By Gary Graff
Foo Fighters got its Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction weekend off to what Dave Grohl called a “cozy” start on Thursday night (October 28), playing a special club show at the House of Blues in Cleveland.
Announced just two days before, tickets for the concert were snapped up in minutes by fans, some of whom lined up in front of the venue on Thursday morning to get the best spots in front of the stage. It was also a night for family – many of whom, including very young children, watched from a VIP box in the balcony – friends and associates. “This is kinda nice,” Grohl told the crowd at one point, noting that the group was “used to playing these songs in big f—ing arenas and…stadiums – and I love it. But this is nice…”
While hoped-for collaborations did not transpire – no Paul McCartney, who’s inducting the Foos on Saturday at Rocket Mortgage Arena, or any of the other ceremony participants – it was still clearly a special night for the sextet. Grohl, who was born in Warren, Ohio (“I have roots in this mother——!”) shouted out to Barrett Jones, co-producer of the first Foos album in 1995, and to members of the band’s management team sitting in another box, making fun of one for a lack of cell phone skills. He also gave props to one of his cousins, who was singing along to “My Hero.” Grohl’s daughter Violet, meanwhile, was part of a backing vocal quartet on several songs, while celebrity photographer Danny Clinch joined the band on harmonica during “The Pretender.”
The two-hour-plus show itself featured most of the songs the Foos has been playing during its most recent shows, including covers of the Bee Gees’ “You Should Be Dancing” (from the Hail Satin EP) and a Taylor Hawkins-sung rendition of Queen’s “Somebody to Love” (he and Grohl inducted Queen into the Rock Hall in 2001). Grohl then called an audible, leading the band into a romp through Mose Allison’s “Young Man Blues,” which was popularized by the Who on its Live At Leeds album. The group also played a snippet of the Ramones’ “Blitzkrieg Bop” while Grohl was introducing the band members, identifying each as “Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee.”
“As much as we joke around about it, it is a f—ing honor to be here for that Hall of Fame show,” Grohl, who was also inducted with Nirvana in 2014, said late in the evening. “ It’s f—ing crazy! I don’t think anybody expected it…But even if it had not happened, we’d be here doing this, ‘cause this is what makes it good…Thank you for the last 25 years. It’s been fun.”
The Foos are also expected to perform during the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony on Saturday. The event will be filmed by HBO for broadcast on Nov. 20.
Gary Graff is an award-winning music journalist who not only covers music but has written books on Bob Seger, Neil Young and Bruce Springsteen.