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| 2 February 2024 | Reply

Mt Smart Stadium, Auckland
With The Breeders & Dick Move
Reviewed by Shane Pinnegar

You simply can’t accuse Foo Fighters of skimping. Whilst most bands will give you ninety minutes (including their encore, thankyou very much – this is a JOB) Foos deliver more than two hours as a minimum – 2 ½ to 3 more likely.

Resuming their Antipodean tour in Auckland on a sultry evening, fresh from a Christmas break after wowing Aussie crowds in late November, thirty or forty thousand Kiwis (and those of us visiting from overseas) are primed and ready.

Cast from the same molten ciggy butts, feral tatts and empty stubbies as The Chats and Amyl & The Sniffers across the Tasman, Dick Move’s frenetic, punky set of short sharp one inch punch tunes mainline energy into the slowly filling Mt Smart Stadium.

Cripes knows how many tracks they crammed into their whirlwind half hour set – we lost count – but the social attitude and Dead Kennedy’s-esque guitar of Small Man, Big Tweet, Women, Take The Streets and closers Eyes For Christmas and Feel Better impressed.

The twins Deal – Kelly on mostly acoustic rhythm guitar and mostly vocals, Kim on lead guitar and occasional vocals – have brought The Breeders back from the dead in recent years with their drug problems apparently in the rear view and they’re sound great, albeit a little on the quiet side – Kelly’s between song banter and even vocals were desperately in need of some volume.

90’s indie smash Cannonball – easily their most recognisable song – is played second, and the rest of the set suffered from a certain sameyness and lack of punchy engagement. A revved up Happiness Is A Warm Gun is a questionable choice for ex-junkies to play (“I need a fix ‘cos I’m going down”), and they finished with another favourite, The Pixies’ Gigantic.

“What sort of rock n’ roll do you like?” Dave Grohl asks during second track, No Son Of Mine, before teasing the riffs to Paranoid and Enter Sandman, and Foos’ epic nearly three hour show is off and running.

It’s a week after his 55th birthday and his energy seems boundless – as does his appetite for cigarettes later in the show, puffing away like a chimney but still seemingly no shorter of breath.

All your favourites were on show during a massive 26 song set – The Pretender, Times Like These, Generator, La Dee Da, Breakout, My Hero, The Sky Is A Neighbourhood, Learn To Fly – these songs have become part of rock’s lexicon, as instantly familiar and welcome as old friends.

The rest of the Foos are content to be sidemen – the stage is only big enough for Grohl’s maxi-sized personality, after all, but he ensures each of his cohorts is given time to shine in the spotlight, not least of all new drummer Josh Freese, a heavy hitting dynamo and force of nature. His double bass drum playing turns these favourites up to eleven, and whilst his predecessor Taylor Hawkins is much missed and Freese’s playing is remarkably different, he is given a warm welcome by the excited and appreciative throng of fans.

Statues is semi-acoustic, performed by Dave, Chris Shiflett and Rami Jaffee, before instrumental The Ballad of the Beaconsfield Miners gets a rare-ish airing. Special mention goes to the set design, which features amongst other things a realistic image of Dave’s old tour van suspended by wires as part of the backdrop.

Monkey Wrench is as full-on as ever, and there’s barely a dry eye in the house when Dave dedicates Aurora to Hawkins, the screen proudly displaying his hawk logo.

We’d caught a glimpse of movie star, Tenacious D lynchpin, and long-time Grohl buddy Jack Black wandering through the crowd in a garish tie die shirt and shorts combo, so we were half expecting an appearance onstage, and were not disappointed. He skips boisterously to the mic and duets on AC/DC’s Big Balls with the Foos’ drum tech Fiona, to the delight of all present.

Best of You closes out the main set, before an encore of the epic The Teacher, a song written for Grohl’s mother after her passing only a few months after Hawkins’ death, before the show wraps up with classic Everlong.

Three hours is a helluva long time to sit through a concert and there’s a lot of band who would not be able to pull it off without every song sounding samey or losing the crowd to boredom – especially in these ADHD times. It’s testament to Grohl & his Foo Fighters that they can not only pull this off, but make it seem effortless and unflaggingly FUN.

All My Life
No Son of Mine
The Pretender
Times Like These
La Dee Da
Guitar Solo / Sabotage / Keyboard Solo / Blitzkrieg Bop / Whip It / March of the Pigs
My Hero
The Sky Is a Neighborhood
Learn to Fly
Under You
These Days
Ballad of the Beaconsfield Miners (Dave solo into full band)
Nothing at All (with The Beatles’ “Blackbird” riff)
Monkey Wrench
Aurora (dedicated to Taylor Hawkins)
This Is a Call
Big Balls (AC/DC cover) (with Jack Black) (and Aussie drum tech Fiona)
Best of You

The Teacher

Category: Live Reviews

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Editor, 100% ROCK MAGAZINE

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