The special event in honour of the late Foo Fighters drummer took place on Saturday (September 3) at London’s Wembley Stadium, and was simulcast all on the web, television and streaming platforms.
Featuring a star-studded line-up, tribute performances came from the likes of Mark Ronson, Queens Of The Stone Age‘s Josh Homme, Supergrass, Queen‘s Brian May and Roger Taylor, Blink-182‘s Travis Barker, AC/DC‘s Brian Johnson, Kesha, Metallica‘s Lars Ulrich and more.
Introducing Rush to the stage, Foo Fighters frontman Dave Grohl said: “Now if there’s one band that I always associated Taylor Hawkins with, it’s these next two guys.
“Taylor got up and played with two guys once, in their hometown of Toronto, Canada. And I have to say, it was not only one of the greatest nights of my life watching him do that, but perhaps, one of the greatest night of his.”
Grohl then took a place behind the drums – filling the spot for Rush’s late drummer, Neal Peart – joining the Canadian rock outfit for performances of ‘2112 Part I: Overture’ and ‘Working Man’.
Watch fan-shot footage below:
From the stage, Lee spoke of the privilege it was for himself and Lifeson to perform in honour of Hawkins at the event. “In 2008, as Dave told you, we got a call from Foos’ management, asking if we’d come to the Toronto show, and show up so that Taylor could play one of his favourite Rush songs with us. We obliged, and that was the beginning of a beautiful friendship.”
Drummer Omar Hakim then joined the pair on stage to deliver the classic instrumental number ‘YYZ’.
1. ‘2112 Part I: Overture’
2. ‘Working Man’
Grohl and Hawkins’ Foo Fighters bandmates opened the event with a stirring speech that paid tribute to their late drummer. “No one else could make you smile, or laugh, or dance, or sing like he could,” Grohl said.
Liam Gallagher kicked off the live music, performing two classic Oasis songs, ‘Rock’n’Roll Star’ and ‘Live Forever’, backed by Grohl on drums for both. Comedian Dave Chappelle shared memories of spending time with Hawkins and his son, Shane, who attended the concert and watched from the sidelines. “Taylor Hawkins is a legend of a man, he’s a legend of a musician and he’s a legend of a father,” Chappelle shared.
Later, Grohl’s 16-year-old daughter, Violet, covered two Jeff Buckley songs in tribute to Hawkins, backed by her father on drums, Queens Of The Stone Age and Them Crooked Vultures‘ Alain Johannes, guitarist Jason Falkner and Jane’s Addiction’s Chris Chaney. Violet performed ‘Last Goodbye’ and ‘Grace’, following an introduction by her father, who called her “the only person I know who can actually sing a Jeff Buckley song”.
Elsewhere in the show, Metallica’s Lars Ulrich and AC/DC’s Brian Johnson joined forces to perform a pair of the latter band’s hits – ‘Back In Black’ and ‘Let There Be Rock’ – following Violet’s return to cover The Zutons’ ‘Valerie’ with Ronson, The Living End’s Chris Cheney and Falkner.
Queen’s Brian May and Roger Taylor also took to the stage alongside Foo Fighters to perform five songs – ‘We Will Rock You’, ‘I’m In Love With My Car’, ‘Under Pressure’, ‘Somebody To Love’ and an acoustic rendition of ‘Love Of My Life’.
Helmed by Joe Walsh, James Gang reunited on stage for the first time in 16 years, performing ‘Walk Away’, a medley of ‘The Bomber: Closet Queen/Bolero/Cast Your Fate to the Wind’ and ‘Funk #49’, joined for the latter by Grohl on drums.
Foo Fighters closed out the night with a star-studded set that featured a revolving cast of drummers, including Barker, Nandi Bushell, and 16-year-old Shane Hawkins. Paul McCartney also joined the group on stage, delivering a performance of two Beatles songs.
A second tribute show will take place at Los Angeles’ Kia Forum on September 27.