If you collapsed after exiting the Ford Idaho Center on Thursday, don’t feel bad.
It was past midnight. Nearly 10,000 of us had fist-pumped and sung ourselves beyond exhaustion.
Superhuman, comedic Foo Fighters frontman Dave Grohl had warned us. We had no prayer of keeping up. “I am genetically predisposed,” he bragged gleefully, “to scream my (bleeping) (bleeps) off every night of my (bleeping) life!”
And if you’re a rock-music fan who chose not to buy a ticket and take this epic ride?
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Start beating yourself up — with a “Monkey Wrench.” Blasting that 1997 song at home — one of the many skull-crushing anthems the Foo Fighters unleashed upon Nampa — will provide one-gazillionth of the blissful sonic assault we experienced.
The Foo Fighters crushed for more than three straight hours. Intermissions are for Eagles fans. Grohl is arguably the most tireless, multitalented rocker on the planet — even if he turns 49 next month. “(Bleeping) millennials,” he griped with a smile.
Charging across the stage with his Gibson hollow-body guitar, Grohl challenged the 9,707 fans happily.
“If my calculations are correct,” he told the crowd in one of his many profanity-laced exchanges, “we haven’t been here in 22 (bleeping) years! You know what that means, right? I hope you wore comfortable shoes!”
When the Foos last visited in 1995, Grohl was fresh off his stretch as drummer for grunge group Nirvana, which dissolved after Kurt Cobain’s suicide. The new band felt like a novelty. (What, a drummer was trying to sing and play guitar?) The Foos played an hourlong set for 505 fans who’d paid $10 at a sold-out Boise nightclub.
Today, the Foo Fighters are one of the world’s greatest arena bands, fronted by an ageless class clown who loves rock music more than anyone possibly could.
The concert was carefully orchestrated — filled with dynamic shifts, meticulously rehearsed jams, even three female backing singers — but still loose enough to seem improvised. “I want this to feel like we’re at that (crappy) bar right down the street from your house,” Grohl said.
The set’s first half was a hit machine. It started with “Run,” a Grammy-nominated single from the the band’s ninth album, “Concrete and Gold.” Shrieking violently, Grohl warmed up his perfect scream-sing voice, a melodic, almost metalcore-tinged tone. It never wavered all night. The man is inhuman, his vocals lycanthropic.
Familiar tunes became long, unpredictable arrangements. Just when we thought “The Pretender” was ending, it took another turn while Grohl and lead guitarist Chris Shiflett exchanged bluesy solos. Afterward, Grohl stood and stroked his beard as the audience roared its approval.
The double-clutching “Rope” twisted itself into a jam-band beast. Grohl played a call-and-response game with drummer Taylor Hawkins, whose drum riser soon ascended halfway to the arena ceiling.
Mid-show brought a barrage of popular covers. Pounding on their guitars, the Foos marched into AC/DC’s battle cry “For Those About to Rock” — then stopped after the first verse. Playful booing ensued. “We only know that first chunk,” Grohl shrugged. More classics followed: Alice Cooper’s “Under My Wheels” with Shiflett on vocals, plus “chunks” of Queen’s “Another One Bites the Dust,” Van Halen’s “Jump” — and the Ramones “Blitzkrieg Bop,” kickstarted by smiling, influential punk guitarist Pat Smear. Grohl even took over drumming duties while Hawkins showcased his falsetto during a full-length cover of Queen’s “Under Pressure.”
When the Foos slipped back into their own songs, the fun level never wavered — even if some was for Grohl’s personal pleasure. Singer-guitarist Bob Mould — who opened for the Foos with 45 minutes of originals and material from his former bands, Husker Du and Sugar — joined Grohl on stage for “Dear Rosemary.”
When the Foos followed with “Best of You,” the audience found its reserve tank and sang along joyfully — knowing that the night was approaching its end.
When the encore finally came, it was a four-song set starting with new tune “Dirty Water.” Then the Foos uncorked two more covers: Tom Petty’s “Breakdown” and AC/DC’s “Let There Be Rock,” which was so powerful that it felt like a religious experience.
By now, it was pushing midnight. Grohl noticed a handful of weary fans sneaking for the exits.
“I know you gotta beat traffic,” he mocked with a grin. “Beat THIS, mother (bleeper!),” he added, ripping into late-’90s favorite “Everlong.”
Nobody beats Grohl. But everybody won at this Foo Fighters show.
• • •
All My Life
Learn to Fly
The Sky is a Neighborhood
Let it Die
Times Like These
For Those About to Rock (AC/DC cover, partial)
Under My Wheels (Alice Cooper cover)
Another One Bites the Dust (Queen cover, partial)
Jump (Van Halen cover, partial)
Blitzkrieg Bop (Ramones cover, partial)
Under Pressure (Queen cover)
Best of You
• • •
Breakdown (Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers cover)
Let There Be Rock (AC/DC cover)