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Foo Fighters Surprise Show in Hollywood


Foo Fighters surprise show in Hollywood
By Russ Allsup

About a week before this event happened on Aug. 26th, it was announced that there would be a free show by Chevy Metal, the side band of the Foo Fighters drummer Taylor Hawkins, as part of a promotion for the Foo Fighters big Cal Jam music festival. It would be free and open to the public, where anyone would have a chance to buy a Cal Jam ticket with no service fees. As a Chevy Metal fan who’d seen the band several times before and loved them, it sounded great to me. They’re one of the funnest, best party bands out there and it’s been a blast every time I’ve seen them. The ad for the show also said that Chevy Metal would be playing with another band- The Holy S***ts, who for the diehard fans, knew was a code name for the Foo Fighters when they play surprise shows in smaller venues. When I read that they were also playing I knew that it was shaping up to be an epic show.

It was perfect for me- Chevy Metal had earlier announced another show they’d be playing but it would be in Anaheim, and I didn’t want to make that drive. A show by them in Hollywood would be perfect- only 20 minutes away from where I lived. The day before the show there was a big snag in my plans. It was announced, after first saying it would be a free show for anyone, that people that already had a Cal Jam ticket or that would buy one the day of the Palladium show, would get a ‘Fast Pass’ to see the show at the Palladium. It was a smart and shrewd move by the Foo Fighters but a little surprising and left a few people feeling like it was a bit of false advertising at first because they had said at the beginning that it was a free show, first come first served, with no strings attached. I was pretty bummed because I didn’t have a Cal Jam ticket and I was certain that once people found out that The Holy Shits (aka The Foo Fighters) would be playing, there wouldn’t be any hope that people without Cal Jam tickets would be able to get in. So I went ahead and made the decision the night before to buy a Cal Jam ticket and get in line in the morning to make sure I got in to see the show. The Palladium only holds 3500 so I figured I’d have to get there in the morning or wouldn’t see what was going to be an amazing show by two bands I love.

So after buying my ticket I went to bed and got up at 6:30 am, then jammed down to the Palladium and got in line, where I was about the 40th person there. It was a long hot day during the wait. Found out that the show would be in the parking lot, and during the wait everyone already there couldn’t believe there weren’t more people in line. When they started letting people into the show area, I’d say there were maybe 250 of us there for the show. During the wait, I had customized my white tshirt with a black Sharpie into a Chevy Metal shirt and it actually turned out half good. While in line a couple of my friends, James and Bill had joined me and we all ended up right up front. As a matter of fact I had a GREAT spot for the show- right on the barricade on he right side, exactly in front of where Pat Smear would be playing in a little bit. After waiting in the sun for 8 hours to get into the concert area, it was another 2 hour wait before Chevy Metal played. I was hot and thirsty, but with the spot I had secured for the show who cared about the heat.

FINALLY Chevy Metal hit the stage and were great as always. Since I was up in the very front, during the wait for the band I had made a couple of cue cards on the back of some free Cal Jam poster cards that I was given. I put a song request on the blank side of each poster- one read ‘PLAY LIVE WIRE PLEASE’, another said ‘PLAY SHEER HEART ATTACK’, and the last one said ‘PLAY AC/DC PLEASE’. These were songs that I’d heard them play before and that I loved. It was kind of funny- between songs I’d hold up different cards like a cue card guy on a tv show. The guys in the band saw the cards but they already had a planned out setlist. It was another great show by them- Just upbeat party cover songs that completely rocked. They played songs like Jailbreak, My Sharona, Miss You, and other fun rock songs. It was a half hour set, and towards the end they played Queen’s ‘Tie Your Mother Down’, joined by Foo Fighter members Pat Smear and Chris Shiflett. The very next song, they announced that their was a special guest. Taylor Hawkins said it was his mentor and idol. I thought he was joking around and that Dave Grohl would come out. But the surprise knocked me on my butt. Out walked Queen drummer Roger Taylor! So damned cool and such a great surprise. Couldn’t believe I was only about 20 feet from one of the coolest drummers ever. He joined the band for the Queen song ‘Under Pressure’, with Taylor Hawkins on vocals along with Chevy Metal bassist Wiley Hodgdens taking the other vocal part of the song, while Foo Fighters bassist Nate Mendel played bass, and Foos keyboard player Rami Jaffee joined in on keys. It was just such a fun, cool moment and such a great surprise. Hard to believe that it could get any better, but it did. Next, after Roger Taylor left the stage, Dave Grohl joined Chevy Metal plus the other members of the Foo Fighters onstage for a jaw dropping version of The Faces classic song ‘Stay With Me’. I’d seen Dave Grohl plenty of times in concert over the years but never this full of energy- he was rocking out like someone who’d just watched Angus Young play. He was just pumped up as hell to play, and you knew it was going to be a great concert.

After ‘Stay With Me’, the Chevy bassist and guitarist for Chevy Metal exited the stage and it was time for a full on Foo Fighters show. I started seeing the Foo Fighters back on their first album tour back in ’95 and had seen them a few times since then, but this was probably the best show I’ve seen them play. It was almost like they knew they’re at a point where they don’t feel like they’re cutting edge or what younger people might consider a great band now or they’ve sold out. It seems like they took a look at themselves and decided to get beck to their roots and embraced the garage band attitude. While this may not be true for the band or younger folks, for me, the last time I saw the Foo Fighters it was a great show, but I was kind of ‘over them’. It was kind of like U2 and alot of other rock bands that have a long run of success- after awhile it’s like the band are repeating themselves and almost on auto pilot. The Foos have managed to stay relevant over the years and have just gotten bigger and bigger. But for me I was a little burnt out on them. This show changed that and they showed a desire to keep pushing it and play like it was World War 3. Pretty much their whole set was the edgier, heavier songs- a set that longtime Foo Fighter fans would dream of seeing. They played only one of the hits and it was the song they closed the show with- ‘Everlong’. Every single person that witnessed this show was left exhausted, blown away and in a state of rock and roll induced bliss. Hard to believe, but this was a band in peak form over 20 years after first coming on the scene.

They aren’t going thru the motions- it’s more like they’ve got something to prove. That they’re the best all around rock band out there. At least at this surprise show, it was mission accomplished.

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