Two issues appeared assured when the good and the nice within the rock world gathered at Wembley Stadium in London to pay their respects to the late Foo Fighters drummer Taylor Hawkins:
First, it might be emotional. And two, there could be drums.
The primary Taylor Hawkins Tribute Live performance (the second is in Los Angeles later this month) did not take lengthy to ship on both rely.
At 4:30 p.m. sharp, the Foo Fighters emerged, and as Dave Grohl spoke, the gang gave him an enormous ovation. As he lowered his head, the applause grew. As he gazed up on the skies, a chant of “Taylor! Taylor! erupted till he lastly pulled himself collectively sufficient to vow “a huge fucking evening for a huge fucking particular person”.
It definitely began off large. Liam Gallagher confirmed off and – backed by the Foos, with Grohl pounding the drums tougher than any Oasis drummer – delivered the heaviest, menacing variations of ‘Rock ‘n’ Roll Star’ and “Reside Endlessly” by no means heard.
On this opening speech, Grohl famous that “nobody may make you smile, chuckle, dance or sing like Taylor may”. Even now that he is gone, it was clear that Hawkins retained that expertise, with a cavalcade of stars stepping out of their ordinary roles to pay tribute to the drummer and his heroes.
To salute Hawkins’ beloved David Bowie, Nile Rodgers teamed up with Josh Homme of Queens of the Stone Age (on “Let’s Dance”) and Gaz Coombes of Supergrass (on “Trendy Love”). And Hawkins’ aspect initiatives Chevy Metallic and the Coattail Riders introduced in visitor vocalists Ke$ha and Justin Hawkins (no relation) from The Darkness.
Grohl himself was all over the place. He performed bass whereas Justin Hawkins and Wolfgang Van Halen ripped Van Halen’s “Sizzling for Trainer”. He performed drums whereas his daughter Violet sang just a few numbers by Taylor’s favourite singer, Jeff Buckley. And he was additionally behind Homme’s John Paul Jones and Led Zeppelin as Them Crooked Vultures stomped on Elton John’s “Goodbye Yellow Brick Street,” after Elton himself appeared on the massive display (that means Homme was Bowie , Elton and himself multi function evening — one hell of a karaoke session).
“Hope you had been sporting comfy sneakers,” Grohl joked because the proceedings reached the midway level. “As a result of we’re not even shut” to ending. Inevitably, with such a protracted present, there have been lulls, particularly with the largely white male line-up making few inroads past the traditional rock canon.
However at its greatest, this present would possibly make your coronary heart do the one factor Taylor Hawkins by no means did: skip a beat. And so, as nightfall fell after quick units of Supergrass and Pretenders, the vitality soared.
First, Metallica’s Lars Ulrich joined the Foo Fighters in supporting Brian Johnson on an journey by means of AC/DC’s “Again in Black” and “Let There Be Rock” that was so joyous even Grohl famous that was value ending the present.
It was time for Police’s Stewart Copeland to offer his personal drum masterclass on a Foos-assisted “Each Little Factor She Does Is Magic” earlier than Geddy Lee and Rush’s Alex Lifeson carried out collectively on stage once more to make homage to Hawkins and their “personal fallen”. brother,” Neil Peart (Grohl himself performed drums, impersonating a well-known former Hawkins visitor).
Given their lengthy historical past, Queen’s efficiency was much less of an eye-opener, however Brian Could and Roger Taylor additionally clearly tapped into their very own emotions of loss over Freddie Mercury, who had his personal tribute gig at that stadium some time in the past. simply over 30 years outdated. The Struts’ Luke Spiller and Justin Hawkins each tried to channel their internal Freddie, however Eurovision star Sam Ryder was the shock bundle, his all-inclusive efficiency of ‘Anyone to Love’ making Wembley nearly as ecstatic as at a few of earlier Queen’s triumphs.
However for as soon as, Freddie’s boots won’t have been the toughest to fill. As a result of, even when there may solely be one group to shut the proceedings tonight, it was by no means going to be a typical Foo Fighters present.
It began with “Instances Like These”. Already heavy with that means after discovering new resonance in the course of the pandemic, no surprise Grohl’s voice cracked on the elegiac, nearly a cappella intro. However the crowd stepped in to assist, and from there Grohl and everybody else celebrated the catharsis of their most soulful songs.
Nonetheless, filling Hawkins’ sneakers was an excessive amount of for one particular person, so drummers from Travis Barker (“Monkey Wrench”) to Roger Taylor’s son Rufus (“These Days”) to Nandi Bushell, the 12-year-old daughter who challenged Grohl to a drum-off (“Study to Fly”), stuffed the seat at varied occasions – and most spectacular of all, Taylor’s 16-year-old son, Shane Hawkins, placed on an extremely courageous efficiency on “MyHero”.
“Should you knew what number of drum kits are on the market…” Grohl smiled wistfully at one level. “It’s important to have a good time the drummers, proper? »
Certainly – though the friends up entrance had been fairly first rate too. Chrissie Hynde and none aside from Sir Paul McCartney joined the band for a dwell rendition of “Oh! Darling”, then Macca stayed for a tumultuous “Helter Skelter”.
“We felt all of the love from you for Taylor tonight,” Grohl stated, as he thanked the Hawkins household on the finish of the evening. “I do not actually know what else to say.”
Fortuitously, he knew precisely what to play. “Everlong” was a reassuringly acquainted method to finish a protracted evening, nevertheless it – and the colossal crowd it unleashed – certainly by no means felt so poignant.
It was a strong begin for rock royalty – and on an evening crammed with emotion and drumming, it was good to know that his beat continued.
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