STORY WRITTEN BY MICHAEL CHRISTOPHER
Turns out that all that worrying about two of this summer’s biggest rock tours not working out for one reason or another seems to be all for naught, as both Foo Fighters and Van Halen kicked off their respective North American tours on separate coasts last weekend.
Foo Fighters frontman Dave Grohl, just three weeks removed from snapping his fibula in half following a fall from the stage in Sweden, made a miraculous return in time for the band’s daylong 20th Anniversary Blowout held at RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C., on the Fourth of July.
No one knew how Grohl was going to pull off the show, since he’s usually so energetic and runs all over the stage and the ego ramp that stretches out into the crowd. Sitting there in a chair just didn’t seem feasible.
Enter the throne.
As the Foos took the stage at RFK, out rolled Grohl on this massive structure that closely resembled a high-tech version of an emperor’s throne, replete with a wide back adorned with flashing lights and endless guitars on either side of the singer, who explained before playing “Big Me” that he thought up the idea following surgery to repair the broken bone, which left him with a plate and six screws in his leg.
“Oh (expletive), we have to cancel shows. I don’t like canceling shows,” he recalled thinking. “So I took a couple oxycodones and drew a picture … I was high as a (expletive) kite. I said ‘I ain’t missing this show for the world, you build me this throne.’”
Revealing a crude drawing on the big screens on either side of the stage of what the quickly becoming legendary assemblage became, Grohl set the minds of many fans at ease — especially those holding tickets for the shows following RFK.
Further exceeding even the highest of expectations, the Foo Fighters came to a packed Susquehanna Bank Center in Camden, N.J., Monday night and delivered a full set of songs — old, new and covers of artists like AC/DC, Queen and Van Halen.
Speaking of Van Halen, the perpetually surrounded in drama Pasadena, Calif., party band kicked off its own North American tour in Seattle Sunday just two weeks after an explosive interview with guitarist Eddie Van Halen was published in Billboard in whiche he slammed band members past and present.
It was a road trip that many thought would end before it even got going, but the mighty VH turned that idea upside down immediately by not only delivering a lengthy set, but one which was filled with enough rarities that left even the most hard-core fans of the band reeling in disbelief.
The show opened with “Light Up The Sky,” a track from the outfit’s 1979 second album that hadn’t been played live in 35 years. “Drop Dead Legs” from the 19-times platinum “1984” was performed for the first time, as was “Dirty Movies” from the fan-favorite 1981 release “Fair Warning.”
Other surprises were “Feel Your Love Tonight,” which hadn’t been showcased since the 1998 tour during the somewhat disastrous Gary Cherone era, and “In A Simple Rhyme” — complete with the 20-second instrumental ending “Growth,” which the band hadn’t done since its club days.
Maybe it’s a case of pessimism taking hold entirely too soon, but just a few dates in, it looks as if all will be fine in the world of Foo and Halen, both of which will be back in the area in the coming weeks.
The Foo Fighters are back at the Susquehanna Bank Center Monday night for a second round. Van Halen will be there Aug. 27 and in Hershey a few nights prior on Aug. 23.
To contact music columnist Michael Christopher, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Also check out his blog at our sister p ublication www.delcotimes.com