Now over a year has passed since the tragic death of drummer Taylor Hawkins, the Foo Fighters are back this summer with a stack of major festival gigs spanning four continents. Bonnaroo, Boston Calling and Riot Fest are all on the stateside docket, as are Japan’s Fuji Rock, Germany’s Rock am Ring and a pair of monster performances in Brazil.
The roadshow will feature Josh Freese on kit, The Well-Travelled Sessions and touring vets (Weezer, Nine Inch Nails), as the band confirmed during a streamed event on Sunday. The schedule begins on Wednesday, May 24 in Guilford, New Hampshire. Dave Grohl and Co. soldier on, celebrating one of the most successful rock careers of the past 30 years – plus the upcoming June 2 release of their bittersweet 11th album But here we are – It’s time to go fearless with The Fuzz’s hit-filled catalog.
Sure, there are a dozen or so fiery standards every fan can expect at a Foo Fighters show, but what about the rest of the rather prolific songbook — the stuff that holds up but doesn’t always make it to the stage? And of course, as the band has consistently dropped worthy records since its debut in ’95, there’s value in the new cuts, too.
With all that in mind, we’ve rounded up what will be the most epic Foo Fighters concert ever in 2023, showcasing where they’ve been, who they are, and where they’re going. This crop of tunes caters to both casual and deeply committed fans and delivers some well-deserved surprises.
While this 24-song list may run a little longer than the average Foo Fighters Festival set — we’ll see it clock in at between two and two-and-a-half hours — some bands are better at defusing their sky-high expectations. Also, it is our dream set and we do what we want. Let’s break it down!
Unlikely circumstances demand an unlikely start. The show begins with a Grohl solo taking center stage, not with Fury. Single spotlight, single guitar, band waiting in the wings. That starts “Dolls,” the awe-inspiring prologue from the 1997 fan-favorite color and sizeStruggling it live for the first time since 2003. The first verse takes on new meaning: “For all you know the time we’ve shared, I’ve never been so scared / Doll me up in your misery, I’ll meet you there.” Thousands of men in backwards baseball caps cry like babies.
“times like these”
Grohl finishes, shakes a tear from his neck and the band exits. Grohl hammered his dissonant vocals, shouting his requisite “Okay, you motherf-kers!” And Freeze hits his kit – kick-kick-snare. All bets are off, as the band performs the first of many monster-rock songs of the night. It’s a new chapter for the band and it’s going to be a good one.
A classic early-set favorite, keeping the tone light and energy high as fans of a certain age look back fondly on the days gone by Guitar Hero II And made that big, bright raga the best 15 times in a row.
“no way back”
another deep-ish cut; A fan favorite since 2005 in your honor (overshadowed by the immense success of “Best of You” at the time). This is the first time in 15 years that the Fuzz have jammed it out on stage, and they roar as they put out a rolling riff.
Grohl and company heave a sigh of relief as the frontman properly addresses the crowd for the first time. He calls them “motherf-kers” at least three times, mentions how good it is to be back and how music heals all wounds. He then asks the crowd “Will you run for your life with me?” before 2017’s lead single concrete and gold which starts out slow but in due course builds to loud, screaming punk mayhem. Some fans try to cheat, most dare not; He has to be in the office on Monday.
The new lead single from the band’s upcoming LP touches the heart as the crowd shouts with Dave “Are you feeling… what am I feeling?” The song plays smoothly, with crisp, fun guitars and a huge chorus—it’s about as Foo Fighter-y a single as the band has released in their last few cycles (no shade medicine at midnight; this was good).
“learning to fly”
Fans are rewarded with a world-beater the band usually slips into earlier than later sets, saving the more dramatic sing-alongs for later. “Fly” is the wind all summer and is looking for the sky to save you. A few cans of Michelob Ultra float up to heaven in celebration, floating in victory.
“long road to Ruin”
second single of 2007 Echoes – Generally forgotten by casual fans, well-loved by fanatics—was a set staple until about 2015, then dropped out in favor of new tunes. but no more! “Long Road” is back, longtime guitarist Chris Shiflett nails the solo and all is well.
Another quintessential “oh yeah, this song, Fuzz’s catalog – even though they’ve played it nonstop since its release nearly 25 years ago. “Breakout” is a good time, almost pop-punk in its tempo and feeling.
Grohl pauses again, hurls some more heated abuse at the crowd of tens of thousands, and rhetorically asks how many fans remember 2011. wasted light The Album – Everyone is clapping for what might be the Foo Fighters’ last great album. The most ardent fans tell their friends how the album was recorded in Grohl’s garage and was their first to tap Butch Vig as producer, the drummer for Garbage who went on to form Nirvana. Nevermi- The song mercifully kicks in, the chorus is killer, the geeks are silent.
wasted light The suite runs on for two more tracks, the first and winner in “These Days” with Grohl’s excellent serrated hook: “It’s easy for you to say, your heart’s never been broken / Your pride’s never been stolen, not yet, not yet. Not even!”
