Foo Fighters - Reading 2005

Dave Grohl has many a fond memory of the Reading festival. He already has one headline set under his belt in 2002, as well as being involved with the legendary Nirvana show in the early nineties, when the rumors of Kurt Cobain being unfit to perform spread, Kurt took to the stage in a wheel chair as if to stick two fingers up at his doubters. There was nothing of that nature in this headline set as there’s no reason to knock the Foo Fighters, they’re simply a band on top form, playing hit after hit, pausing once in a while for a song from their fantastic recent double album. The title track of this, ‘In Your Honor’, is one of the best set openers around and leaves you in no doubt what sort of a rock onslort you’re about to experience. ‘In Your Honor’, ‘All My Life’, ‘Times Like These’, ‘My Hero’ and ‘Best of You’ were the ones chosen to launch the crowd into orbit.

The set was rounded off in just as much style as it began. The drummer Tailor has his own material coming out in early 2006, and on the evidence of the track he’s written for the acoustic half of ‘In Your Honor’ it should be a cracker. ‘Cold Day in the Sun’ was the only one from the second half of their double album that got an airing. This led into ‘D.O.A’, ‘For the Cows’’ and ‘Monkey Wrench’, the latter the perfect way to round off an hour and a half in the company of the Foo Fighters.

In between this, many of the bands anthems were played, with ‘Learn to Fly’ being the pick of the bunch, alongside a handful from the rock half of their latest album. The plan has always been to keep the big outdoor shows and arena tours as the full on rock experience, with the more relaxed, probably intimate setting being sort for a Foo Fighters unplugged concert. They have often dropped the pace in their shows and this was done roughly half way through the Saturday night gig. For me the strange and slightly disappointing thing was that they have an acoustic album available but chose in the one man and his guitar section of the set to play old tracks including a version of Everlong that I’m sure will be a fan divider. This acoustic rendition went down well with those at reading, and has done in the past when it has been stripped down in this way, but it seems odd to have one of the jewels in your crown, one of the finest rock anthems of the past decade in none of it’s powerful glory. That said it was the only disappointing element of what was ultimately a triumphant headlining performance. Grohl is every inch the rock god and alongside his band mates are right up there with the all time greats.