Foo Fighters’ Dave Grohl Defies Doctor’s Orders, Rocks Sioux Falls
If screaming was an Olympic sport, Dave Grohl would be on the 'Dream Team'.
But sometimes the high octane vocals of the Foo Fighters' front man come at a cost.
Even before the beginning of the band's Concrete And Gold Tour appearance at the Denny Sanford PREMIER Center, Saturday (November 11) night, there were discussions in the venue's concourse about what condition Grohl's voice would be in after reports surfaced of him battling laryngitis during Friday's (November 10) show in Des Moines.
A resounding series of screams from Grohl to start the Sioux Falls show seemed to put those fears to rest. But just three songs into the set, it became very apparent that Grohl's voice was far less than 100 percent when the band played their first big hit, 1999's 'Learn To Fly'.
Despite the challenges, Grohl soldiered on, and nobody in the sold-out crowd seemed the least bit disappointed.
Grohl's vocal issues were a topic of discussion a couple of times during the set. Early on, he acknowledged the talk of perhaps postponing the show, but said the thought never crossed his mind. To add some perspective, he reminded everyone of the time he broke his leg and returned to to the stage, later the same day, in Sweden in 2015.
Later, drummer Taylor Hawkins explained to the audience that Grohl was actually told by doctors that singing in Sioux Falls might put his voice at risk, but said the former Nirvana drummer was having none of it for the band's first ever performance in South Dakota's biggest city.
Grohl promised fans at the PREMIER Center an extensive journey through the band's nine studio albums, and he delivered, going all the way back to the band's 1995 debut album, Foo Fighters, for the song 'This Is A Call', while hitting all of the highlights from the Foos' work since (with the exception of 2014's Sonic Highways).
Some of the biggest highlights of the show were the more spontaneous moments.
Several of the songs evolved into impromptu jam sessions, including some special back-and-forth moments with Grohl on guitar and Hawkins on drums.
Even something as ordinary as band introductions had a very special Foos touch.
When each member of the group was introduced, they treated the crowd to a quick snippet of a cover tune.
- For guitarist Chris Shiflett, it was Alice Cooper's 'Under My Wheels'.
- For keyboardist Rami Jaffee, it was a medley of John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John's 'You're The One That I Want' and Van Halen's 'Jump'.
- For guitarist Pat Smear, it was The Ramones' "Blitkrieg Bop'.
But the best cover of the night belonged to Hawkins, who swapped places with Grohl behind the drums, to belt out Queen and David Bowie's 'Under Pressure'.
The most poignant cover of the night came toward the end of the main set when the Foos played Tom Petty's 'Breakdown'. There were no mentions made of Petty's recent passing, but Dave Grohl fans will no doubt know about the connection between the two rock legends.
Nirvana's Nevermind and Petty's Damn The Torpedoes, Hard Promises, Southern Accents, and Wildflowers were recorded at the now-defunct Sound City Studio in Van Nuys, California. The history of that studio was chronicled in the 2013 documentary Sound City, which was directed by Grohl and featured interviews with Petty and a number of other artists who called the studio home over the years.
One final cover ended the night, with Grohl expending the last remaining ounces of his voice to sing AC/DC's 'Let There Be Rock'.
It seemed the fitting choice to close perhaps the best rock show to come to Sioux Falls in years.
- Dirty Water
- This Is A Call
- Let There Be Rock (AC/DC)
Ordinarily you don't hear much about opening bands, but I've got to make an exception for The Struts.
This four-piece group, founded in Britain in 2009, and based in Los Angeles since 2015, put on an impressive show.
They are fronted by Luke Spiller, who like Dave Grohl, was under the weather, but delivered a high-energy performance channeling one of his rock influences, the late Freddie Mercury.
The Struts are one of those groups that grab your attention from the very first note and don't let you go until they've converted you into a fan. That's nearly impossible for an opening band to pull off, but they did it.
Their eight-song set relied heavily on material from their only studio album, 2014's Everybody Wants, but did include a brand new song, 'One Night Only'.
Let's hope that's a sign that a new album is on the way from this great band.