The Warriors certainly won’t be playing there anytime soon, but last night the Foo Fighters brought their A-game to the Oracle Arena in front of a raucous crowd of nearly 20,000 fans.
In the midst of a massive worldwide tour, Dave Grohl and company rocked Oakland with a dazzling, well-balanced set list comprised of new material—from their April 2011 release, Wasting Light—older favorites, and some energetic covers of sing-along classics.
They kicked it off with “Bridge Burning,” a frenetic number off the latest album containing the trademark hard-rock guitar leads that made the Foo Fighters a household name. This gave way to “Rope,” one of the more popular newer songs.
The mid-week crowd was only getting warmed-up but clearly they wanted some of the group’s already-established rock anthems. After more than 15 years as a band, the Foo has their fair share and they weren’t afraid to let them loose, launching into a compelling rendition of the ’90s mega-hit, “My Hero,” followed by the ever-explosive “Learn to Fly.”
Always the charismatic frontman, Grohl kept the crowd laughing in between songs with comedic antics. He was assisted in interacting with the masses thanks to an elaborate stage setup that included a protrusion feeding directly into the general admission crowd. His presence was magnified by LED lighting at his feet, 12 gigantic screens hovering above and a phenomenally choreographed light show throughout.
Looking around the arena revealed an overwhelming array of smiling faces. Curiously, some of the only people not overcome with joy were Grohl’s bandmates, including guitarists Pat Smear and Chris Shiflett. At times, they seemed to be phoning in their performances, notably during tamer material from Wasting Light. But Dave eventually inserted some much-needed octane into the set, picking things up with a blistering solo trade-off during “Monkey Wrench,” one of the band’s most popular numbers.
The show kicked into interstellar overdrive when they hit the searing, opening notes of “In the Flesh?,” the lead track off of Pink Floyd’s venerated 1980 masterpiece, The Wall. They kept the energy flowing into the set-closer: a roaring rendition of their 2002 single, “All My Life.”
After a short and loud break—during which the crowd showered the band with gracious cacophony—Grohl triumphantly returned to the stage to play an extended, six-song encore. Armed with nothing but an acoustic guitar, he serenaded the audience with solo performances of “Long Road to Ruin” and “Best of You” before the rest of the band joined him for an engrossing take on the 2002 hit, “Times Like These.” Fans were then treated to an unexpected visit from influential punk/hard-rock guitarist Bob Mould of Hüsker Dü.
Although he was unknown to many in the crowd, Mould’s edgy guitar tones were heavily influential on the Foo Fighters’ sound. He can be heard on several tracks off of their Wasting Light LP. But even for those that didn’t know him, everyone in the sold-out Oracle rose to their feet to sing and clap along to a faithful cover of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers’ anthemic classic, “Breakdown.” During the jam, Grohl—in his signature black attire—informed the crowd that Mould had never played this song before, but he could still tear it apart.
“This is why I love you,” Grohl exclaimed, “you’re a bad-ass motherfucker!” After setting the Oracle on fire with a raging, closing performance of their biggest hit, “Everlong,” it was clear to see that the elated crowd felt the same way about the Foo Fighters.
Photos from the show.