People often rag on Albuquerque for not getting all the best touring bands, but I’ve been lucky to see some pretty amazing acts over the years. What was originally called the Mesa del Sol Amphitheater, has been repeatedly renamed to the Journal Pavilion, Hard Rock Pavilion, and now finally Isleta Amphitheater, has played host to many of the biggest concerts in New Mexico for the past 15 years. The venue has staged incredible performances by bands like Green Day, Queens of the Stone Age, Rush, Jane’s Addiction, Incubus, Goo Goo Dolls, Third Eye Blind, Coldplay, and numerous others that I can’t remember at the moment. While I have my issues with the amphitheater, there is no question that it’s played a huge roll in my musical life. Last weekend the amphitheater played host to one of my all time favorite rock bands, Foo Fighters.
As a drummer, Foo Fighters lead singer, Dave Grohl, has been an idol of mine since I first picked up the sticks. Between his time in Nirvana, his contribution to the Queens of the Stone Age record “Songs For The Deaf” and his drumming on the first two Foo Fighters albums, Dave’s style has left a distinct impact on the way I play drums and approach playing music. While he doesn’t play drums in the Foo Fighters anymore, his distinct songwriting talent and incredible showmanship meant that it was bound to be an incredible show.
It’s been a number of years since I really cared about a Foo Fighters release. My taste has shifted a lot over the years and alternative rock just isn’t my main focus. I was sort of worried that they might not play a lot of songs I wanted to hear, but over their two and a half-hour set, they played most of my favorites new and old. Right off the bat they opened with arguably their best and most popular song “Everlong” and the hits didn’t stop coming. Between deep cuts and chart toppers from their 8 studio albums and a slew of amazingly performed classic rock covers (“Under Pressure”, “Tom Sawyer”, and “School’s Out” to name a few), Dave (despite a broken leg) and his band delivered like very few bands I’ve ever seen. Between the crushing rhythm of Taylor Hawkins on drums, the soaring guitars of Pat Smear and Chris Shiflett, Nate Mendel’s reliable bass thump, and Dave Grohl’s nuclear-powered wails, the Foo Fighters reminded me of my life-long love for rock’n’roll and of how lucky we are to get such great performances in our modest city.