“How many of you have our new album?” growled Grohl in an apparent moment of clichéd, crowd-baiting rockstar banter. Some not-so-small fraction of the super-packed crowd at Irving Plaza last night roared back, continuing the standard exchange. “The album’s not out ’til next week, you motherfuckers!”
So much for the road well traveled, though this sorta trade is becoming pretty standard, too. Anyway, it’s been awhile since we checked in with the Foo crew live, so we had to swing over to the relatively rare tour kick-off “club gig.” Glad we did; there was plenty of new stuff, but a good chunk of their 18 modern rock hits as well (thanks for the stat, EW). Leak or no, that’s what we were there for.
The band slammed as hard as you’d expect an arena-honed group of odd-time loving musicians would in a small room. Listening to the band’s fiery “Best Of You” reminded us of Prince’s phallically delicious Super Bowl cover, and of the fun game of cover-tag Prince ‘n’ the Fighters seem to be playing (see Grohl & Co. teaming with Cee-Lo on “Darling Nikki” at the VMAs). Another highlight: “Times Like These > I’ll Stick Around,” which we’ve got for ya via video clip…
B-listers in the Plaza include MAD TV’s Nicole Sullivan, Jesse Malin, and as photodocumented below, Julia Stiles…
OK, Julia’s a B+, but only ’cause she looks so hot in that picture. And for the Bournes. Lance Armstrong also was there, representing the Tour de France championship contingent. To Dave’s chagrin, of course we’re amongst the folks that didn’t quite wait for street date to get a listen of the new. Actually, he was cool about it, saying something like “Aww, I don’t care, as long as you buy it when it comes out.” Thing is, we won’t, and wouldn’t suggest you to either.
We’ve already mentioned being knocked-out by the totally slamming rocker “The Pretender,” but gems of that sort are few and far between on Echoes, Silence, Patience And Grace (try typing that three times quickly). As far as other Foo anthems, “Erase Replace” is basically the poor man’s (and woman’s!) “Best Of You.” Seriously, we like FF’s version of “Keep The Car Running” way better than a supposed fist-pumper like “Cheer Up Boys, Your Makeup Is Running” (despite the absolutely classic song title). When it comes to the more mid- and low-tempo fare, a song like “Come Alive” really needs to take its own advice. There’s some meandering and grit-lacking material here … see the acoustic drivel of “Stranger Things Have Happened,” for example. Yup, stranger things have happened … but have things ever been this tepid? Maybe they should play with Mastodon more often. This isn’t to say it’s all bad, it’s just kinda meh, a lukewarm whatever epitomized by the sweet Virginia countryside and moonshine-imbibing Southern rock of “Summer’s End.” Pleasant, yes, but we’d rather listen to that new Blind Melon song. And, the piano manning on “Statues” and “Home” makes us yearn for late-period Jets To Brazil (right, which is saying a lot).
Anyhow, they remain a more than worthwhile live band. Hell, if Echoes exists only to add “The Pretender” to the concert canon, it’s a winner. But that said, save your money. Or, just join the premature evaluation party by getting yr full album stream on here. In the meantime, in honor of the in-person energy — and for the love of Dave, Taylor, and Pat Smear — check some more pics and a setlist from the show, all waiting below.
Echoes, Silence, Patience And Grace is out 9/25 on Roswell/RCA.
01 “The Pretender”
02 “Cheer Up Boys (Your Make Up Is Running)”
03 “Times Like These”
04 “I’ll Stick Around”
05 “Long Road To Ruin”
06 “Learn To Fly”
08 “Skin And Bones”
10 “My Hero”
11 “Come Alive”
12 “But, Honestly”
14 “Monkey Wrench”
15 “Stacked Actors”
16 “All My Life”
18 “Let It Die”
19 “Best Of You”