Foo Fighters celebrated their return to the UK at the Milton Keynes Bowl in Milton Keynes on Saturday (September 5) after cancelling their Glastonbury and Wembley Stadium gigs in June.
The band marked the occasion by forming a “superdupergroup” with Queen’s Roger Taylor and Led Zeppelin’s John Paul Jones for a cover of Queen and David Bowie’s ‘Under Pressure’.
The two-and-a-half hour show also saw singer Dave Grohl stand up in his “throne” as it drove down the central ramp, play ‘DOA’ for the first time since 2012 and make a heartfelt apology for having to cancel the June shows.
Foo Fighters were supported on the night by Iggy Pop and Royal Blood. Both acts had been scheduled to open for the band at the Wembley shows.
Entering to a fired-up ‘Everlong’, Grohl yelled “we came back for you!” and “we waited a long fucking time to be here, it’s gonna be a long fucking night” as the band launched into an early run of hits including ‘Monkey Wrench’, ‘Learn To Fly’ and ‘The Pretender’.
During ‘Monkey Wrench’ Grohl announced “I’m getting better now, I’m gonna dance with you” and stood up in his throne for the first time of the evening. While the band kept up the pace, Grohl told the crowd “we’ve got so many songs, we’re gonna keep it going”.
As ‘The Pretender’ roared to a close, Grohl made his first big apology of the night. “Guess what?” he said, “I fucking love rock’n’roll. Guess what? We’re gonna rock a lot for you tonight. It’s been about eleven weeks since the incident [when Grohl broke his leg onstage in Sweden]. The last thing I wanted to do was cancel shows. I hate cancelling shows. I said ‘I’ve got to get back there as soon as we fucking can’. I’m sorry for making you wait so long. Tonight we’re gonna play some extra long shit, we’re just getting warmed up. Who’s gonna lose their voice first? Not me”.
“We’ve been coming here a long fucking time,” the singer continued, “how many people have never seen Foo Fighters before? Well let me tell you I don’t usually sit in this fucking awesome throne. Some places don’t know why I’m in the throne. You ask people in Denver if they know and they go ‘I don’t know why you’re in the fucking throne dude’. But you guys know. Sometimes I tell the story and have a slide show but tonight we’re gonna play as many Foo Fighters songs as possible.”
Grohl went on to tell the crowd that the doctor that had treated his leg was from London and thank his crew for building the throne, which he showed the original sketch for. “When I was in the hotel taking oxycontin I said to my road crew ‘build this’. As you can see I can’t even spell ‘lazers’.”
The frontman then dedicated a stripped down ‘Big Me’ to his lighting man Dan who “made the throne happen” and got the crowd to light up the arena with their phones in his honour.
Following ‘Congregation’, from latest album ‘Sonic Highways’ and an ironic ‘Walk’, featuring the line “learning to walk again”, Grohl introduced the band with a series of snippets of cover versions including Van Halen’s ‘I’m The One’ and The Sex Pistols’ ‘God Save The Queen’ before giving vocal duties over to drummer Taylor Hawkins for ‘Cold Day In The Sun’, dedicated to a topless man in the crowd about whom Grohl noted “your tits must be fucking cold right now”.
Joking “I don’t know who Milton is and I don’t know why he built this thing right here,” Grohl went on to announce “we wouldn’t have you all come out here unless we planned something nice and special. But we didn’t plan anything nice and special. Something nice and special just happened an hour and a half ago. A couple of our friends turned up and we thought it’d be nice to do a song together.“
Grohl then introduced Roger Taylor and John Paul Jones, claiming “you’ve heard of a supergroup? Well this is a superdupergroup. The Foo Fighters are living out their fucking fantasy in front of you.” The superdupergroup then played ‘Under Pressure’ with Taylor on drums and Hawkins and Grohl on vocals. “You should see my Rolodex,” Grohl said at the end, “it’s insane.”
The show continued with another clutch of hits including ‘All My Life’ and ‘Times Like These’ before Grohl announced “we see some old school Foo Fighters fans, we gotta play some songs for the old school fans”. The band launched into third album track ‘Breakout’ and ‘This Is A Call’, bookending the new album’s ‘Outside’, which Grohl described as “something kinda mean”.
The final part of the set was a looser section; “where we get to play something we haven’t done in a long time”. Grohl took an audience request for ‘DOA’ “because seven people want to hear it” and then performed ‘For All The Cows’ because “I went to a pub last night and stayed out late, but I rallied. The pub was called The Cow.”
Grohl also gave a rare outing to ‘Aurora’ for a fan in the front row called Rose who he described as “the most beautiful woman I’ve ever seen in my life”.
Having announced that the band aren’t doing encores, Grohl closed the show with ‘Best Of You’, telling the audience “When this happened to me… I always knew we’d come back, I just hoped you would too.” At the end of the song he took to crutches to walk to the end of the ego ramp and wave at the crowd.
Foo Fighters played:
‘Learn To Fly’
‘Something From Nothing’
‘Cold Day In The Sun’
‘All My Life’
‘Times Like These’
‘This Is A Call’
‘For All The Cows’
‘Best Of You’