Review by Enzo Giordani; photos courtesy of Doug Peters
I hate the term “dad rock”. As with dad jokes and dad bods, ‘dad’ tends to be a prefix for anything lovable but generally lame and uninspiring. I’m not a dad myself, however I might well be described as a lovable but generally lame and uninspiring middle-aged man and I take offence on behalf of my people!
Unlike Wilco front-man Jeff Tweedy who notoriously rails against it, Dave Grohl apparently embraces the dad rock label– “We’re totally dad rock. Look, I’m 50 years old, I have fucking grey hair…the funny thing is, I have never considered our band cool and I like that.”
But with all due respect to the ever humble perpetual nice guy and former Nirvana drummer, a packed out Mt Smart Staduim crowd made up of all ages from very small children, to hard to please teenagers, young adults, thirty somethings, boomers, and yes – a fair few generally lame and uninspiring middle-aged men, might beg to differ on the Foos’ rating on the coolometer.
And if you don’t believe in coolometers, check the seismometer!
Part way though the set last night, Grohl reminisced with the crowd about that time in 2011 at “that speedway outside town” where “we caused a seismic event!” At the time, the Herald reported Geonet stating that “seismic stations set up in Herne Bay and Eden Park recorded ground movement similar to a volcanic tremor as the band played through their nearly three-hour set at Western Springs.” Apparently the Foos have the readout from the tremors they caused that night on the wall in their recording studio.
After their first song, the opener from 2001 album One By One, ‘All My Life’, Grohl proclaimed “it’s gonna be a loooooong night motherfuckers!!” And it already was. Kiwi punky Ramonesish quintet ‘Dick Move’ gave us half an hour of high energy sass with the occasional “up the wahs” thown in for good measure. Then we were treated to an hour of the Breeders featuring former Pixies bassist and vocalist Kim Deal.
All up it was four and a half hours of music – which is a marathon in anyone’s language. As the Foos played Ballad of the Beaconsfield Miners – a song Grohl wrote in 2006 for trapped miners in Tasmania who asked for an iPod full of Foo Fighters songs to be passed down to them while they waited to be rescued – I closed my eyes and imagined I was trapped in a mine to feel my way into the music. It didn’t take much,after the best part of six hours in a small space in and out of an uncomfortable stadium seat with a weird forward slope…(yeah, yeah, dad gripes, I know…)
I perked up pretty fast when Grohl announced he was going to do an AC/DC cover – but he wasn’t going to sing it – then out strides JACK FRIGGIN BLACK!! Yes, I admit it, I lost my mind. Black sang ‘Big Balls’, somersaulted down the gangway that led out into the mosh pit, and came awfully close to stealing the show.
Not quite though. Because with such crowd pleasers like ‘My Hero’, ‘Monkey Wrench’, ‘This is a Call’, and ‘The Best of You’ all on the setlist, everyone was guaranteed to leave happy. But for me the highlight was earlier in the set, when‘It’s Times Like These’ rang out over industrial Penrose as the sky glowed bright pink courtesy of a magical sunset.
It was all-in-all a wonderful night. It rocked, it was cool, it was generous, it was big-hearted, and if this is dad rock then I’m all in!