May 8, 2005 11:56

FOO FIGHTERS HEADLINE FIRST FESTIVAL OF SUMMER

They fight throat infections and freak weather to play Radio One's Big Weekend show in Sunderland...

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Despite extreme weather and Dave Grohl's poorly throat, RADIO 1’S BIG WEEKEND got underway in SUNDERLAND yesterday (May 7) with performances from BATTLE, KT TUNSTALL, ATHLETE, KASABIAN, CHEMICAL BROTHERS and the FOO FIGHTERS.

Thunder and lightning, torrential rain, and at one point, snow, hailed down on Herrington Country Park from the opening of the gates, until the very close. Thousands of festival goers ran en mass to the Second Stage tent to take cover during Battle’s festival opening set as storm clouds opened over Sunderland.

With rumours rife that Grohl was seriously ill with the viral throat infection that had troubled him since the start of the proceeding week, it wasn’t until moments before the band were due on stage that he pronounced himself fit.

"I went to the doctors because I knew there was a problem with my throat, and I knew we had to do this show," he said. "There are some doctors who’ll give you these super Hulk tablets that’ll make you get through it, and some doctors who’ll just tell you not to sing. My doctor asked me when my next show was and I said Saturday. He told me, you might not want to do that, I said, that’s not an option, so he put me on antibiotics and here I am. He told me to drink more whiskey too!"

Grohl opened the set by telling the crowd he’d told his doctor to "fuck off" to do the show, and eased himself into the performance by standing alone on the stage to perform a solo version of ‘Everlong’.

"Let’s do this!" screamed Grohl before the rest of the Foo Fighters launched into ‘Monkey Wrench’. They charged through a hit laden set including ‘My Hero’ and ‘Learn to Fly’, as well a new untitled song which climaxed with Grohl and drummer Taylor Hawkins screaming the line "this is the last song that I will dedicate to you" repeatedly until the songs finish.

After playing ‘Times Like These’, Grohl said he’d like to play a new song, explaining to the crowd the decision behind his choice of track.

"Here’s the deal. We made a double album (the forthcoming ‘In Your Honor’) and one half is all rock shit and the other half is all this beautiful acoustic music. But I don’t want to sit up here and mess around with all this acoustic guitar bullshit. At times like these it’s best to just strap it on and rock the fuck out! This is called ‘End Over End’.

Closing with ‘All My Life’, Grohl told the ecstatic crowd this was their last chance to "go crazy" before they were free to head over to the Chemical Brothers co-headline set to "take acid and touch each other."

Radio 1’s Big Weekend continues today with sets from Gwen Stefani, The Bravery, The Futureheads, Kaiser Chiefs and Maximo Park.

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