As they’ve worked their way around European festivals for the past few weeks, visiting Iceland, Glastonbury, Poland, Spain and many more, Foo Fighters have consistently told crowds about their intention to play for a really, really, really long time.
Last night (July 7) at Lisbon’s Nos Alive, they made good on that promise with one of longest, most epic sets the band have ever played, spanning a whopping two and a half hours – in spite of them taking to the stage at midnight.
A lack of time pressure meant Dave Grohl and co could luxuriate in everything – in the number of big-hitters played (‘All My Life’, ‘Times Like These’ and ‘Learn To Fly’ opened the show), in Dave Grohl’s banter (“I’m not gonna stop talking!” he insisted at one point), in chugging rock ‘n’ roll jams and in extending songs into vastly elongated wig-outs. By the time they finished a massively distended ‘The Pretender’ – only the fifth song on the setlist – we were already 45 minutes down.
Mostly, there was extra time for the continued onstage flowering of modern rock’s greatest bromance – that between Grohl and drummer Taylor Hawkins. Hawkins had a picture of the frontman on his bass drum skin. After introducing Hawkins to the crowd, they each told the other “I love you” – twice – and Hawkins declared Grohl “my bestest buddy, the greatest rock n roller of our generation,” before taking lead vocals on ‘Cold Day In The Sun’.
Also in the meet-the-band portion, in which the group have taken to performing snippets of crowd-pleasing covers, they knocked around Queen’s ‘Another One Bites The Dust’, The Ramones’s ‘Blitzkrieg Bop’ and a song by The Cult initiated by bassist Nate Mendel. “I don’t really know that song, but The Cult played tonight – did you see The Cult?” admitted Grohl.
The highlight of the second half of the gig – all 75 minutes of it – was an appearance from The Kills‘ Alison Mosshart, who shared a mic with Grohl on new track ‘La Dee Da’, each pecking away at the vocals in turn like hungry birds on a feeder.
The Kills performed a charged set on the same stage earlier, preceded by the aforementioned Cult, whose frontman Ian Astbury was on fiery form, at one point asking the crowd, “Are you fucking drunk or… OK, you’re stoned. You have good drug laws here.” Predictably, ‘She Sells Sanctuary’, performed midway through the set, was the biggest crowdpleaser.
Earlier still, The Courteeners were facing a tougher gig than their triumphant recent Old Trafford homecoming gig in Manchester, and frontman Liam Fray was clearly feeling a little underwhelmed at first. “I apologise for our… lack of chat, shall we say,” he said, in an uncharacteristically modest moment. He mostly let his T-shirt do the talking – it was a Levi’s shirt with the word ‘Lisbon’ printed on it. A run of their biggest tracks – including early single ‘Cavorting’ – soon got things warmed up, and Fray found his swagger, dedicating recent single ‘Modern Love’ to its co-writer, Hurts frontman Theo Hutchcraft (“the second best looking man in pop, behind Payney”) and ‘Not Nineteen Forever’ to Cristiano – presumably Ronaldo. Fray ended the set with a quick political statement and shout out to his fellow artists. “We’re from Manchester, UK. Which in my eyes is still part of Europe,” he said. “I just want to say what an honor it is to share a stage with The Kills, one of my favourite bands, and the Foo Fighters, what an amazing band.”
On the Palco Heineken stage, Wild Beasts wowed the Portuguese crowd with their sexually-charged art-pop, with the arresting ‘Alpha Female’ being a highlight, and ‘All The King’s Men’ getting the crowd dancing despite being introduced as being “about the deepest, darkest north of England”. The band’s sheer class was confirmed at the end, when singer Hayden Thorpe toasted with a raised glass of wine and the words, “Thanks you’ve been the sweetest.”
Earlier on the same stage, Savages‘ set was a tug of war between the band and the audience, with singer Jehnny Beth pausing early on to tell the band how things were going to be. “Here’s how it works here,” she told the crowd at the Palco Heineken. “If you want us to be loud you have to be loud. You don’t give some you don’t get some.”
The crowd didn’t need telling twice. Soon after playing “old, angry song” ‘Shut It’, Beth was down in the crowd for ‘Husbands’. Later, the crowd were holding her aloft by her feet as she sang. The love affair was back on.
Nos Alive concludes today (July 8) with a headline performance from Depeche Mode and sets from The Avalanches, Imagine Dragons, Field Day, Kodaline and more. Read about day one, which featured a headline set from The Weeknd.
Foo Fighters played:
‘All My Life’
‘Times Like These’
‘Learn To Fly’
‘Something From Nothing’
‘Cold Day In The Sun’
‘La Dee Da’
‘This Is A Call’
‘Best Of You’