Sometimes when the everything in the universe is in perfect alignment, magic things happen. Sometimes when a perfect storm comes together, with all the elements in place, it takes over a countryside or a city. One such perfect storm, this one of the “Sonic” variety rolled into a stormy Seattle on Friday night.
Earlier in the week when the Foo Fighters announced they’d be playing The Showbox in downtown Seattle, people in the northwest who weren’t lucky enough to buy a ticket in person frantically searched for a ticket. “Who do I know” was the battle cry heard across the city. Truth of the matter was, it almost didn’t matter who you knew, you just had to be lucky.
Before the show, the line of people stretched up First Ave and around the corner, heading east on Pike. Everyone wanted a good seat or a spot on the rail for one of the most anticipated shows of the year. Once the doors opened at 7:30pm, the line move quickly and the fans wasted no time finding their spot inside the venue. Pearl Jam/Soundgarden drummer Matt Cameron was seen wandering through the crowd, stopping to pose for a few photos with fans and the air was electric.
The buzz inside the venue kept building until just before 9pm when the lights went down and the massive TV screen on the stage, and others around The Showbox lit up with Grohl’s latest creation, “Sonic Highways”. All of the episodes have been great as Dave has traveled around the country and shared intimate and behind the scenes stories and footage about what makes music so special. But this one was the best of them all(so far)….this one was about Seattle music and about northwest music. This edition of the wildly popular show payed homage to some of the greatest bands to come out of the northwest or anywhere for that matter and the focus was on the rich history of talented musicians that have called the northwest home.
Bands like The Sonics were given a good amount of airtime and rightly so, they are truly one of the greatest garage bands of all time. Listening to guitarist Larry Parypa of The Sonics talk about how he used to play in drop tuning in the 60’s to get a meaner, if not grungier sound was music to our ears. Nancy Wilson told the story of how Heart got its start, first in Seattle, then Vancouver as Ann was chasing a boy, and the “Magic Man” was born. Chris Cornell appeared on screen as did Jack Endino and Barrett Jones. They all told behind the scenes stories about what makes this place tick and what it was like when all eyes of the music world focused on Seattle.
Of course, Nirvana received a lot of mentions as Grohl relived and recanted tales about his time in the band and how important those times were in his life. He told about when Kurt asked to hear a solo recording that Dave had been making with Barrett(Jones) and that he was scared for Kurt to hear them. Those demos included “Alone & Easy Target”, which would later be released on Foo Fighters’ 1995 debut album. Says Grohl,
“Kurt heard that, and kissed me on the face, as he was in a bath,” Grohl revealed. “He was so excited. He was like, ‘I heard you recorded some stuff with Barrett [Jones].’ I was like, “Yeah.” He was like, “Let me hear it.” I was too afraid to be in the same room as he listened to it.”
Towards the end of the episode showing, Grohl wearing a baseball ca, made his way with his head down through the crowd, without many people realizing it was him until afterwards and then the electricity REALLY picked up. “Holy shit, that was HIM” could be heard over and over. As “Sonic Highways” came to an end and the roadies readied the stage, the crowd was clearly brimming with anticipation.
The Foo Fighters blasted out of the gate with “Winnebago” as the “at capacity” crowd roared with approval. Two songs later they played “Learn To Fly” and the people on the floor of the packed venue jumped and danced as the band gave it all they had.
With their foot on the throttle for 3 hours the band annihilated The Showbox crowd playing most of their hits like “My Hero” , “The Pretender”, “All My Life”, “These Days” and fan favorites like “Wattershed” which found Grohl having to hit the reset button after a faulty start. How Seattle is that?
They also threw in a few epic covers such as “Ain’t Talkin’ ‘Bout Love” by Van Halen and “Under Pressure” by Queen and David Bowie. Famed producer Butch Vig (Nirvana, Foo Fighters, Muse)was in the house and he requested “Subterranean” from the brand new Foo Fighters album, “Sonic Highways”. According to Setlist.fm This was the first time the band has performed the song live.
View the 32 song setlist HERE
After 31 songs, a sweaty and tired band finished the unforgettable night with of course, “Everlong”.
Throughout the evening, Grohl interacted well with the packed audience and they were smashed up against the rail, as close to the stage as they could possible get and since there was no photopit, that was pretty damn close.
A quarter-ways through the set a crowd surfer made it to the stage and Dave showed approval and Showbox security showed him(crowd-surfer) the backdoor. Grohl stopped and said “Go get that guy” which prompted the black shirted peace-keepers to grab him and pull him back into the venue. Now, he thought Dave wanted him on stage for something and as he started up the stairs Grohl playfully growled, “get the fuck off my stage” pointing to his left the Foo Fighters frontman said “you go that way” as the crowd applauded.
The ex-Nirvana drummer bounced and jumped around on stage like a crazed lunatic all night long, giving the fans exactly what they came for, an intimate, epic celebration of music from one of their northwest rock & roll heroes.
The Foo Fighters truly brought the goods to Seattle, delivering one of the most spirited, engaging and electric rock and rolls shows we’ve seen this year.