Much like the chicken or the egg question, it is impossible to determine whether the right band emerges for the times or does the times dictate why a certain band becomes the musical icon of that time.
Did the decadence and grandeur of the 70s ensure that the band of the decade would be Led Zeppelin or would Zeppelin have represented any era musically? To be clear, Zeppelin, one of the greatest bands of all time, would have been successful in any era. But would they have been the group in another era?
Bruce Springsteen was there and a star years before Born in USA. made him the rock star of the moment in the mid-’80s. And proving that, like Zeppelin, he would be an all-time great in any era, Springsteen enjoys continued popularity nearly 40 years later. But it never was the guy as he was then in any other era. So maybe the two need to converge – the right artist at the right time.
Watching the blistering and brilliant Foo Fighters two-plus hour set close BottleRock, one thing was very evident – the Foo are the band for this moment. More than a quarter of a century after the start of their future career in the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame, Dave Grohl and his friends are the group that will lead the music from late 2021 to 2022.
Grohl and company have enjoyed the deserved love and respect of fans since their debut in 1995. So what makes this time different? Looking at the ecstatic love they’ve received from 40,000 fans, it’s clear that right now they’re unparalleled in rock. And there are a number of reasons why this is happening now.
To begin with, and most importantly, those days were pretty darn dark. Between the division of politics, the pandemic, the violence, the rhetoric and much more, it feels like society has been in perpetual doom for the past few years. There was little reason to hope. Enter the Foos. Not only the greatest rock band of 2021, worthy successors to Van Halen and other arena rock bands the Foos so admire, but also very good songwriters with much-needed affirmation messages.
Just watch the stunning opener, “Times Like These.” In the familiar chorus, which 40,000 fans sang with gleeful glee, Grohl sings, “It’s times like these that you learn to live again/It’s times like these that you give and give back/It’s times like these that you learn to love again/It’s time like these over and over again.”
Of course, the song is 18 years old. But damn if that doesn’t sound like it could have been written as an anthem and statement for any day you want to name in the last few years. And yes, it was written in an uproar, but the message of learning not just to love again, but to give and live again, was certainly relevant for 40,000 fans who were waiting for any excuse to celebrate again.
Grohl explained how he was that person, as they all were, during the pandemic, dancing around his house in sweatpants waiting for the chance to join his fellow music lovers in the shared joy of live music. He was not flattering. It’s Grohl, I’ve known him for at least 15 years, and it’s hard to think of anyone who loves his “work” more.
It’s also a big part of why the Foos are so beloved. They have fun with a capital F. And when so many people are in a time of uncertainty, unhappy, or just plain lost, watching people who truly love what they do and are grateful and ecstatic to do what they do, is the tonic for so many people. need. And, as a bonus, the guys all love each other. In the all too often dysfunctional world of egos that is rock and roll, and believe me, I’ve interviewed every fire band you can name, watching a band that loves playing together as much today as there is is 26 years old, is an absolutely magnificent sight to see and be a part of.
Before a stunning cover of Queen’s “Somebody To Love,” featuring Taylor Hawkins on vocals and Grohl on drums, Grohl introduced Hawkins as his own, “Brother from another mother.” Thinking back, the camaraderie the band displays, both onstage and offstage because I’ve had the chance to hang out with them offstage, is very reminiscent of Springsteen and the E Street Band.
Speaking of fun, another highlight was their cover of “You Should Be Dancing” by the Bee Gees, their Hi Satin Dee Gees disco album. Yes, disco doesn’t suck, never has, the Bee Gees are music icons and the Foos know that an all-disco covers album is fun for them and the fans. And that’s what they’re interested in, making people have a good time.
In this time when we need it more than ever, no band does it better than the Foo Fighters, or with more joy than Dave Grohl. And that’s why they’re the band’s music needs and we’re damn lucky to have in the often austere world that is 2021. Of course, things can look bleak. But when you can scream to “All My Life,” “These Days,” “Best Of You” and more, and dance to Bee Gees covers, at least for two hours, there’s joy and excitement. ‘hope.