It may have been just another night on the calendar; Thursday, August 26th, 2021 to be exact. Anyone who ventured to Inglewood, California was about to take in what may have been the best concert in recent memory. The place was The Forum. The band was Foo Fighters.
Multiple signs served as a back drop to feature the Foo Fighters logo and a very important message… THERE WILL BE ROCK!
There may have been another reason why the crowd was so amped up: Several weeks back, the Foo’s played a show to tune up for their upcoming gigs at the Canyon Club before they were to play The Forum. Sadly, they had to postpone The Forum show because of a COVID issue with someone within their camp. So yeah, this was a make-up game so-to-speak. Fast forward to August 26th and it was a capacity crowd ready to see the Foo’s.
The evening started off innocent enough; it was warm, maybe a little muggy, and getting into the venue was very, very different. As concertgoers were let in, there were new COVID protocols in place. Most patrons didn’t mind and were prepared, but a handful of others seemed to be a little annoyed. What was it that was so different? All concertgoers were required to wear a mask at all times, and to enter the venue, you had to present your COVID-19 vaccination card and identification that matched the card.
There was one other new thing that was very noticeable. As you pulled into The Forum, there were mask reminders everywhere; I mean everywhere. Not only on electronic billboards, but also signs hanging on the walls of the venue, and even security guards walking around with hand-held signs reminding people that masks were required to be worn. Most people abided, but like anything else in life, there were those who didn’t feel they had to comply once they got in. Surprisingly, security was quick to remind those folks that the price of admission included the security protocols. What was even more remarkable was once that happened, those people complied without incident.
Once we were settled in and ready for the show, the opener took the stage; a trio from St. Joseph, Missouri called Radkey. Truthfully, I wasn’t familiar with this band, so I didn’t know what to expect, and I was pleasantly surprised. The trio was happy to be there, and their performance was energized and loud. I had no idea three dudes could make so much noise, and I say that in the best way possible. They had a great sound; electric with a killer bass. They gave off a way cool Bad Brains, Weezer meets The Strokes vibe. The crowd quickly understood why they opened for the Foo’s and cheered throughout their set.
The anticipation was finally over as the lights dimmed, and to a dark front stage, a lighted area appeared with a silhouette of the six members of Foo Fighters. As the crowd roared, Dave Grohl started with a slow-paced, melodic version of “Times Like These.” Before you knew it, The Forum was blasting and housing a moment in time we may not soon forget!
Their two-and-a-half-hour set had Grohl communing with the crowd immediately. The entire band was beyond happy to play for the L.A. crowd.
AUGUST 26, 2021 – THE FORUM
“We haven’t played in Los Angeles in a very long time, you know I’m going to fuck with you all night… and it’s gonna be a very long night!”
DAVE GROHL | FOO FIGHTERS
Grohl went on to say, ”We have so many fucking songs that we can’t stop. It’s true. If you want us to play all 225 songs or whatever we have, we’ll be here for six days… fuck that!” and enthusiastically went into the next set of songs.
The band played a great array of classic Foo Fighters songs alongside selected singles from their current album, “Medicine at Midnight.” The stage was set for hardcore music with no elaborate stage, just instruments, a large video screen behind drummer Taylor Hawkins, and the house lights. It was all that was needed because the music is what set the tone.
Over the years I’ve been to a few Foo’s shows, and even a Nirvana show or two. I have to say, this was about as amped as I have seen Grohl in some time. With the lockout and lack of live shows for over a year, Grohl and the band wanted to do right by the crowd, and boy did they.
The first few songs were effortless. After the opener, it was “The Pretender,” followed by “Learn to Fly.” Then the Foo’s featured their backup singers; four ladies that took the show to another level. The singers even included Grohl’s daughter, Violet. That’s when the show kicked it up a notch to the kickass-o’sphere! It went from good to epic in a micro-second. The Foo’s shifted gears into an unreal version of “No Son of Mine.” The guitars, keys, and drums were in unison, and with the ladies backing vocals, it was like seeing Earth, Wind and Fire in their heyday back at The Forum again. It was that damn good!
As he normally does, Grohl introduced the band to the crowd… you know them all… cats like Chris Shiflett (lead guitar), Nate Mendel (bass), and Rami Jaffee (keys). Then Grohl singled out Pat Smear (rhythm guitar) because he calls L.A. home, and then drummer Taylor Hawkins with his OC tie-in as he called out Hawkins’ hometown of Laguna Beach.
Then the band went into a quasi-impromptu tribute to the late Charlie Watts (Rolling Stones drummer). Grohl told the crowd that he cried at the carwash when he heard of Watts’ passing earlier in the week. The crowd acknowledged the sentiment and the show pressed on.
Definitely one of the show highlights was about halfway through when Grohl started his banter with the crowd. As many have come to know of him, Grohl showed off his geekdom and further endeared himself to the crowd. He was making fun of himself, a bald guy, and his minivan. Before you knew it, a large disco ball emerged from the center of the arena and The Forum was transformed into a large disco. The Foo’s turned into the Dee Gees as they went into their smash hit cover of The Bee Gees’ “You Should Be Dancing.” The crowd lost its proverbial mind as The Forum became one giant disco party!
Then Grohl took a familiar seat by getting behind the drum kit as Hawkins took center stage. Being no stranger to being a lead singer (he’s fronted other bands like Chevy Metal), Hawkins showed off his musical prowess by taking us back in time with their rendition of Queen’s “Somebody to Love.” This is no easy song by any stretch of the imagination, but Hawkins made it his own and the crowd ate it up!
Next the Foo’s went into a set of classic hits with “All My Life,” “Best of You,” and “Monkey Wrench” that had everyone standing, screaming, and in awe of the band.
As cool as the night was, the water cooler moment hadn’t even taken place yet. Grohl introduced The Forum crowd to what he called “his arch-nemesis:” Nandi Bushell. She challenged him to a drum off and as Grohl later posted online, “flips my fucking ass in front of the entire planet!”
You see, Bushell is an 11-year British drumming prodigy. About Bushell, Grohl said, “This person inspired me last year so much and I’ll tell you why. Because in a time when you would pick up your phone or turn on a computer and all you have is bad news, for that one day, you can pick up your phone and see this connection between two people that have never met … making music together and spreading joy and love all across the world.”
He then brought her out to the front of the stage and had her take a bow in front of the crowd as he stood alongside her and cheered her on.
With Bushell leading the band on drums, the Foo’s played one of the most heartfelt songs I have heard at any Foo’s show when they closed the night with “Everlong.”
It was an epic night for music at The Forum, further proving that Foo Fighters are the best damn rock band in the land, most likely the planet!
ALL HAIL ROCK AND ROLL!
FOO FIGHTERS SET LIST:
TIMES LIKE THESE
LEARN TO FLY
NO SON OF MINE
THE SKY IS A NEIGHBORHOOD
MEDICINE AT MIDNIGHT
YOU SHOULD BE DANCIN’
SOMEBODY TO LOVE
ALL MY LIFE
BEST OF YOU
The Foo’s still have a few shows on the calendar in 2021: next up is Bonnaroo and some large festivals. Who knows… we may see them in CA again soon… only time will tell. But for now, what a night for music at The Forum!