TOWER CITY AMPHITHEATER, CLEVELAND
MAY 27, 2003
I believe in the Rock! I believe that rock music can drive you when your day, week or life seems to be going nowhere fast and you need that little extra pick-me-up to get you to the weekend. I believe that it is every fan of rock music’s responsibility to answer the call of The Rock as much as possible. I’m referring, of course, to attending that great event we call the Rock Concert.
Shamefully, I almost missed out earlier this week on adhering to my philosophy, as I didn’t have tickets to the Foo Fighters/Chevelle show at the Tower City Amphitheater on Tuesday night. All day long all I constantly thought about getting tickets and going to the show, but, to quote Elvis Costello, I was lured, “by the promise of an early bed.” I debated, I fretted, and eventually I sacrificed laundry money and I went to that show. Best decision I’ve made all year.
From the get go, Foo Fighters proved that they came to tear down the little tent by the river. “All My Life,” the first single from their 2002 release, One By One, led off the energy filled set. Peppered with Dave Grohl’s screams and drummer Taylor Hawkin’s driving drums, “All My Life” set the pace for the next hour and a half of full throttle, ass-kicking rock! Two Foo film songs followed; “Hero,” made popular from the movie “Varsity Blues,” and “The One” from last year’s “Orange County,” made a promise to the audience of an evening filled with a fair mix of popular favorites and new album cuts. Appreciated indeed, at least from my perspective, was the inclusion of not only a few tracks off One by One, such as “Low,” the stripped down “Tired of You,” and the new single “Times Like These,” but also cuts from 1999’s There is Nothing Left to Lose, one of my all-time favorite albums. Grohl even acknowledge his Ohio roots, with a salute to the Buckeyes and the performance of “For All the Cows” from the very first Foo Fighters release. (Who knew Dave Grohl spent time in Ohio, but for that matter, how is it that almost everyone has a freakin’ Ohio connection?) Rounding things out was the anthematic “Learn to Fly,” “Monkey Wrench,” as well as an amazing encore performance of the shimmering “Aurora,” capped off with 1997’s MTV favorite, “Everlong.”
Foo Fighters bring something to today’s rock scene that I feel is missing, and has been for some time. That thing is fun. The Foo Fighters looked like they were having fun on stage, that they actually liked the way their guitars sounded, the way the crowd could sing along to their lyrics, and how the audience fed off that energy and responded with appreciation. Indeed, rock is supposed to be fun and, while the Foos are perhaps holdovers from the bygone grunge era, I feel they owe as much to Nirvana as they do to the anthem writing, stadium-touring bands of the 1970s, including the likes of Aerosmith and Led Zeppelin. There are few things more fulfilling than leaving a great rock concert feeling that the band gave as much as you took in, and the Foo Fighters did just that. Dave Grohl will return to Cleveland one day to join his Nirvana band mates in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, but on this night, as it has been for the last eight years, Grohl alone held the spotlight, and he demonstrated again why he deserves it.
Opening act Chevelle was, um, well, I can’t lie. I know, as a “rock-guy” I’m supposed to like these dudes, but they don’t impress me. In fact, they are boring to watch, boring to listen to, and I’m so sick and tired of every rock band D-Tuning their guitars and playing what sounds like aggressive funeral dirges. The three-piece band was tight, and the singer’s screams were, um, loud, but by the time they got to their hit single, “The Red,” I was seeing my way to the beer stand for more overpriced liquid refreshment. I guess they weren’t terrible for what they do, but what they do bores the crap out of me.
The first band was an outfit out of Los Angles called The Jealous Sound. Their catchy punk inspired pop rock tunes were reminiscent of early Goo Goo Dolls. The Sound got the sparse crowd moving, which was good, because there was a wicked cold wind coming off the river. They were solid, but nothing special.
Did I mention that the Foo Fighters were awesome? Because they were! Best show I’ve seen so far this year.
~Joe Del Re