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Foo Fighters
Serj Tankien
Against Me!
5/6/08 & 5/7/08

What can be better than seeing the Foo Fighters at a sold out Forum show? Seeing it twice. Possibly the only thing that could have made it a better show would be if we could resurrect the dead. Or pick a better opener.

Both nights Against Me! rocked the house. Well sort of. I think had more people known who they were and appreciated what was going on, they would have gotten a warmer reception. Maybe it was because the sold out Forum was less than half full when they came on. Their sound was awesome, I generally enjoy the raw rock and roll energy the band puts out. From where I was sitting, I had a hard time picking out the lead singer because they all look pretty similar in their black getups and because somehow they’ve mastered having an identical gritty singing voice. Whatever, I liked it. It was sort of sad to me to see so many people sitting around with blank looks on their faces because Against Me! is clearly music you get up and rock to. Against Me! don’t need no stinking light shows.

My dissatisfaction with the opener comes from Serj Takien. Personally, I can’t stand the guy. Maybe I just don’t get him. Whatever. To me, the guy sounds like a goat that can sing. But hey, I will give him props for having a lot of talent. Even though I don’t like the music I have to admit that there’s obvious talent backing it up. I mean not everyone can record an album by themselves (psst- Dave Grohl can!). I think the guy lacks stage presence, as was displayed by his odd prancing around. It’s kind of like he knows he can’t stand in one place for a show but is not quite sure what to do with himself. The white coat/black pants/top hat getup made him look like a cross between Branden Urie and a ringleader (of the circus variety). Dave Grohl says there’s only one Serj. I can do without him, thanks.

As for my beloved Foo, I don’t even know where to start. Both nights rocked equally and separately. For both nights, I think the guys made an agreement to up the ante for this show. Dave even mentioned on stage that the Weezer/Foo show I saw in 2005 would suck dick compared to the Forum show (he was right except for one thing- Weezer opened. Way better than Serj). The energy they exerted for the Forum was awesome. Dave was all over the place screaming and dancing and head banging his long hair. I don’t know how they did it for two nights. I was tired and I was only listening. I was pleased to see the return of Pat Smear, former Foo-turned reunited touring guitarist, Drew Hester the percussionista wonder (yeah, I made up a word), and Rami Jaffee, pianist extraordinaire. There was a new addition, Jessy Greene, who makes strings succumb to her every whim. AMAZING.

Both nights they lowered down a mini stage in the middle of the crowd so everyone in the back (i.e. me) got a chance to be a bit closer. They did a mini acoustic show on this mini stage, and it was mini rad. Ok, just rad.

Night one Dave went around the group for introductions and had every say their first Forum show (Dave, Jesse, and Pat had never been there)- Rush, Whitesnake, Rolling Stones, and Boston were thrown out. Pretty entertaining. Dave did the (usual?) acoustic version of “Everlong” with the rest of the band rocking out the final chorus, which is always (especially for me) a crowd favorite. Night one was especially awesome because of the special guest hero. I’m sitting in the back and watching this guy sit down at Taylor’s (who was FULL of face melting solos all night. Dear God, thank you for drummers) drum set and thinking “Dude, who’s that old guy?” And then Taylor introduces the ever-amazing Stewart Copeland. Stewart freaking Copeland. As Dave said, “Yeah, that just happened.” They played a song with Taylor singing lead, Dave doing backup, and Stewart drumming. Kickass.

Night two was better, I’m not gonna lie. The set list was essentially the same, but they threw in a few extras. For instance, when Taylor Hawkins did his ten-minute solo (ok, it wasn’t ten minutes, but it should have been), percussionist Drew joined on his little set of whatever-type-stuff-that-makes-rhythm-when-you-hit-it and they had a drum-off. Or percussion-off, since Drew mostly wasn’t playing drums. During introductions, instead of going around the circle and asking everyone to say their first Forum show again, everyone did a solo. A RAD solo. Even Pat’s “personality” solo was awesome, just because I love the guy. Jessy Greene, by the way, makes the violin wail like I have never heard. And we were all treated to a rad-ass triangle solo by Drew.

Night two they also threw out one of my favorite songs, which I have not previously seen live- “Darling Nikki.” I think everyone in the arena was hot for Dave at that point. And special guest for night two? Lemne from Motorhead. Rock out. It would have rocked a lot harder if everyone in the arena weren’t scared of the metal that was happening on stage. I found it very entertaining.

Favorite moment of the shows? Night one was the video up on the big screen of Taylor and Dave sharing a mic with Stewart Copeland drumming right behind them and the sheer enjoyment on their faces. Night two was a tie between the uber-excited-like-a-little-kid-type run and jump over the amps Dave did to join his band during “Everlong,” and the lingering bows and blown kisses at the fans at the end of the show. Maybe I’m a sentimentalist, but I just really enjoyed seeing a band that’s made it big and is hugely famous that still genuinely appreciates playing with each other and appreciates their fans. It’s obvious that even the best bands get to a point where they hate playing crowd favorites and they get sick of touring. I love that Dave Grohl and his lovely band of Foo Fighters love each other and love their fans. Lord knows I love them too.

By Caitlin Elgin