mon 09/12/2019

Foo Fighters, Olympic Park | reviews, news & interviews

Foo Fighters, Olympic Park

Foo Fighters, Olympic Park

Dave Grohl's band closes Invictus Games with a seismic blast of energy and goodwill

Dave Grohl - the hair rocks tooMatthew Wright

“There goes my hero,” sang the Foo Fighters at the end of the Invictus Games last night. True to form, the Foo Fighters’ performance was a barrage of energy and goodwill, which closed the games - characterised by much the same - on an all-round high. Rather touchingly, and with a sensitivity to context not all rockers are known for, the band had selected songs from their catalogue which best reflected the spirit of commitment, resolution and endurance that the games were celebrating.

The Olympic Park appeared to be full to the rafters - or to Anish Kapoor’s peculiar red spiral, which is the nearest thing - for the final day of this new event for wounded soldiers. With one exception, the line-up was popular, rousing, and insofar as the topic arises (which is often in the case of the Marine Band, Pipe and Drums, and Military Wives) pro-military. Immediately preceding the Foo Fighters was Prince Harry, giving a speech celebrating the achievements of the wounded soldiers. Feeling self-conscious about the time he was taking, he wondered why the audience was in such a hurry to see the “very old” Dave Grohl, (he’s 45). But Grohl had the last laugh with a performance that could hardly have been more dynamic.

It wasn’t just heroism that the Foo Fighters, performing in the UK for the first time in several years, were celebrating. The lyrics to “Walk”, including the line “I’m learning to walk again”, may have been literally applicable to some of the contestants, and the song’s message of survival and hope certainly resounded. Even the songs about love in some form (“All My Life”, “Arlandria”, “Best of You”) are often life-affirming and encourage a new start, which is, in the context of these games, a welcome message.  

Ryan Adams, Invictus GamesGrohl is known among fans for both his energy and good humour. Both were amply displayed last night, as he ran from one end to the other of the (very large) stage, to connect with as much of the audience as possible. Every three or four beats he flicked his hair back with the vigour of someone auditioning for a shampoo ad. He made a point of encouraging the audience to sing, even blowing kisses down the mic. Drummer Taylor Hawkins, who hid behind his fringe a lot, though not so much you couldn’t see the huge grin on his face for most of the evening, sang “Cold Day in the Sun”, as he often does, with a grainy, country-tinged charm, and played his drum solos with such manic energy it sounded as if giants were having a boulder fight.

Earlier in the evening, alt-country singer Ryan Adams played a short set to what he himself conceded was a disappointingly flat response. Though this may simply reflect his lower profile with the games’ audience than other support acts like Kaiser Chiefs, it’s also possible Adams’ distinctly un-military stage decor, a US flag with CND symbol added (pictured, above left) didn’t endear him to this particular audience. No such danger with the Foo Fighters, whose infectious energy rocked the park.

The lyrics to 'Walk', including the line 'I’m learning to walk again', may have been literally applicable to some

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