people out there to tell me what is good and what i should listen to. glad there is so much good mainstream rock on the radio cause i don’t want to go actually find the good bands. thanks clear channel! thanks major labels! thanks everyone who tells us how great the over produced and soul-less entity of so called mainstream rock really is. yeah…thanks a lot.

  • gpearce

    Daniel Davies is the son of DAVE Davies, not Ray.

  • jenny

    Year Long Disaster’s talented Daniel Davies is the son of the legendary DAVE Davies of the legendary KinKs, not the son of the legendary RAY DAVIES, CBE, of the legendary KinKs !! The last thing DAVE would want is for his brother RAY to take credit for this, too !

  • charlie

    2 Things. One, everyone is entitled to their opinions, and are free to say whatever they want (but know that Nirvana is loved by almost everyone.) And two, I don’t think reviewers should review a performance by a band they don’t really like. I’ll at least respect a fan’s negative review.

    I actually got too sick to go (how’s that for irony?) Foo Fighters are one of my favorite bands of all time, I’m so sad I missed it! You’d better come back next year!!

  • CORY BROWN

    Relax fans. Don’t hate on the critic, it’s his job to be critical. We’re fans, it’s our job to be fanatical. Critics are always going to look for what was wrong with a show. It must suck to be so busy dissecting a performance that you miss the performance itself. Who cares how the Foo stack up against Nirvana? No one at Red Rocks bought a ticket for Nirvana, we were there for the Foo Fighters and thats what we got! And I don’t think the majority of us were there to “listen” to the music. We have their cds, we can hear them any time. We were there to connect with the band we love and experience the music in a way a cd can’t deliver. The show was loud, intense, and it rocked! Thats what a concert should be judged on!

  • Bree Davies

    My question is, if we writers are such continual hacks, why do you keep reading?

    As writers, we have to be critical. That’s our job. If you don’t like our criticisms, read reviews of your favorite bands somewhere else. There are plenty of media outlets on the internet, and I’m sure there is one better suited for your personal opinion. But please, please, please stop personally attacking the writers. We work very hard to produce these reviews and deserve respect. We are all volunteers, and although we are VERY lucky to work for this respected publication, almost all of us write and take photographs on top of holding down full-time jobs. It doesn’t mean we don’t work to produce fair and accurate work; it just means that sometimes, we make errors. We are also human.

    And especially to you, Reader Brian who said, “Wow, another terrible review from a Post hack. You must have been hanging with Baca,” I think that you must have never had the pleasure of meeting Ricardo Baca. Because not only is he an incredible writer with a vast knowledge of music, he is also a really cool, nice dude. He’s pretty much out and about supporting music in all forms 24 hours a day, so you can catch him around. Introduce yourself sometime.

    and p.s.- If we happen to misname a song, wrongly credit someone, or incorrectly label someone, feel free to correct us. We appreciate your feedback and fact-checking. Just don’t do it in a demeaning way. I know it’s easy to get mean on the internet because you are anonymous, but we are still people behind our words, and we are happy to have you reading.

    Just lay off the hate.

    Peace fingers,

    Bree Davies

  • Mark S.

    Well said, Bree. Here here!

  • Hobbs

    God bless Dave Grohl for throwing drums at Kurdt’s head. And god bless Chad Channing for all the guitars thrown at him. I’ll take my Dave Grohl excoriating Axl Rose. Foos get their deserved props but please don’t be silly. Jenny’s comment is the raddest btw “The last thing DAVE would want is for his brother RAY to take credit for this, too !”

  • Tass

    My daughter and I flew in from Cali to see the Foo Fighters for the 3nd time this
    year, all I can say is that they kicked ass!!! And it was by far the best show so far. I wish that I could see them again, it was a worth every penny and then some. We are sad that it is over. But Dave Grohl was amazing!!! And funny as hell. The people we met made the the vibe that much more awesome. All I can say is wow!!!

  • Bob Da Man

    My question is, if those volunteer writers are such continual hacks, and can’t take criticism of their writing, why do they keep submitting crap instead of concentrating on their day jobs, in what is, obviously, a position for which they are much more suited.

    As writers, you have to cast aside prejudices, siding with an objective mind. That’s your job. If you don’t like a whole bunch of criticism of your writing, maybe you should stop writing in places where readers don’t share your opinion.

    There are plenty of media outlets on the internet, and I’m sure there is one better suited for a personal opinion written as a objective review.

    . But please, please, please stop personally attacking the readers attacking hack volunteer writers. The readers work very hard to get through these hack reviews and deserve the respect of a person with disphagia at a bukkake contest . We are all at the mercy of corporate media, and although we are VERY lucky according to China and North Korea to have available such a respected publication, almost all of us read these crap hack reviews on top of holding down full-time jobs. It doesn’t mean we don’t work to read fair and accurate work; it just means that sometimes we make errors in judgment about the crap we read. So please take this clichéd apology at face value when I say we are also human.

    I don’t know Ricardo Baca. I wouldn’t know if he is an incredible writer with a vast knowledge of music, I wouldn’t know that he is also a really cool, nice dude. I wouldn’t know that he’s pretty much out and about supporting music in all forms 24 hours a day. I just hope someone will sarcastically offer to introduce me to him!

    and p.s.- These crap hack writers happen to misname a song, wrongly credit someone, or incorrectly label someone, feel free to do just what you are doing in this blog, correct them with out malice. Because we all know that they appreciate the feedback and fact-checking because they like chalking up the slash marks from the number of times they’ve been wrong,

    Just remember. These critics know it’s easy to get mean on the internet and even though they sign their names, they are anonymous to everyone but their friends and family, although they’ll try taking a bite a fame through their scathing critiques and blame-filled rants.

    Just lay off the hate toward these unconscious hacks!

    Two middle fingers,

    Bob

  • Hobbs

  • Bree Davies

    Thanks Bob-

    I’m taking your advice and quitting writing to work at the mall full-time.

    Rock on.

    Bree Davies

  • Reverb reader

    Bob wrote: “As writers, you have to cast aside prejudices, siding with an objective mind. That’s your job.”

    Oh, Bob… you loveable cut-up. Are you a professional comedian, or just that ignorant?

    Writing is not a subjective exercise. Hard news reporting requires objectivity, but cultural criticism (which is what this is, in case you haven’t noticed) is everything but objective.

    Disagreeing with someone’s opinion in a concert review is one thing, but knocking the writer — then victimizing yourself when the writer (or other writers) knock back — is not only near-sighted, it’s laughable.

    Grow a spine. Or at least find a consistent tone for your sarcasm, because your little missive was garbled as hell.

  • JQColorado

    Well it’s obvious from your article that you didn’t attend both shows. Granted the first night was a little commercialized but that is to be expected. The second night was far superior. Playing songs like “Stacked Actors” and “Generator” really proved why this band is far superior to Nirvana, and this is coming from an old school Nirvana fan. Dave Grohl and the Foo Fighters embrace rock and roll instead of being it’s martyr such as the likes of Kurt Cobain. Your article was filled with mistakes from the first song and the actual name of their newest album. Echoes, Silence, Patience, and Grace. This was one of the great Red Rock shows, and I hope that it is released onto DVD. Stay Dialed In

  • Hobbs

  • Hobbs