Australian Guitar - - Contents -

Hot off the heels of their 2017 al­bum, Con­creteAndGold, the inim­itable Foo Fight­ers took to a sold-out Syd­ney sta­dium with three hours of boom­ing hooks and belt­ing so­los. In tow, a cel­e­bra­tion of nos­tal­gic power-pop from genre kings Weezer.

It’s an in­spir­ing thing to do, play­ing to a crowd of early bird pun­ters too busy try­ing not to spill a drop of beer or a few stray hot chips as they awk­wardly nav­i­gate their way into sta­dium seat­ing. Syd­ney four-piece The Preatures at­tacked their short open­ing set with the charisma of a head­line show any­way.

Even though the re­sponse was mild at best, it was clear that the level of song­writ­ing and pro­fes­sion­al­ism on dis­play was ex­actly why they scored the cov­eted slot open­ing for ar­guably the big­gest rock band on the planet. It may only be some­thing to tick off their bucket list in terms of ca­reer pro­gres­sion, as this very much felt like a crowd that only goes to one thing a year, but they showed that they are more than a wor­thy in­vest­ment should those cal­en­dars open up to take in a sec­ond lo­cal show be­fore 2019 rolls around.

There’s been a seis­mic shift in the pop­u­lar­ity stakes since the fa­mous North Amer­i­can “Foozer” tour of 2005, but if Cal­i­for­nian nerd-rock­ers Weezer were at all jeal­ous of their road­mates’ ra­dio con­quer­ing glory, they didn’t show it. Their set was lean and joy­ous, fo­cus­ing on the beloved cuts from their in­vin­ci­ble BlueAl­bum, pep­pered in-be­tween with only a hand­ful of their zanier new tracks and a well-oiled cover of The Pix­ies’ “Where Is My Mind?” that lifted from the mon­strous PA and struck right for the feel­ings depart­ment. Though they knew their place and whipped through a 14-song set in a neat hour-long pack­age, front­man Rivers Cuomo and gui­tarist Brian Bell weren’t above squeez­ing in a quick run­ning race to the end and back of the Foo Fight­ers’ ex­tended cat­walk, which reached all the way to the end of the T-bar­rier, high-fiv­ing fans and work­ing up a sweat in their tai­lored suits.

In com­par­i­son, Dave Grohl looked pos­i­tively down-to-earth when he glee­fully ran onto the stage clad in black jeans and an Ox­ford Art Fac­tory t-shirt, lead­ing his three-gui­tar strong band with the high-en­ergy kick of re­cent sin­gle “Run” (one of the bet­ter-loved cuts from last year’s Con­creteAndGold), then rolling into a

ri­otous dou­ble sin­ga­long of “Learn To Fly” and “The Pre­tender” that didn’t strug­gle to find will­ing par­tic­i­pants.

The crowd was en­er­gised, the drums crisp and boom­ing, the tri-gui­tar at­tack gui­tar big ’n’ bitey and Grohl’s rich scream seem­ingly end­less, un­leashed with an ex­tra­or­di­nary level of con­fi­dence for a man who was com­mand­ing three hour sets for most nights that week. Ev­ery­thing was set for an amaz­ing gig – if this was golf, it was a putt from five cen­time­tres out. So how did this show end up in the, “Good… But not great” cat­e­gory?

The span­ner in the works was that Dave and the boys re­ally love to jam. Way too much. The set spanned 24 songs over three-plus hours, giv­ing the av­er­age track length a min­i­mum run­time of at least 7.5 min­utes – ban­ter ad­di­tional. That’s a lot of cy­cles of pen­ta­tonic riffage pulled from el­e­ments that were only mi­nor flour­ishes in their orig­i­nal songs, com­bined with end­less drum and gui­tar so­los and ex­tended build-ups stretched far be­yond the point of dra­matic ef­fect.

So, a lot of great songs sat on the bench. We did get at least one song off each of the first four al­bums (in­clud­ing a Syd­ney ex­clu­sive in the form of self-ti­tled cut “Big Me”), but the fo­cus – when they ac­tu­ally felt like play­ing songs – was on new ma­te­rial and one too many cov­ers.

As mu­si­cians and per­form­ers, the Foos are un­fault­able, and Dave Grohl is one of a se­lect few per­form­ers who can com­mand a sold-out sta­dium crowd and make them feel like he’s just a re­ally fun guy hold­ing court at the lo­cal pub.

Un­for­tu­nately, the kind of fun he and the band were no doubt hav­ing, in­dulging the urge to ex­plore every sonic path­way that could be taken within their ex­ist­ing ma­te­rial, flipped what might have been the ul­ti­mate great­est hit spec­tac­u­lar into some­what of en­durance test. There was plenty to love and even more to like but sadly, plenty to be in­dif­fer­ent about also. Next time, Foo Fight­ers, let’s have The

ColourAndTheShape from start to fin­ish, and THEN you can play med­leys of all your favourite ‘70s rock clas­sics. Deal?

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