Two shows in Oakland in one week? That's never happened before, especially as I can count the shows I've attended in the 510 on two hands. Nevertheless, it was happening, and I was all for it: can't beat a 10-minute drive home. After seeing Sigur Ros' amazing and ethereal show, it was time for the straight ahead rock of the one and only Foo Fighters, who had brought along sorta-hometowners The Transplants and LA's Special Goodness for the festivities. Fun!
Since I don't normally show up at gigs at 8 o'clock, I missed the Goodness and most of The 'Plants. However, the bits I caught of Epitaph's chosen children were punktastic and had the floor of the Henry J. Kaiser a-rockin'. Next time, I hope they play a show at a non-Des Moines type hour so I can fully appreciate their punk rock fury.
Foo Fighters are a full-on rock pig in 2003. After hearing them live, I can't believe how many hits they have. The set list was spread across their four albums and for 90-minutes, it was a all out smash hit bonanza: "Monkeywrench," "This Is A Call," "My Hero," "The One," "Everlong," the list goes on and on. There were a few surprises (no "I'll Stick Around" and the inclusion of The Colour and The Shape's "Hey, Johnny Park" for starters), but the rock force the quartet brought was no surprise. Dave Grohl had his way with the crowd, breaking songs down, inviting audience interaction, and jumping around like a madman. For this hour and a half, this was Dave's world and we just lived in it. A four-song encore further enraptured the crowd and no one could go home unhappy. If you've forgotten what the Foo Fighters meant to you earlier in life or if you just haven't' seen the boys in a while, I highly suggest peeping this rock behemoth at their apex.
As always, I have a parting story involving the kooky crowd. RCA's finest Senior Director of all things rocking, Dennis Blair, was kind enough to come up and share snacks with us prior to the gig. He was also kind enough to offer to buy the first round once we arrived at the Henry J. Little did he know what sort of hootennany would ensue. First off, we waited in a beer line for a bit to see these generic-ass handmade signs on ripped-up beer boxes stating that the bars were "ticket-only" and that "cash will only be accepted for tips." After looking at each other incredulously, we wandered aimlessly looking for the ticket booth. After locating the wondrous ticket counter via help of the light not bouncing off the ticket woman's missing teeth holes, we felt like kids at the amusement park, clutching our huge stack of tickets like we had just bowled six consecutive 50s in skeeball. Mr. Blair is obviously in promotion, as we picked the conspicuously shortest line, only to reach the front and be told it was "beer and soda only." Since Herr Blair had already told me I had to do a shot with him, this wasn't gonna work. "C'mon," Dennis cooed, "we've been waiting here for like 20 minutes" (more like twenty seconds, in reality). His substantial charm, however, won this second toothless wonder over, and she poured two HEAVY tequila shots (did I mention I don't do tequila?) and two large Red Hooks. I gamely did my shot and Dennis said he thought I'd be fine, until he saw me scrubbing my tongue with the lime like Martha Stewart trying to present the cleanest dishes ever. Kept it down, however. Major props to DB and Cheryl Kovalchik for their generosity and Dennis' enabling me to meet so many carnies in one night.
Foo Fighters playlist in Oakland, Friday, April 11:
"All My Life"
"Times Like These"
"Up In Arms"
"This Is A Call"
"Hey, Johnny Park"
"Learn To Fly"
"Lonely As You"