By M. Zulkifli
I've got another confession to make: there are nights when I would put on my headphones and watch that 2008 Foo Fighters Wembley performance of "Best Of You" on repeat. And I would get choked up from the sheer power and emotion of it all. And I often wondered what it'd be like one day to experience that moment myself. Well, I got my answer a couple of weeks ago at the National Stadium in Singapore. And then some.
But before that, this would be take two of my effort in catching Foo Fighters "live" in SG. A few years back, with a ticket bought and my flight booked, they had to cancel when Dave injured himself. I must admit I sulked for a while and laid off Foo Fighters music for a while : / But I never gave up hope...
And of course, the first time they came around was in 1996, and it's quite a coincidence that there's a brilliant picture of Dave eating satay at a Singapore food court, in the book I wrote, "The OAG Story". I remember when OAG frontman Radhi showed me the photo, I basically flipped out. One third of Nirvana eating satay?!! Holy smokes!
So yeah, it's been THAT long, and it's a fact that Dave referenced many times throughout the show on August 26th. A show that brought together some 25,000 die-hard fans (trust me on this), who were primed for some gloriously loud rock 'n' roll.
After putting on my obligatory black tee and jeans at the hotel, I made my way to the Lavender MRT station where hundreds of Foo fans had already converged around me. And by the time I reached the National Stadium, the party had begun.
"Standing B" was where I was inside, and I had a clear view of the stadium filling up. The lights then went out, and the crowd became palpably restless with anticipation.
At 8.05pm, Dave Grohl and the guys made their grand entrance and the crowd went absolutely berserk. "Heyyyyyyy!!!!" Dave growled. "We've got plenty of songs now."
And you know what? Dave "live" on stage is the Dave we've all known through interviews we've read and performances we've watched on TV. Just a f***** cool guy with a guitar and that hair. He's like that friend you used to jam with but is now world-famous. You actually feel you could just hang out with this dude having some drinks and, er, satay...
But of course, on stage, Dave, together with Pat Smear, Taylor Hawkins, Nate Mendel and Chris Shiflett were all business. And so was the crowd. Oh, man. As soon as Foo launched into "I'll Stick Around", the crowd instantly became loud, and the energy level never really let up for the next couple of hours.
It helped that Foo Fighters songs have stadium-friendly structures with beautiful beginnings, middles and ends. The buildup to the songs are met with a satisfying payoff each time a chorus is launched with maximum emotion.
Dave told us that they don't encores, and that the Foo Fighters would just rock out for two hours and tell us when they're done. But no one was looking at the time on a magical night such as this.
And yes, I got to find out what it'd be like to experience "Best Of You" with thousands of other Foo Fighter fans. I closed my eyes as Dave sang the opening lines, and soon it became an exercise of holding back my own tears.
But Mr Grohl himself wasn't spared the mini emotional breakdown. When he stopped mid-song for the expected relaunch into the first verse, the crowd started singing the "wooo ooo oo" refrain. It went on for a good few minutes and Dave could be seen burying his face in his hands trying not to get choked up.
They eventually finished the song, and for me at least, it was an emotionally-draining triumph.
"Usually this would be a great way to end," said Dave. But they had a couple more big jams to blast out, including the other much-awaited anthem, "Everlong". And so, after a solid 2hrs and 5mins, Foo Fighters took their bow, and the crowd cheered on and on and on...
The band promised it wouldn't take another couple of decades to return to the Lion City. I can't wait, obviously. But for now, the magic of THIS night will keep me smiling and believing for a good bit of time to come...
PS: The crowd never did stop singing "woo ooo oo"... I heard it went all the way to Geylang : )
I'll Stick Around
All My Life
Learn to Fly
Something From Nothing
Seven Nation Army / Stayin' Alive / Another One Bites the Dust / Fly Like an Eagle / Blitzkrieg Bop
(with band introduction)
Cold Day in the Sun
Times Like These
Best of You