Another, the most anthemic of the bunch, laid over an opening guitar riff that sounds a whole lot like Tal Bachchan’s “She’s So High.” Then the heavy chug swoops in as the crowd hums “I can’t believe I’ve waited long enough.” The track builds to its incendiary finish: “I never wanna die, I never wanna die, I’m on my knees, I never wanna die!” The catharsis is immense.
“It’s a Call”
Grohl traces it all the way back to the first album, the first single, the first track that early adopters of the Foo Fighters ever heard. It still plays like a McCartney-meets-Cobain pop-grunge banger (as does a lot in Grohl’s songbook).
“Hey, Johnny Park!” (acoustic)
Here the movement slows down for some time. Grohl, Smear and Shiflett take up acoustic guitars. Freese ditches the main kit for smaller set-ups. Maybe a cajon. Lord, let there be a cajon. The band draws to a close, a tight semi-circle, stripped down mini-set for 15 minutes, beginning with a fan-favorite band Colour, which rarely (if ever) received the three-guitar, acoustic-chug treatment. Warm lamps illuminate the stage, it’s a vibe.
They are the pivot of this deep cut included as a promo single for 2009. greatest Hits Compilation. The new arrangement cuts to a Tom Petty-ish almost-countdown. More cursory fans run to the beer tents and Port-a-Johns. Hey, every set needs a bathroom moment!
“Big Me” (Acoustic)
The stakes go up a bit with “Big Me,” a popular singer-songwriter hit from early 1995 that’s originally a Beatles song and sounds like a pallet version in this simple setting. Come back. It is unclear who Lennon is in this scenario.
“Waiting for a War” (acoustic in full band)
lonely night cut Medicine Used as a great transition to the mega-rock spectacle, as the tune naturally builds from humble beginnings into a very “Free Bird”-like jam session, as the rest of the band plugs back in and takes off. Dueling short solos – a technique Grohl tossed his Gibsons for the final, piercing notes in time for the finale.
It’s all gravy from here on. Grohl is only a vessel for sweat as he hammers his guitar, shouting “What if I say I’m not like the others?” The audience barks back, happily abandoning the use of his vocal chords for the next 48 hours.
Remember last fall, when Taylor Hawking’s 16-year-old son Shane emerged during his father’s tribute concert to play “My Hero”? Well, Teen Beast is back again, shelling out for a guest spot in honor of Dad, as the crowd cheers (sobbing in between). Shane crushes the song, the biggest moment of the night so far, as the chorus reaches Earth’s thermosphere. Even the security guards are singing along. Better yet, Hawkins is smiling.
“Evergreen” (with “February Stars” intro)
Shane jogs off, 20,000 dads use their T-shirts as handkerchiefs and the band ends the main set with their calling card – but with a twist! They begin with saying lines from “February Stars”, which precedes “Everlong” on the album. Lonely and sad, Grohl whispers: “Saw you come and go / How I knew / You’d steal the show.” Before most fans even realize what’s happening and how special it is to hear the snippet (the band hasn’t played it live since ’06), the familiar riff begins. Then another, louder guitar. And it’s alt-rock euphoria. Dave bless us, everyone.
Encore: “All My Life”
The stage darkens, the band leaves, Grohl discards his sweat-soaked black tank-top for a similar black tank-top. They return roaring, but the light is short lived. Then you hear it: “Da-da-da, da-da-da,” that unmistakable riff. “All my life I’ve been looking for something, something never comes, nothing ever happens…” It’s so loud and it’s terrifying. ,Complete! My work is done! And I’m on next!,
Repeat: “Colors and Shapes”
The band remains heavy – as heavy as they’ve ever been – mostly on the screaming, garage-punk title track, performed live for the first time since ’98. New fans don’t know it and that’s okay, dudes who have been on the Fuoos train since the Clinton administration went wild.
Encore: “Live-In Skin”
Another gem for true fans, who will forever be able to say they saw the first live rendition of “Live In Skin,” a classic album track from the 99ers there is nothing left to lose, Which has developed a sort of mystique on the Foo Fighters subreddits, mainly for the lack of it. “I’m surprised I’m still standing” Grohl sings in the hook, the song meaning so much more now.
Encore: “Best of You”
Grohl sips a beer, thanks the huge crowd for sticking with his band of misfits for nearly 30 years and yells, “Oh, and one last thing — I’ve got one more confession to make!” Another Titanic song for the road, as the song expands with additional guitar breaks and a boom of fireworks above. Shrewd fans book it for the parking spot, but float on their high of seeing one of the last monster-rock bands uncover the set of their lives – and find redemption in tragedy.