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Concert Reviews:
Foo Fighters make a long night a good one at DTE
 

By GARY GRAFF
Digital First Media, @GraffonMusic

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INDEPENDENCE TOWNSHIP -- "It's gonna be a long, (expletive) night. You know that, right?" Dave Grohl told the DTE Energy Music Theatre crowd at the start of Foo Fighters' concert there on Monday night, Aug. 24. "We don't do the little show."

Grohl could be assured that the 15,000 who packed DTE on Monday -- and made the Foos one of the summer season's hottest tickets -- knew exactly what they were getting into and made more than enough noise to let him know. Though at almost two and a half hours it was actually modest by Foos' standards, Monday's show was fueled with the raucous, anything-goes spirit Grohl and company have channeled for most of the group's 20-year career, with random surprises that bolstered rather than derailed the night.

In other words, the Foos fell somewhere between the improvisational excitement of Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band and the shamelessy schticky showmanship of Green Day. And this year's outing had a touch of the heroic with Grohl -- who broke his right leg in a June 12 -- playing on a lavishly designed "throne" that had its own lights and even emitted smoke during the moody opus "Outside."

Following an opening set of grungey, pulverizing heavy rock by the British duo Royal Blood, the Foos started with a breathless romp through some of its big hits, including "Everlong," "Monkey Wrench," "Learn To Fly," "Something From Nothing" and "The Pretender" before Grohl dedicated "Big Me" to the sextet's crew -- and particularly Dan Marino, who designed the throne -- using fans' cell phone lights were the only illumination. That all was interesting.

Then things got really interesting.

With two of his children bringing him water and the band members also sipping champagne from a bucket sitting atop guitarist Pat Smears' amplifiers, the Foos were musically tight but became playfully loose as the show ran on. "We know the first minute of every classic rock song every written," Grohl boasted, and the Foos proved it by whipping through snippets of "some Detroit s***" -- including Alice Cooper's "Eighteen" and "School's Out" and the Stooges' "I Wanna Be Your Dog" and "Search and Destroy" before settling into a full-length version of Kiss' "Detroit Rock City."

Later on the group took on Tom Petty and the Hearbreakers' "Breakdown" and Van Halen's "Ain't Talkin' 'Bout Love." And after Grohl answered a fan named Griffin's request, via sign, to share a 50th birthday beer onstage, he declared that "it's everybody's birthday" as the Foos' "gifted" the crowd with Queen and David Bowie's "Under Pressure."

In all the Foos' played 20 complete songs, spanning the oldest ("Breakout," "This is a Call") to three selections from last year's "Sonic Highways" album. The playing was airtight, from Taylor Hawkins' frantic drumming to Chris Shiflett's guitar solos and Rami Jaffee's keyboard work, while Grohl was in primal, emotive form, screaming his way through even the most melodic songs when the spirit moved him. It very nearly became the "backyard (expletive) keg party" Grohl said it could, and it was clear the Foos were having about as much fun as they people they were playing for.

Grohl groused a bit about DTE's 11 p.m. curfew -- though the Foos held to it rather than pay the $1,000-per-minute overtime fine. But, he asked before the closing "These Days" and "Best of You," "If we come back next time to play even longer, would you come back, too?"

He hardly had to ask, of course.



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