Foo Fighters gear up for Glastonbury with first show of UK tour

The band cover The Police, AC/DC and Queen at Sunderland's Stadium Of Light

Almost exactly a month until they headline Glastonbury’s Pyramid Stage, Foo Fighters gave fans a taste of what to expect as their UK tour got underway at Sunderland’s Stadium of Light with an epic, two and-a-half hour spectacular on Monday night (May 25).

Taking to the stage just after 8.30pm, the band opened with ‘Everlong’ – their usual set-closer – before barrelling into ‘Monkey Wrench’, with frontman Dave Grohl teasing the crowd that “we might do some shit tonight that we haven’t done for a long fucking time”.

The early part of the set was mostly comprised of familiar tracks such as ‘The Pretender’, ‘Rope’ and ‘Big Me’, slowed down from its usual form into a stadium-swaying torch song. “Let me tell you something, and this is no bullshit,” said Grohl as he introduced the track. “We learned how to be a band by coming to your country and playing all your festivals and theatres and shit. The first time we headlined a festival, I believe it was here. The first time we headlined an arena, it was here. And the first time we became one of these bands,” he continued, gesturing to the stadium, iIt happened here. If you want, I guess you can say that we’re yours. Then when we go to Brazil, I’ll say we’re theirs!”

The set continued with ‘Long Road to Ruin’ and ‘Congregation’, from new album ‘Sonic Highways’, once again dedicated to Grohl’s “good friend” Taylor Swift, who received the same honour at Radio 1’s Big Weekend in Norwich. “I think I might dedicate this song to her every time we play it,” quipped Grohl.

The frontman then performed a short solo acoustic set, with the biggest curveball of the night coming in the shape of ‘But, Honestly’, a song not played live since 2009. Grohl couldn’t resist having a bit of fun with the crowd when he explained his reasons for resurrecting it. “I didn’t wanna say anything, but… this is the last tour the Foo Fighters are ever gonna do. Nah, I’m just fucking with you! We can’t fucking break up now, you know that, right? It’d be like your grandparents getting a divorce.”

He was then rejoined by his band mates for a short interlude mostly made up of covers by artists who “made us wanna be musicians,” including The Police’s ‘Next To You’, AC/DC’s ‘Let There Be Rock’ and Queen’s ‘Under Pressure’, on which Grohl shared vocals with drummer Taylor Hawkins.

The final third of the show was a more conventional greatest-hits affair, though the 11pm curfew meant that a handful of songs had to be cut from the planned setlist, with Grohl telling the crowd before ‘Times Like These’ that, “that fucking clock is staring me in the face”.

The set finally came to an end with a rousing, eight-minute version of ‘Best of You’, with Grohl paying tribute to his “fucking perfect” audience. “The way I look at it,” he said, “We don’t need the computers and the pyrotechnics, because we have you. You’ve always been the seventh member of the group, and as long as you keep coming back, we’ll come back, too.”

Foo Fighters played:

‘Monkey Wrench’
‘Learn To Fly’
‘Something From Nothing’
‘The Pretender’
‘Big Me’
‘Long Road To Ruin’
‘Skin And Bones’
‘My Hero’
‘But, Honestly’
‘Cold Day In The Sun’
‘Next To You’
‘Let There Be Rock’
‘Under Pressure’
‘All My Life’
‘These Days’
‘Times Like These’
‘This Is A Call’
‘Best Of You’