Foo Fighters “Broken Leg Tour” at Fenway Park
This past weekend I had the opportunity to photograph one of my bucket list bands: the Foo Fighters. This was only one month after frontman Dave Grohl broke his leg at a Gothenburg, Sweden show (requiring 6 screws to hold it together), and cancelling European shows in the aftermath. Dave is back on the road in North America with the band’s 20th-anniversary tour now dubbed the “Broken Leg Tour”. Dave is in a cast and performs sitting on an impressive throne, a kind of stage-within-a-stage. He designed it himself while in the hospital in London for fibula surgery. The apparatus was equal parts pop art and Mad Max. Sporting six guitar necks sticking out like wings from either side of the rolling seat, the throne rolled out several times onto the stage’s catwalk, placing Dave over 10 yards ahead of the rest of the six-piece band. At the back of the black leather seat is a large round ring with stage lighting attached to it, filled red grating with a silver “FF” logo in the center. “I may be in this chair but I’m not going to let it slow me down tonight,” said Grohl at Boston’s Fenway Park.
This is why I love the Foo Fighters: they are a true to form American Rock n Roll band! Some musicians fall off a stage, break their leg, cancel the rest of their upcoming concerts, and hole up in a hospital somewhere, ruining the day they didn’t look before unintentionally leaping. But the heroes opt to grab a pad of paper before the cast plaster is dry, and design an outlandish, carnival-ride-on-steroids contraption that’ll serve as a chair to sit on and elevate the injured limb as they perform. While Dave was on mandatory bed rest, the Foo Fighters road crew took the sketches and made them come to life all with the intent to keep the show going, canceling as few gigs as possible while splintered bones heal. American ingenuity and team work – now that is Rock & Roll!
The Foo Fighters have been kicking off their shows with three of their biggest hits — “Everlong,” “Monkey Wrench,” and “Learn to FLY” – clearly not concerned with filling time and playing the best stuff last. The Foo Fighters have no problem filling a 2+ hour set with a comprehensive sampling of their two-decade spanning discography. Grohl joked that “everyone knows we’re the highest-paid fuckin’ cover band in the world.” That plus the selection of covers they love to play – Queen’s “Under Pressure,” AC/DC’s ” Let There Be Rock, and many others. This Saturday night it was Queen/Bowie classic “Under Pressure,” which featured madman drummer Taylor Hawkins on lead vocals. The band knocked it out of the park, doing Freddie Mercury proud!
Part way through the show Dave in his typically funny, goofball self-entertaining manner narrated video of his stage mishap in Sweden and shared his upsetting X-ray (subsequently turned into a Foo T-shirt). He also told an excellent high school battle of the bands tale in which his band lost (playing Foot Loose) and left him wondering if and where the winners might be playing that Saturday night, guessing it wasn’t Fenway Park.
Dave praised Saturday night’s openers; the iconic Boston rockers Mighty Mighty Bosstones and Mission of Burma. Both groups returned the compliment verbally in their own strong opening sets, with Burma cranking up its untamed post-punk and the Bosstones rocking through their infectious ska-punk. Both bands provided a true Boston welcome of Foo Fighters to Fenway.
As the night drew to a close, Grohl told the crowd “By practice, there are no formal encores at Foo shows – we play until we can’t play anymore.” So the show ended strong, with commanding versions of “This is a Call” and “Best of You.” Even with his broken leg, Dave is a powerhouse, full of boundless energy that rapidly spreads to the rest of the band and to the crowd. A Foo Fighters concert is truly what you’d expect from a rock show. The Foo Fighters are part of a proud tradition and one band with many more bright days ahead.