There goes my hero…He’s kind of a rock god.

It’s been a long time coming…

The Viejas was nearly sold out for The Foo Fighters. 10/17/11

But this Foo Fighters fan has finally attended one of their shows. Last night the Foo Fighters rocked the Viejas Arena, and pretty much dissolved any doubt that rock ‘n roll is ‘dead’. Dead? Rock ‘n roll is alive and it’s kicking ass and taking names. It’s stealing hearts and kissing your girlfriends (but then apologizing about it later because it really is a nice guy.) All of the highlights of last night’s show can be expressed in a long string of play-by-play that lead up to the ultimate grand finale.

The best part of this entire performance was “Monkey Wrench” and here’s why. If the mini pit that broke out on the floor wasn’t enough to get your hearts kicking – elbow in the face anyone? That’s what a rock show is all about, for some –  or if it wasn’t the always impressive showmanship of Taylor Hawkins’ drum solos, then maybe this would have done the trick: Like previous Foo fashion, the band dimmed the lights in the entire arena and spoke sweet nothings to the audience as rockers all over the floors and seats whipped out their lighters. Not iPhones or Blackberries, lighters. I couldn’t have been more proud of San Diego. I think I might have cried. (But I didn’t).

I almost want to call “Monkey Wrench” the climax of the night, but that was not the case. Dave Grohl was just getting started. Everything before then was a dinner and maybe a movie, because the Foo Fighters are kind of polite like that. When he dimmed those lights and started yelling the lines “One last thing before I quit”, he had us locked in. From then on out, their set was a vigorous exhibition of foreplay, getting us completely riled up and in the mood, ready for the real climax, the real ending. The entire stage painted a red backdrop and “All My Life” began roaring out of the speakers at an intensity and energy that you just can’t get from a recording, and Dave and his naughty band mates had had their way with us. By this point we were legs spread eagle, ready to be rocked for a finale that already asked for an encore before it even ended.

I have to love the cockiness of Dave Grohl, because when the music went quiet and the people yelled, nay begged for an encore, Dave wasn’t simply content with that. He definitely wanted to make us scream their names one last time, and we did. With a  venue like Viejas, nestled on a college campus, they tend to have curfews for the events that are held there. Dave knew that this would be an all-nighter, and the curfew was lifted for the performance, probably for the lengthy encore that the band had in mind for their fans. Even during the encore, which was a four song set, the band still had surprises up its sleeve, and you have to really thank a band that isn’t simply content on walking out and saying “alright one more”, playing a song, and leaving. Yeah, maybe that’s how the regular guys do it, but with the Foo, they still needed the electronically raised stage. They still needed the stage lights that made the entire set look like a scene from Guitar Hero. They still needed the screens displaying every sweat drop that fell from their hair. They still had to rock you out of your seats.

“Times Like These” performed during the encore set.

And sometime during all of that, he found a moment to raise the house lights and speak to the audience. We already felt like we really knew the Foo Fighters up to that point. But now, by the end of the show, you felt like you were a part of the family.

Might as Well – Foo Fighters’ Wasting Light

Since tonight is THE concert day of all days, I might as well write a review of the Foo’s latest album. You don’t know this, but I’m the hugest Foo Fighters fan who has never seen them perform live before. Tonight will be the first night that I see these iconic hard-hitters of music hopefully rock my socks off at the Viejas Arena. Rad. Rad, indeed.

Since I can’t contain my excitement for tonight’s festivities, (oh yeah, they’re also playing with Mariachi El Bronx & Cage the Elephant – maybe I’ll review those albums as well), I’ve decided to review the album that has probably been reviewed way too many times already.

Wasting Light…first of all, can I just say that everything done in regards to promote this album was absolutely genius. The Foo Fighters know their fans, and they know how to keep you wanting more. They also know how to make you wish you hadn’t wanted so much more, as seen in their viral porno-esque venture, ‘Hot Buns’, but that is a whole other story. If you’re not a fan of this band, become one. Who else will give you the opportunity to see intimate secret shows in their headquarters of Los Angeles, as well as play a garage tour across America? That’s how amazingly cool these guys are. Of course, I’m biased but you know what, you can get over it, because I’d still think they were cool even if I wasn’t a fan.

Don’t forget the White Limo tour, which I will admit confused the hell out of me. I don’t know why I was expecting Dave and Taylor to step out of a White Limo, shake hands, kiss babies, buy California burritos, and then head on their way, all while bursting their album from speakers attached to the top of the limo. Yeah, I might have dreamt that one. But despite the fact that the band wasn’t on that tour, and it really wasn’t a tour, it was still a lot of fun for the fans, and that’s what really counts.

Without further ado, because I realize now that all my kiss-assery will not be seen by the Foos, here’s my review of the album Wasting Light.

First and foremost, previous Foo Fighters fans might be hesitant to enjoy this album. Two words have been repeated over and over again when it comes to their latest venture, and that would be ‘Arena Rock’. Pros of arena rock: It’s awesome. It’s awe-inspiring. It can melt your face off, and it’s fun when you go to those shows packed with thousands of people. Cons of arena rock: It’s arena rock. It might be fun to pretend like you’re in a stadium while blasting this album in your car, but at the end of the day a true Foo Fan is going to miss the dynamics that Dave Grohl’s raspy voice can miraculously deliver. And when he really tries, he really can deliver. That’s not to say that he didn’t try with this album, but the intensity behind the songs is on a completely different (almost plateaued) level, that will possibly delight those who haven’t heard the Foo Fighters that much, and probably fall flat (uh, pun intended) with those who are devoted Foo-ists.

Some of the best songs from the album have yet to be released as singles, which makes me wonder which direction they’re going with this and who’s pulling the proverbial label strings. While “Walk” seems like a perfect anthem to sum up an album like this, it’s cinematic display of grandness screams “finale”, not “random single from the middle of the album”, which is where they placed its release. It’s probably why the band chose to end the album with this song; now if only they had applied that same mentality to their single releases and made the fans wait a little bit longer for this powerful rock anthem.

Hopefully some of the more unique songs from this album are not ignored. “Dear Rosemary” and its multitude of instrumentation deserves some recognition. And if the vocal dynamics don’t get you, then maybe the lyrics will: “Truth aint gonna change the way you lie. Youth aint gonna change the way you die.” That’s a fact, straight from the bible of Fooism. The track “These Days” silhouettes some older Foo Fighters’ styles, a la In Your Honor, not the fast-paced heavy hitting album on which it’s contained. It’s easily one of my favorites, and reminds the haters that yes, there is a little bit more than just stadium rock on this album. A little bit.

This evening, however, I will get to see a lot of these songs performed live, and live performances can often change opinions.

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