WASHINGTON, D.C. – Dave Grohl wanted to do a show July 4 at RFK Stadium, so he scheduled a show at RFK Stadium. He wanted to play on a bill with some of the artists who has inspired him and who he worked with on the Sonic Highways project, so he invited them to come along. And after he broke his leg falling off stage at a June show in Sweden, he wanted a giant throne. So he built a giant throne.
“I wasn’t f*cking missing this,” Grohl said during the show. “What do people want on the Fourth of July? People want rock and roll.”
Foo Fighters are a rock and roll band, and Dave Grohl is one of the last true modern day rock and roll frontmen left. So the Northern Virginia native put together a festival inside RFK – a stadium so old at this point it’s either going to survive a nuclear winter or fall into dust if you whisper too loud one of these days – with an eclectic lineup including Joan Jett, Heart, Gary Clark Jr., Trombone Shorty, LL Cool J and D.C. legends Trouble Funk. The band decided to cover Queen’s “Under Pressure.” They had the small D.C. venue 9:30 Club run the event. And they had fireworks booming down East Capitol St NE afterward.
None of these things should have been surprising, but as someone experiencing his first Foo Fighters show after 20 years of hearing their music, I was taken aback all the same.
That’s something that never really resonated with me until I was there listening to them play. Nirvana formed the year I was born. Foo Fighters have now been a band for almost three times as long as Nirvana was around. And yet, I have to admit, I was never a big fan, even as Grohl and company rattled off album after album and hit after hit. I like Grohl, but I’ve always been ambivalent about his band. And yet, as they fired off a five-song opener of “Everlong,” “Monkey Wrench,” “Learn To Fly,” “Something For Nothing,” and “The Pretender,” I was sucked in.