Wednesday, August 23, 2006

The Foo Fighters w/Frank Black at the Wang Center, Boston MA

Foo Fighters w/Frank Black
The Wang Center, Boston MA
Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Last year the Foo Fighters released a double album called In Your Honor. Disc one was a full on electric affair while cd 2 was an acoustic record. The band toured for the "rock side" and then decided to do a tour of the acoustic stuff. The band has been on the road for about one month now and made their stop in Boston last night.

The Wang Center is the largest "theater" in Boston. Used mostly for the big "Broadway" shows its not very often a "rock show" comes. The venue is stunningly beautiful and the acoustics are top notch.

I arrived to the venue about 7:15 and just made my way in. I had front row balcony and was taken to my seat. It was right on the isle (Mezzanine RT Center Row A seat 26). I had nobody in front of me and a little "shelf" to lean forward on to take it all in. This is a tapers dream location. I wired up and was ready to capture it all.

The pre-show music was Johnny Cash, a mixture of his American Music series cds as well as some live cuts. Right at 730 the lights dimmed and out came Frank Black. Frank Black is/was the lead singer of the Boston band "The Pixies". He has a slew of solo albums as well and he settled right down to work. Dressed all in black he ripped thru a 35 minute set with only 2 very short "thank yous" thrown in. He was very effective and I think made some new fans. He walked off..the lights went up and we waited about 20 minutes for the Foo Fighters.

For an "acoustic tour" there was a lot of gear and a lot of people. The lights go down about 8:30 and Dave took the stage solo, said hi and "are you ready"? The crowd cheers and he responds "Good, cuz I'm not". He sat down under a single spot light and began "Razor". The theater was dead silent which is always a plus. You wonder how people will behave in settings like this. After a few verses the entire band joins in and the volume quickly goes up 10 fold. I love this whole quiet/loud stuff. The band just all comes in and starts rocking. After thunderous applause the band moves quietly in to Over and Out. The percussionist (drew) adds some nice touches with the vibes. After this Dave says "Its nice to have an audience that doesn't beat the shit out of each other for an hour and a half."

There are 8 people on stage total. Pat Smear, who was with the band for some time is back for this tour, then Chris Shifflet off to the right (facing the stage mind you) on guitars. Dave front and center. To his left is Petra she played violin and mandolin, sang some backing vocals as well as lead on "Floaty". Bassist Nate Mendell was next to her. Across the back was piano/organ/accordion player Rami then drummer Taylor Hawkins (who i swear hits the drums as hard as anyone) and finally percussionist Drew Hester.

He introduces "Marigold" and that is was "really fucking old". Dave loves the f word I came to find out..which is fine. They just kept rolling and hit "Walking after you" next. The violin adds a lot to this song. Without stopping they go right in to "My Hero". This song really works well in an acoustic setting. Drew adds some nice chimes into the chorus and punches the feel. The band swells as one unit and the song never lets up. We are five songs in and the band is beyond tight and they are firing on all cylinders.

"Next Year" follows after Dave tells a funny story about how the band took their time recording their third record because they had no record label. He said it took 5 months to make and was "mellow" because they sat on their asses and ate ribs. For some reason about 1 minute into the song every hair on my neck arms and legs stood up. My buddy Jeff said a long time ago about Dave "Imagine if Nirvana let him do more than drum". I am paraphrasing but when I have moments like that I am always compelled to think "what if". "Another Round" followed. It was pretty straightforward.

Dave is one of the funnier guys in all of music. His "stories" in and out of songs really add a nice touch and he left the place laughing loud and often. When he introduced Pat Smear he noted that Pat was wearing flip flops. He said "What do you think this is a Widespread Panic show dude?" After a few seconds Dave says "You have No Idea who Widespread Panic is do you?" Dave dedicates "See You" to Mark Katz who helped Nirvana from the get go in Boston. Dave said all the music execs were "NERDS" but Mark was cool and helped them a lot. Mark was in the audience and Dave spoke to him a few times.
When Rami did a piano solo he was up on the high keys and Dave says "We need to get you a bigger keyboard ran out of notes but with a bigger keyboard you can solo for like half an hour". He then introduced Nate on the bass and the bass line was this walking "Pink Panther like shit" as Dave said. Nate botches the solo some and Dave says "Did I mess you up?" The piano comes back in with the theme to the Pink Panther and Dave responds "Dude..more with the piano?"!

