Photos: Chris Besaw
Review: Kelly Besaw
“We almost didn’t f*cking make it here tonight” front man, Dave Grohl, shouted over roaring fans; “Mother Nature… you can’t f*ck with Mother Nature.” Strong winds and rain left the band stranded on the tarmac at JFK airport for four hours. A buzz circulated through the crowd of roughly 15,000 fans as word spread that it was 8:30 and the band was not in Syracuse yet. Promoters and the Foo Fighters had to make a tough decision about when to cancel. Grohl told fans “We decided it was 8:20, 8:20 was the cutoff. The clock counted down; 8:16, 8:17, 8:18, and at 8:19 the pilot got the ok for us to take off and I said we’re going to Syracuse, we got a rock show tonight.” The band landed at Hancock airport and were greeted by a police escort. They arrived at the Amp and took the stage at 9:56pm, ninety minutes after their scheduled set time.
The question on most fan’s minds was, with such a late start, how long would the Foo Fighters play? Dave Grohl didn’t leave them wondering for long, “We are going to play as many Foo Fighters songs as we can.” The band did not disappoint. They tore through songs from their 26-year catalog one right after another. The band is on their rescheduled 25th anniversary tour and wasted no time jumping right into some of their biggest hits, starting off the late night with “Times Like These,” “The Pretender” and “Learn to Fly.” Grohl seemed shocked when fans told him it had been twenty years since the band had played Syracuse. “Well, that’s some bullsh*t. Let’s not do that again, let’s say we come back here at least every eighteen months.”
It’s obvious that Grohl feeds off the energy of the fans. “Let’s turn the lights up, he yelled, I need to see the people.” The front man, who is 52 years old, never stopped moving. “You know I love rock n roll,” quipped Grohl, I called up my man Barry and said you wanna play Syracuse? And he said I don’t think I can make it.” Instead, the band transformed into the Dee Gees where Grohl channeled Barry Gibb singing “You Should Be Dancing” as a disco ball dropped from the ceiling.
Grohl only took a break briefly to smoke a cigarette as he introduced the rest of the band. Guitarist Chris Shiflett and Pat Smear, keyboard/organ player Rami Jaffee and bassist Nate Mendel each took turns playing a short solo. Is it really fair to have so much talent in one band? A drummer who can sing? A singer who can play guitar and drums? Pat Smear? The amazingly talented backup vocalists? Dave Grohl took over the drums while Taylor Hawkins showed off his hair and vocals in a cover of Queen’s “Somebody to Love.”
The night kept going. Grohl teased the audience. “You got one more in you?” “Only one more…really?” They kept playing their hits “This is a Call,” “Best of You” and finally ending right at midnight with fan favorite “Everlong.” Despite the late night, the venue was still packed with energetic fans who sang along with Grohl to the very last note, “you’ve got to promise not to stop when I say when.” The Foo Fighters were definitely worth the wait and made Syracuse feel the love after twenty plus years. Let’s hope they keep their promise, and we see them here more often.
Set list: Times like These, The Pretender, Learn to Fly, No Son of Mine, The Sky is a Neighborhood, Shame Shame, Breakout, These Days, Walk, My Hero, You Should Be Dancing (Bee Gees cover), Somebody to Love (Queen cover), All My Life, This is a Call, Best of You, Everlong