Laughing, 'Learning To Fly' and Lumbersexuals: Foo Fighters at the Moda Center

Vortex Music Magazine

Happy to be back in the city where they played their first public gig, the Foos brought opener Gary Clark Jr. and Nirvana's Krist Novoselic to the Rose City along with hours of hits and entertainment—find the whole set list below. Photos by John Alcala

All hail the throne: Foo Fighters' Dave Grohl at the Moda Center on Sept. 14, 2015—click to see an entire gallery of photos by John AlcalaAll hail the throne: Foo Fighters' Dave Grohl at the Moda Center on Sept. 14, 2015—click to see an entire gallery of photos by John Alcala

Whether he was chewing gum and hawking loogies between lyrics; calling an amply endowed beardo a “lumbersexual;” cracking jokes about what beer Portlanders drink, yoga and co-ops, or working at Dante’s; rewarding literally the tallest man in the audience with the opportunity to pick the next song (he chose “Hey, Johnny Park!”); commiserating with “the struggle” of all the men in the Foo’s core demographic who now drive Honda Odyssey minivans; or raising goosebumps with the third song of the set (“Learn To Fly”—watch the classic music video below), Dave Grohl did it all perched upon his Iron Throne of rock and roll. The Break A Leg Tour has afforded Grohl a seated position, one that’s forced him to furiously match the constant, energetic head-banging and wild, flailing appendages of drummer Taylor Hawkins.

Still, there’s no rest for any of the Foos as they powered through over two and a half hours during a 23-song (plus change) set featuring multiple Van Halen covers alongside Queen, The Kinks and other classic rock snippets (including Pat Smear taking on MTV’s Moon Landing Theme Song) for a crowd that never sat down during the entire performance.

Grohl proclaimed that “all roadies lead to Portland" before dedicating a downtempo rendition of “Big Me,” where everyone in the audience held up their lighters (or cellphone screens), to the Foo’s resident Stumptown native, guitar tech Sean Cox, for this 50th birthday. As Grohl wheeled around in his guitar neck-adorned throne, Smear found time to wrangle the bras that flew onstage while also taking a smoke break during Grohl’s extended solo on “Outside,” one that featured him grinding his guitar on his plastic cast. And all the while, Grohl’s ex-Nirvana bandmate Krist Novoselic sat side stage the whole show tweeting up a storm, ultimately proclaiming the Foos: “The best band in the world!”

Plenty in the Moda Center crowd were visibly excited to catch opener Gary Clark Jr. on the big stage, and he brought his emotive, hard-rollin’ blues. Finishing it all off with a wailing guitar solo that sent shivers down your spine to close out the set, Portland is sure to come out in force for his upcoming solo date at the Roseland on April 14.

From left to right: Chris Shiflett, Rami Jaffee, Nate Mendel, Dave Grohl, Taylor Hawkins and Pat Smear at the Moda Center on Sept. 14, 2015—click to see a whole gallery of photos by John AlcalaFrom left to right: Chris Shiflett, Rami Jaffee, Nate Mendel, Dave Grohl, Taylor Hawkins and Pat Smear at the Moda Center on Sept. 14, 2015—click to see a whole gallery of photos by John Alcala

As the set came to an end, Grohl was reminded that they’d skipped our town for the past seven years. Expressing sincere thanks for all the support that the band have received over the years, all is easily forgiven after all the laughs and hits offered up on a Monday night. And it also helps to be reminded that the Foo Fighters were back in the city where they played their first club show: March 3, 1995, at Satyricon with The Presidents of the United States of America opening.

Set List:
“All My Life”
“Times Like These”
“Learn To Fly”
“Something From Nothing”
“The Pretender”
“Big Me”
“Congregation”
“Walk"
Cover snippets during band introductions: Chris Shiflett vs. Van Halen’s “Eruption” and “Ain't Talkin' 'Bout Love” / Rami Jaffee vs. Neil Young’s “Cinnamon Girl” / Nate Mendel vs. Queen’s “Another One Bites The Dust” / Pat Smear vs. MTV’s Moon Landing Theme Song
“Cold Day In The Sun”
“My Hero”
“White Limo”
“Arlandria”
“Outside”
“Breakout”
“This Is a Call”
“Hey, Johnny Park!”
“Monkey Wrench”
“Under Pressure” (Queen feat. David Bowie cover)
“Ain't Talkin' 'Bout Love” (Van Halen cover)
“Panama” (Van Halen cover)
“You Really Got Me” (The Kinks cover)
“Best of You”
“Everlong”

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