“You guys knew it was us this whole time” asks Dave Grohl, mock-surprise, halfway through the Foo Fighters not-so-secret set on Glastonbury’s Pyramid Stage. “We’re not good at keeping secrets,” he grins, with a majority of the festival turning up to see The Churnups.
Last time the Foo Fighters were in the UK, it was for the first of two massive tribute shows to their late drummer Taylor Hawkins, who passed away last March. During the epic all-dayer at Wembley Stadium, the surviving members of the band were joined by everyone from Paul McCartney to Hawkins’ son, Shane.
The gig ended with a question mark over the future of the band while new album But Here We Are saw the group come together to work through their grief. There were no easy answers but over the past 18 months, Foo Fighters have used music and togetherness to find a way through.
When Grohl runs out onto the Pyramid stage today, you could be forgiven for thinking it’s business as usual, especially with the band launching straight into a ferocious ‘All My Life’. The past couple of years, which also saw Grohl lose his mum, have certainly left their mark though.
“We’ve only got an hour,” warns Grohl, promising to shut up and keep the hits coming. True to his word, ‘No Son Of Mine’ is fast and furious before a triumphant ‘Learn To Fly’ enters the fray. “We gotta keep going, we can’t stop now” he roars, with the band also squeezing in snippets of Beastie Boys, Black Sabbath and Metallica during this frantic set.
‘Rescued’, the first of two new songs played today, sees the band as raw as they’ve ever been in their long, winding career, before a hammering ‘Pretender’ kickstarts the weekend’s first big singalong.
The audience keeps on singing, with Grohl visibly taken aback by the sheer scale and volume of the moment – which is no easy feat considering how long the band have comfortably been selling-out stadiums. “Can we sing it together now?” he asks, wanting to get in on the magic moment. A stripped-back take on ‘My Hero’ provides another.
With Paul McCartney and Slash standing side of stage, Grohl then invites his “favourite singer” to join him, with his daughter Violet taking to the stage for the prickly, haunting ‘Show Me How’. It’s a long way from the frantically optimistic anthems that Foo Fighters are known for, but it provides a gorgeous moment of reflection, with tens of thousands of people caught up in the beautiful moment.
“You got one more in you?” Grohl asks before an equally emotional ‘Best Of You’. “We could do this all night,” he grins, playful as ever. With time slipping away from them though, Grohl finishes by saying “we never like to say goodbye,” before confirming a UK headline run for next summer. “I would like to thank you for sticking around for the past 28 years,” he continues, before dedicating ‘Everlong’ to Taylor. “Let’s sing this one loud as shit for him”. The roar is deafening.
Foo Fighters are still the goofy masters of stadium rock but todays urgent set sees them more fiery and focused than usual. “If you guys come back, we’ll come back too,” Grohl says, reminding the crowd that we’re very much in this together.