Thursday, July 9, 2015

The 4th with the Foo Fighters

On Saturday I trooped down to DC with some friends to watch the Foo Fighters 20 Anniversary concert at the 'looking worse for wear' RFK Stadium. We got down there about 2pm, the gates had opened at noon, but I guess getting older means the opportunity of starting a party earlier just wasn't calling us loud enough. We manged to get good enough seats and they were were selling Goose Island beer, which made me a happy bunny.
Plenty of folks were dressed patriotically including myself, which ended up being a little odd since in our group I was the only one wearing stars and stripes, and also the only one who isn't American. Hmmm.
The music started off with an amazing band, Trombone Shorty. It doesn't get much better than blues rock and these guys knocked it out of the ball park. Literally.
Joan Jett and the Blackhearts. Never been keen on these and today was no exception, but I sang the token chorus words, just to show no ill feeling.
The motley crew and some of our beers. Good stuff!
And then, of course, just when things were going nicely the bloody weather had to intervene. The concert was put on a temporary hold until the storm blew over. A spectacular array of colors started filling the stadium seats as veteran concert goers donned their plastic ponchos and settled down for the worst. Which of course happened. A huge monsoon unleashed cascades of rain into the stadium and everyone retreated to the covered concourse.
This is how you save seats at a concert.
Those already under cover sat tight and many of the poncho wearers accompanied them but everyone who only had one thin layer of fabric on their body, like me, ran for shelter.
We took this opportunity to grab some food, and it soon became apparent that everyone was thinking the same idea. So the food ran out. Steve was lucky enough to get 2 burgers but Mark and I had no luck. The best we could lay our paws on was a cold, heavy pretzel bread thing each, which I covered in mustard, and was very glad I did, because that was the only edible part of the meal. We sulked and lamented and Steve disappeared with his burgers like a jackal that has just made a killing and doesn't want to share.
But then it was announced that we could go back out again and resume the concert so we reclaimed our soggy seats.
This is how much rain water my cup collected. We had another lesser deluge shortly after and I collected about half of this amount.
Heart cheered everyone up and got us all back into cheering mode again.
Buddy Guy, my favorite, This man is a legend, a blues master and still rocking at the tender age of 78. He had his young 16 year old protégé, Gary Clark Jr., performing with him, who is definitely going to be a big star himself in the near future.
There were also performances by LL Cool J and Trouble Funk, neither of whom I could make myself like.
And then as dusk filled the stadium, the FF curtain fell down in front of the stage and the crowds quietened. It was then I realized that throughout the afternoon, more people had been filtering into the stadium because now it was packed solid, and everyone was staring at the stage waiting for the Foos to drop that curtain.
Leading up to this moment, everyone had wondered if it would actually happen. Dave Grohl had only 3 weeks earlier fallen off the stage during a concert in Sweden and broken his leg along with dislocating his ankle. He had actually later that evening completed the concert with a medic supporting his wounded leg, but the following concerts had been cancelled. I felt bad knowing some of my English friends had been looking forward to seeing them at Glastonbury.
And then suddenly, the curtain dropped and the music blared, jolting the stadium into life and excitement.. Dave himself looked to be sitting in the middle of the stage on a big throne.
But then it moved forward, propelled by an unseen operator, and like a blinged-out Davros, he coasted slowly down the catwalk to thunderous applause and screams. It was epic and he reveled in every moment of his fans' adoration.
Being the first to see him perform since his accident, he gave us all the gory details along with photos shared on the screens, so I almost felt like a family member being given the run down after picking up a relative from the hospital.
His morphine pump!
And he shared his drawing of how he envisioned his chair to look, drawn while dosed to the gills with pain meds.
 The chair was pretty awesome, and the guy managed to perform a set lasting over 2 hours with no signs of flagging. I noticed that while he was performing his upper body was constantly moving, so much so, that his leg was jiggling too. I mentioned this to Steve, who agreed with me, that since he'd also broken his leg, there was no way that Dave wasn't in some pain throughout the gig. I reckoned he was carried through on Adrenaline since he was obviously not on any strong medication.
The band put on an amazing show, but each time that chair moved along the catwalk, I prayed that it wouldn't topple off the edge or the operator lose control of it. Dave even stood up at one point and leaned on crutches to sing with a couple of band members. He told the crowd that there was no way he would have cancelled this show because he grew up in Springfield, VA, and so therefore DC was his home. He asked if this concert should be an event in DC every 4th of July and his home boys howled in appreciation. We left the stadium with fireworks cracking overhead in a show that must have rivaled the Mall's earlier display, and as I sat on the metro, relaxing on a soft seat, I hoped Mr Grohl was also giving his inevitably throbbing leg a well deserved rest. He had certainly earned it.
The concert write-up from USA Today is here.
The Foo Fighter's set list is here.

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