The Foo Fighters at The Rogers Centre, Toronto, July 12th 2018
Updated: Feb 2, 2020
“Who has to work tomorrow? Too bad! We’re goin’ all night. Listen, listen. Here’s what you do. Tomorrow, you tell your boss that your buddy Dave decided to play all fuckin’ night because he wanted to play a song off every fuckin album the Foo Fighters have ever done!” Grohl yelled this at the audience with a massive smile on his face last night at The Rogers Centre. Coming back to Toronto, a city The Foo Fighters have been playing for over two decades for their biggest show in the city to date, this band of old school rockers were able to sell out the stadium and pack it wall to wall.
Opening the evening, Canadian quad The Beaches took the stage. Playing what I can only assume was their biggest gig ever, they handled their set with grace. Playing with a certain strange eeriness, ease and a tight set list, these ladies managed to impress much of the audience.
Following The Beaches, English glam rock group The Struts took the stage. With a singer who fronts the band with a very original but Freddy Mercury-influenced flare, it was almost impossible to take your eyes off them. The perfect fit for an opener, The Struts pumped up the crowd, got them dancing and definitely had a smile plastered across my face from the beginning to end of their set. As far as vocals, lead singer Luke Spiller was incredible. Rolling his Rs and reaching impressive pitches on a backdrop of fun and technically sound (albeit a little more glam than perhaps I prefer) instrumentals, it was like noise candy for the ears.
Of course, the real reason everyone came was to see The Foo Fighters. From the moment the guys full on ran onto the stage to the final note of their encore, there was not a second of breathing room. Immediately getting the crowd up and jumping in unison, The Foos kicked off the night with “All My Life” followed up with “Learn to Fly” and “The Pretender”- a sign of a hit heavy set list to come.
Slowing things down a bit, four young vocalists took the stage with the band to help them with their performance of “The Sky is a Neighbourhood”, the first single off the band’s most recent album Concrete and Gold. The cool part? One of these singers was a wee Grohl, Dave’s daughter Violet. Once again, Dave proved himself to be one of the nicest guys in rock and roll and one damn cool dad.
Other highlights in the first half of show included “Rope”, “My Hero” and my personal favourite song of the evening “These Days” off Wasting Light. It also included one absolutely insane (seriously, I mean balls to the wall insane) drum solo from Taylor Hawkins whose riser was lifted way above the rest of the band as he played.
Watching the members of the band riff and play off each other was truly a treat. On the left of the stage, Chris Shiflett (lead guitar) brought a certain coolness to the evening- easily making his way through difficult guitar solos while Dave and Taylor Hawkins brought an intensity to their work that left them sweaty and running on an empty gas tank.
About halfway through the evening, Dave began introducing the band, and insisting they give the audience more than the average solo. First to go was Chris Shiflett who riffed a few solos before singing and playing “Under Your Wheels” by Alice Cooper. Following that up, bass player Nate Mendel led the crowd in a short version of “Another One Bites the Dust” before Rami dazzled the crowd with a wickedly cool keyboard solo.
Keeping the covers going, the band began to play John Lennon’s “Imagine” but just as the lyrics were about to begin, Grohl began singing Van Halen’s "Jump" over top. It was superb. Next, it was Pat Smear’s turn to take center stage. Washing down a big swig of champagne, Pat stepped forward and lit up the stadium with The Ramones’ “Blitzkrieg Bop” adding a super cool touch of punk rock to the evening.
My favourite part of the night however was when it was Taylor Hawkins’ turn to play around. Stepping out from behind the kit, and allowing Dave to step back there, Hawkins began singing “Under Pressure” by Queen and Bowie. While I’ve seen the Foos do a cover of this before, it became exceptional when Luke Miller of the Struts joined the band on stage. With Hawkins on Bowie’s vocals and Luke on Freddy’s, it was one damn fine homage to the timeless musicians.
The main set list ended with few more songs serving both new and old fans alike. Long time fans jumped for joy as the boys played “Breakout” while newbies loved “Dirty Water” and the rejoining of Grohl’s daughter and the back up vocalists on stage.
Coming back on stage for a three-song encore with the same energy that they started with, The Foo Fighters had the whole place shaking with intensity and to be honest, pure freakin’ happiness. Ending on a solid line up of “Big Me”, “Times Like These” and “Everlong” (with a lit up stadium of cell phone flashlights), it was easy to see how stoked the audience was. After it ended, I seriously felt like I’d run a marathon. The energy in The Rogers Centre was unreal and I can’t wait to see the band again.
Want to pretend you were there or relive the concert if you were? Check out this spotify playlist of their setlist!
Peace, love & history.
Want more Foos? Check out my review from last time they were in Toronto.