REVIEW: Foo Fighters Surprise Concert

REVIEW: Foo Fighters Surprise Concert

The Forum 
Los Angeles, CA  
January 10, 2015
Writing and Photography by


Well, it might have been a party for DAVE GROHL’s 46th birthday, but it was really the fans who got A HUGE GIFT  – as FOO FIGHTERS took the stage at the world famous FORUM in Inglewood California on Saturday night in front of more than 18,000 fans who were lucky enough to have scored a ticket to this once-in-a-lifetime show!

Billed as DAVE’S BIRTHDAY BASH (Dave’s Birthday Club member cards were even distributed at the gate), the show was actually first mentioned (just in passing) by a rather jet-lagged and slightly inebriated Dave Grohl at the ROXY back in November when FOO FIGHTERS played a surprise show for a few hundred fans in support of Dave’s latest venture into filmmaking – the HBO series SONIC HIGHWAYS.  At that gig, DRUNK DAVE (who is always hilarious, mind you) mentioned that he wanted everyone to come to his birthday party at the Forum.  I figured he was just kidding around.  But, as it turned out, the show was announced via social media only days before it was to take place, and managed to sell out the entire Forum in only a matter of minutes (although I was told more than 2000 names were on Dave’s own guest list).  And despite a pretty big winter storm that dumped a ton of rain on Los Angeles and soaked the dedicated (yet weather-spoiled Southern California) fans who waited the better part of Saturday in line to get up close on the general admission floor, the lucky (albeit wet) fans packed the FOOrum to the brim for this historic and epic show – as Dave brought along a few of his really cool friends to help him celebrate.

AND he also brought along a new stage – a 360° rotating set-up – something EVERY band should have – as it makes viewing from anywhere in the venue a nearly front-row experience – and, I imagine, spices it up for the band as they get to see more than the same 50 faces all night long.  It was EPIC! 

Playing WITHOUT AN OPENER (a relief, so it seemed, to the floor fans’ still-wet feet), Dave and his band (bassist Nate Mendel, Pat Smear and Chris Shiflett on guitar, Rami Jaffee on keyboards, and the ever-popular Taylor Hawkins on drums) hit the stage at 8:30 and didn’t stop playing until a quarter after midnight – a nearly 4-hour show!  A plethora of guests and a 31-song set (32 if you count Happy Birthday sung by the crowd – and 33 if you count the jam with amazing New Orleans musician Trombone Shorty that came later in the evening) made for one hell of a memorable night.
To kick it off, Grohl immediately brought out his good friend PAUL STANLEY for a two-song opening set of KISS covers, BOTH off KISS’s 1976 album Destroyer, including the hit song “Detroit Rock City”, plus one surprise deeper track – “Do You Love Me” – to which this KISS fan answered, “HELL YES!”

The Foos then played several of their own songs to follow the Stanley set, and then Dave introduced guests JACK BLACK and KYLE GASS of TENACIOUS D along with, in Dave’s words, “Slash! Slash! Slash! Slash, Motherf*ckers! SLASH!”  Jack Black (in an eye-catching white tiger face t-shirt) got the crowd to sing “Happy Birthday” to Dave, while hundreds of colorful balloons dropped from the canopy above the stage – a sight to see!  Jack Black and Kyle Gass, accomplished musicians on their own, were all over the stage – singing, dancing, joking, and being hilarious, as always – and Slash was – well, was stoic and absolutely badass as always.  They covered Queen’s “Tie Your Mother Down” and Zeppelin’s “Immigrant Song” before making their grand exit. 

As the FOOs sprinkled in their own sets throughout the night, more guests were brought out to join them, including ALICE COOPER (who wore his original 1966 letterman’s sweater – how awesome was that!?!?), NICK OLIVERI of QUEENS OF THE STONE AGE (who sang ROKY ERICKSON and THE 13th FLOOR ELEVATOR’s song “Two Headed Dog”), ZAKK WYLDE – whereby most of the FOOs left the stage while Dave Grohl strapped on a bass and he, Taylor Hawkins on drums, and Zakk Wylde formed a trio which became this dirtier (is that possible?!?) version of Black Sabbath,  and PERRY FARRELL of JANE’S ADDICTION – who slithered – as only Perry Farrell can – through the STONE’s classic “Miss You”, as well as one of his own band’s best, “Mountain Song.”

