Fingernails are pretty, fingernails are good.

Grohl at the arena

Last night I saw the Foo Fighters at the O2 arena and as venues go it was as good as you can expect from any huge stadium gig, easy access in and out, mildly overpriced drinks and food but still a decent view even from the nosebleed seats we found ourselves in.

The Foos were, of course, great. I say ‘of course’ because having seen them 3 times in the last nine years every time I have they’ve been different, sounded excellent and entertained the crowd immensely. If you could buy stock in bands (hmm… would that be a new business model… since record labels are going the way of the dodo?) an investment in the Foos 12 years ago would have been worth it.

In an attempt to be overly analytical I think their gig success (other than obvious musical talent) comes from;

  1. Back catalog – Being able to pick from any of 20+ hit singles that everyone in the audience will sing along to must make it sooooo easy.
  2. New material – To compliment a great back catalog having several good songs on your latest album is like cheating in some way. The Foo Fighters therefore are big fat cheats.
  3. Longevity – Foo fighters are old in modern band terms. About half a generation old and that was evident when you looked around and saw the diversity in the crowd. There were people that were middle aged, younger trendy people and kids there with their parents.
  4. Variety – Each gig is different, which is a big deal for a band thats been performing together for this long. I love Greenday, but having seen them a few times you get to see them repeating themselves to the point where they repeat certain lines and some of the magic (and part of the 18 year old that bought their album) dies inside. Last night Brian May performed a song with the band, there was a separate accoustic stage ( that descended from above in a very cool way) for several songs and a solo by a guy playing a triangle and I’m certain tonights gig will be different.
  5. Loving it – I know the gig was a performance in the true sense with people performing their roles but you got a sense that these people were enjoying it because they weren’t doing the same thing every night which meant they were stretching themselves musically and having fun.
  6. The Grohl – Unofficially claimed to be the nicest guy in rock Dave Grohl brings all the above together. He simply is annoyingly likable as throughout the gig he swore incessantly (but noone would ever mind because ‘its Dave, and hes nice’), constantly gave credit to the other band members but still was rocky and dark just enough when everyone expected him to be.

I fully expect the Foo Fighters to be the Rolling Stones of my generation touring for the next 100 years (or however long we’re expected to live for if the planet doesn’t freeze over). Although… saying that what are the odds they’ll now break up at the end of this tour?


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