When he is introducing Petra people are yelling stuff so Dave says "Let me tell you about acoustics in theaters..sound it meant to go THAT WAY (points to us)". "When it comes back towards us it sounds like Charlie Browns parents". "Floaty" is sung by Petra and its really beautiful. "Big Me" follows and is a quick and to the point version. Dave just said that with 11 years worth of song some of them just "work" in this forum.

"What if I do" made its live performance debut. Dave botched the intro twice but the rest went swimmingly.

When he introduces Taylor they talk about his "stick spinning skills" ala "ricki rocket" (poison). Taylor and Dave have some fun banter and Taylor takes lead on "Cold Day". This is a real foot stomper. Taylor just can't hit the drums lightly. Its acoustic driven but its a very rocking.

Dave talks about "Skin and Bones" as being his "Bon Jovis Wanted Dead or Alive", he said "we need a song like that..cuz those are massive!". "Miracle" is dedicate to his four month old daughter who is backstage and will "probably have nightmares after hearing this". "Times like These" wrapped up the main set. The the did not slow down and Dave just said "we have this one last one..thank you". In the end the audience that remained in their seats shot up with a thunderous roar.

For the encore Dave, once again was alone on stage. He did a long intro the song "Friend of a Friend". He talked about how he was in a hardcore band in D.C and they went out on tour and the bassist left so they were stuck. Dave said he met someone that told him a band in Seattle had seen him play and wanted him to audition. This band was Nirvana. Dave told the story of how he met the guys and one was over 6 feet tall, the other was really short and never spoke. He thought they were "weird". He also told how the town that Krist (bassist in Nirvana) lived in stunk so badly due to the paper mills. He said "boil broccoli in your house and then shit in the water and you get the idea of how bad it stinks". After this story goes on (which was really funny) he said this was the first song he wrote on an acoustic guitar and it was written about that time.

"Best of You" followed. Again Daves banter made this song all the better. He spoke of how "most of the time on the road I am screaming my head off, so this is kinda nice..but I miss screaming" so he does a pretty rocking version of the song. Again, he is totally solo on this.

"Everlong" ends up wrapping up the show. Dave starts it solo and the version is as perfect as one could imagine. About 1/2 way in to the song the whole band joins in for a massive collection of sound. It was mind blowing. They leave to a standing audience with smiles and waves. A hell of a show indeed.

Here is the Set list.
Over and Out
Walking After You
My Hero
Next Year
Another Round
See You
Big Me
What if I do
Cold Day
Skin and Bones
Times like These
E: Friend of a Friend
Best of You


At Wednesday, August 23, 2006 1:45:00 PM , Anonymous Jim said...

Great review for a great, great show.

At Wednesday, August 23, 2006 2:00:00 PM , Blogger Code Name: Ryan said...

Excellent. Similar tastes - makes for a good stew. Let's link out our blogs!

Regards -

At Wednesday, August 23, 2006 4:27:00 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great review of an excellent show! I caught the Foo Fighters acoustic show in DC and they were on fire!

At Wednesday, August 23, 2006 4:33:00 PM , Anonymous Jackson said...

Spot on review... Was in the orchestra pit. We stayed at the Tremont last night and decided to bar hop after the gig. Around 11:50 we happened on a group of about 30 waiting for the band at the stage entrance. After 10 min. Dave comes out and does a meet and greet. This guy is the most down to earth "rock star" you'll ever meet. We discussed grilling asparagus (I shit you not). A great time was had by all...
BTW you gonna release the show?

At Thursday, August 24, 2006 4:30:00 PM , Blogger The Guinness Tooth said...

Sounds like a pretty good show. If you're putting this show out for trade check out my list (link) over on my blog and let me know if there's anything you want, or we could b&p. Also, not to nag, but when are we gonna trade for the U2 show from october 4th?

At Thursday, August 24, 2006 5:33:00 PM , Blogger March to the Sea said...

i will try to do the U2 for you early next week..foos may take a bit longer.

At Monday, August 28, 2006 10:26:00 PM , Anonymous Steve said...

Are we going to see this show somewhere like or other taper friendly (and mp3 unfriendly) site? BTW, my wife took a few pictures at the show. See link.


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