But probably the biggest surprise of the entire night, something I never thought I’d see (nor did Grohl, apparently – as even he himself admitted this was an item off his own “bucket list”), was when none other than DAVID LEE ROTH walked up that catwalk and sang (as best as his voice can at this point – nobody really expects that he should sound exactly as he did when he was 18, do they?  I mean, give the guy a break – he’s STILL the dude who sang all that awesome VH shit back in the day – stop hating!) two songs from the VAN HALEN catalogue – “Panama” and “Ain’t Talkin’ ’bout Love” – both of which gave DIAMOND DAVE a chance to prance around and show off his freshly shaved head (which, even as the polar opposite of his once-youthful and glorious blonde locks, didn’t actually look that bad!) and his newly tattooed torso (SERIOUSLY – like a f*cking VEST!)!!

And with only one surprise left in his bag, Dave Grohl followed up the usual FOO show-ender “Everlong” with a walk-on from his dear friend and MOTÖRHEAD bassist LEMMY – who sang Chuck Berry’s “Let It Rock”, backed by the FOOs, Slash, and Zakk Wylde – which made for one hell of a cover band – and also FIVE BADASS GUITARISTS shredding it up on stage AT THE SAME TIME!

At that point – what else was there to do but say goodnight, which BIRTHDAY BOY DAVE GROHL did, ever so graciously, visiting as much of the round stage as he could to take a bow, said thank you, and blow kisses to his many, many fans.
We truly wish you a very HAPPY BIRTHDAY, Dave.  Hope you had fun with your friends!  We know WE did!  

SPOTTED IN THE CROWD:  NO DOUBT singer GWEN STEFANI and her BUSH hubby GAVIN ROSSDALE, Dave’s friend and QUEENS OF THE STONEAGE guitarist JOSH HOMME, JONNY KAPLAN and JOKIN SALAVERRIA (Rami Jaffee’s band mates from another group he’s in called THE LAZY STARS), and even SURVIVOR host JEFF PROBST – who has been spotted at the band’s shows in the past.  Survivor’s ready?

ALSO NOTICED ON STAGE: An army of GoPros, as well as other cameras throughout the venue.  Let’s hope the show gets an official video at some point.

CURRENT TOUR:  The FOOS just got back from two shows in South Africa in December, a tiny private gig for William Morris last week at the Belly Up in Solana Beach, and are headed out this week for South America, all in support of their latest album (and companion HBO series SONIC HIGHWAYS).  But they will be back in the states by summer to kick off their North American tour on the 4th of July at RFK Stadium in DC.  They will hit the Southland in Fall at the Honda Center in Anaheim and back to the Forum in Los Angeles for two shows each in September. 

(songs not noted otherwise are by Foo Fighters):

  • Detroit Rock City (KISS cover with Paul Stanley)
  • Do You Love Me (KISS cover with Paul Stanley)
  • All My Life
  • Rope
  • Pretender
  • My Hero
  • (Happy Birthday sung by the crowd)
  • Tie Your Mother Down (Queen cover with Slash, Jack Black, and Kyle Gass)
  • Immigrant Song (Led Zeppelin cover with Slash, Jack Black, and Kyle Gass)
  • Congregation
  • Walk
  • School’s Out (Alice Cooper cover with Alice Cooper)
  • I’m Eighteen (Alice Cooper cover with Alice Cooper)
  • Cold Day In The Sun (Taylor Hawkins on lead vocals)
  • Monkey Wrench
  • Two Headed Dog (Red Temple Prayer) (Roky Erickson and The 13th Floor Elevators cover with Nick Oliveri)
  • Learn to Fly
  • White Limo
  • Arlandria
  • N.I.B. (Black Sabbath cover with Zakk Wylde on guitar and Dave Grohl on bass)
  • Fairies Wear Boots (Black Sabbath cover with Zakk Wylde on guitar/Grohl on bass)
  • Times Like These
  • Outside
  • Miss You (The Rolling Stones cover with Perry Farrell)
  • Mountain Song (Jane’s Addiction cover with Perry Farrell)
  • Something From Nothing
  • This Is a Call
  • (Jam with Trombone Shorty)
  • Best of You
  • Panama (Van Halen cover with Diamond David Lee Roth) 
  • Ain’t Talkin’ ’bout Love (Van Halen cover with Diamond David Lee Roth)
  • Everlong
  • Let It Rock (Chuck Berry cover with Lemmy Kilmister, Slash, and Zakk Wylde)


Featured Events