CHICAGO – It cannot be helped that the Foo Fighters” Lollapalooza finale set includes, in part, a weather report.
The 16-year-old band shined off the three-day festival with less shine and more rain, as the two-hour set featured buckets and sheets of bad weather for 20 minutes, only half an hour in.
“You stinky f*ckers finally got a bath,” Foos frontman Dave Grohl laughed. Despite the downpour, there was no interruption in the encore-less hit parade, from opener “Bridges Burning” to final “Everlong.”
Grant Park”s southernmost field had already been torn into a muddy stew by 30 minutes of rain and retreating attendees around 6 p.m. That front interrupted Arctic Monkeys” set, which then pushed the Foos” thunderous warm-up, Explosions In The Sky (apt, no?), to finish their set in record time. They forced “an hour-and-a-half of rock into 45 minutes,” said one Explosions guitarist, before they wordlessly pummeled through their loud-quite-loud instrumental dreamscapes and nightmares.
For Grohl & Co., it was about keeping the show upbeat and moving along with 20 songs total for those fans that stuck it out in the mud and the cooling temperatures. Skies broke in time for “Arlandria,” which the singer and guitarist noted as he riffed on the well-loved “rain, rain” rhyme: “Shame, shame go away / come again some other day.”
Grohl was chock-full of lively banter, too, and shared the spotlight on and off with Taylor Hawkins – two adept barrel beaters getting their flop-sweat on.
“It”s like Freddie Mercury is my drummer,” Grohl said.
Hawkins had his own say too.
“In 1988, Jane”s Addiction saved my life,” he said from behind the kit, in thanks to festival founder Perry Farrell. He then took the lead on “Cold Day in the Sun,” from 2005″s “In Your Honor,” Hawkins” first Foos song to ever take lead vocals. Farrell came out on stage briefly, later in the set, to bow in thanks to the mop-haired masses.
Other highlights included intimate “Times Like These” and “These Days” from Grohl, who, earlier, threw himself into the front row of the crowd, guitar in hand, during an extended solo for “Long Road to Ruin.” The band also took on one of their well-loved covers, Mose Allison”s “Young Man Blues,” made popular by the Who.
Grohl waxed nostalgic, briefly, on this Lolla 20th anniversary weekend; remembering in the ’90s when his old band Nirvana played to a 20,000 cap instead of the 90,000 that had tickets for this past weekend. With the Foo Fighters as one of the weekend”s tentpoles, it seems that “alternative” rock is still alive and well, and even a little bit wet.