Photos by Dan DeSlover
The first leg of their tour is taking them to oft-ignored smaller markets, and their stop at Kohl Center on the campus of UW-Madison was their first return since 2006. Frontman Dave Grohl promised early into their set to make everybody late for work the next morning, and it was not far from the truth. They blew right past the venue's strict 11:30 p.m. curfew with a set eclipsing the 3-hour mark.
Staying true to their garage roots, the entire night was a mix of quirky banter and straight up rock and roll. The melodic first verse of lead single “Run” kicked off the show behind the giant kabuki curtain. The curtain dropped in sync with a Grohl scream that catapulted the song—and show—into high gear and they never looked back.
Whether it was the upbeat “Learn to Fly,” bluesy “Sunday Rain” or a stripped down “My Hero,” the Foo Fighters worked through their catalogue with aplomb. However, it was the interplay with the crowd that brought intimacy to the sports arena.
Teasing snippets of Soundgarden and Iron Maiden, Grohl quipped, “We have a lot of songs and 'Run to the Hills' isn’t one of them,” before settling in on “Monkey Wrench.” A Taylor Hawkins' drum diddle later inspired The Muppets “Mahna Mahna” that quickly propagated through the sold-out crowd, easily showcasing the Foo’s personality.
Grohl also departed from the setlist a couple times, once after bonding with a fan in a Motörhead shirt that motivated them to devote “Skin and Bones” to Lemmy. “Times Like These” was dedicated to hometown musician and producer Butch Vig, prompting Grohl to elaborate: “We wouldn’t be here today without him.”
Other highlights included guitarist Chris Shiflett taking over on a cover of Alice Cooper’s “Under My Wheels,” punk-infused “White Limo,” an emotional tribute to Tom Petty on “Breakdown" and the requisite hits “Best of You” and “Everlong.”
A second leg of the Concrete and Gold tour was recently announced for Spring 2018.