Friday’s set at the Outside Lands music festival in San Francisco was a special one for Foo Fighters.
Frontman Dave Grohl even said as much, noting that the arena-rocking band took extra time to practice a song from 1999’s There Is Nothing Left to Lose just for the occasion.
It was obvious Grohl was serious when the Foos subsequently played a poignant version of “Aurora,” with the former Nirvana drummer saying it was at one point the group’s favorite song they’d ever written.
In reality, though, all Foo Fighters shows are special.
In today’s music landscape, few artists can fill up stadiums on a regular basis. U2 and the Rolling Stones come to mind, but the Foos are climbing the ranks, leading the charge of the younger set of rock bands.
And they didn’t even cap off the list of Outside Lands performers Friday evening. That distinction went to Neil Young and Crazy Horse, legends that Grohl definitely name-checked during his time on the main stage.
Who was at the top of the bill didn’t matter, however.
Grohl and Co. made sure to give it their all, hitting a continually growing crowd in the grey, chilly evening at Golden Gate Park with a look at their entire career.
There was the previously mentioned“Aurora,” and an especially-energetic “Learn to Fly” from the same Left to Lose album.
“All My Life” off 2002’s One by One made an appearance. As did “My Hero” from 1997’s The Colour and the Shape, during which Grohl ran out through the crowd to climb up the scaffolding surrounding the sound board.
What might be most impressive is the way Foo Fighters have continued to put out solid sing-along hits as the years go by.
During Friday’s show, they might have received the best crowd reaction from “Walk” and “These Days,” two tracks from their most-recent album, last year’s Wasting Light.
Translated live, “Walk” is given a regal intro with ethereal organ notes, while “These Days” has a classic Foos go-quiet-before-screaming parts that plays well to any audience.
Foo Fighters were making an active effort to be quick, as festival schedules can cut down on the amount of songs to play. As such, the affable Grohl kept his ad-libbed remarks to a minimum.
After all, the quicker the Foos get off the stage, the quicker he could catch Young, as Grohl pointed out.
Foo Fighters closed with one of their biggest hits, the rollicking “Everlong,” giving it a deafening ending just as the sun was going down in San Francisco.
As the chill coursed through most of the underdressed fans in attendance at the festival, one couldn’t help but be thankful that Foo Fighters were there to warm things up a bit with their energy.