MSG PhotosTo The Tune of “Everlong” – Foo Fighters Breathe Life Back Into Madison Square Garden / June 20, 2021 Debra Kate Schafer June 21, 2021 Concerts, Reviews Ears ringing? Us, too. Don’t start Googling your symptoms, though, because we have the answer: Foo Fighters put on the most superb, rowdy, and necessary rock and roll show last night, and while it surely left all attendees in a state of physical and mental shock after all this time without live music, it was also the medicine we all needed. “HELLO, I’VE WAITED HERE FOR YOU – EVERLONG” Over two decades ago, Foo Fighters released “Everlong” as the second single to 1997’s The Colour and the Shape. Last night, as Foo Fighters took the stage at Madison Square Garden, the 24-year-old lyrics to “Everlong” rang truer than ever before. Until last night, June 20, 2021, the last full capacity concert held at Madison Square Garden was in March 2020. For over 15 months, arguably the most famed and beloved arena was void of virtually all live music. New York City has seen more than a number of notable tragedies, including the pausing of all in-person events and pop culture entities due to a raging global pandemic, but none of it has shaken their spirit. The Big Apple is still the Big Apple, regardless of who is ready to believe that and experience it’s artistic and historical wonders first hand. How do we know that? By the fact that Foo Fighters not only completely sold out the first real concert that the city has seen in over a year, but at the energy the sold out crowd brought to said concert. The thrill of live music is something that can’t be replaced, even with the aid of streaming services and smart devices. Sure, many of us found solace in these outlets over the last year, connecting with fans and artists around the globe through social media and things of the like for a sense of normalcy, but actual normalcy is brushing shoulders with people screaming the lyrics of a hit rock song right back to the artist on stage while your shoes stick to beer-coated floors and a whiff of marijuana burns your nostrils between every set (at the very least). Nobody expected to miss those questionable sensations, but after waiting so long for a night like yesterday’s, it was clear that they did. It was evident in the way fans of all ages crammed together in the stands of MSG to air-guitar along to their favorite Foo Fighters song and pump their fists in the air. We really did miss all of that. The buildup to this clearly desirable, monumental, and exultant event, as well as the simple (yet not so simple) return of live music, was immense. Ticketmaster crashed during pre-sale (Yes, pre-sale, not even general sale.) and still sold out The Garden like it was nothing. Good Morning America was highlighting the performance leading up to the reopening night, making a note of the literal headline-making event in the news scroll at the bottom of their screen. Not to mention that the possibility of another set of anti-vaccine protestors stopping by the Manhattan venue did not phase fans lining up outside or those buying tickets off resale sites even the day-of. Anti-vaxxers had taken to the streets surrounding the Foos’ show last week (5,000 people – seemingly the dress rehearsal for Rock Returns) in Agoura Hills, California. NYC fared a bit better. Photo by MSG Photos “TONIGHT, I THROW MYSELF INTO, AND OUT OF THE RED” Just minutes after the clock struck 8:00p.m, the Foos took the stage at Madison Square Garden for almost 20,000 people. Having been in attendance, we can say for certain that every person at the show was there for a reason. The audience came to the show with a purpose, and whether or not that purpose was to see Dave Grohl sweat bullets two songs into the setlist or to feel like life was getting back on the right track, there was one. For the Foo Fighters themselves, their purpose was to entertain in the way they know how: rock out like it’s nobody’s business. “Here we go, mother fuckers,” Grohl exclaimed, clearly overjoyed to no longer be muted on Zoom calls and emphasizing the need to let loose in the physical reality. He kicked off the monumental concert with that brash, but needed sentiment – but only after spending a few minutes staring at the first packed house he has seen in well over a year and letting the radiant electricity of the mutual excitement fill his every bone. It was after that that rock officially returned to Madison Square Garden. From solemn to sensational, “Times Like These” opened the show slowly, but surely, setting the stage with energy without forgoing the understanding of just how we got to this place after all this time. We didn’t learn to walk or talk again, as the lyrics state, but we did learn how to keep each other safe during a crisis – and now, in ‘times like these,’ we can take what we have learned and rejoice. “OUT OF HER HEAD, SHE SANG” If someone who attended the Rock & Roll Returns To The Garden show claims that they didn’t leave the venue with shaking legs from bouncing floors, ringing ears from high-decibel guitar solos, and a sore throat from belting out Foo Fighters song after Foo Fighters song, they’re lying. Had we all not sat on WebMD for the last year straight, you know that we would’ve gone straight to that heinous website to search for our symptoms and subconsciously plan our funerals to the tune of “My Hero.” Luckily, we know better now. There is no way to truly diagnose yourself over the Internet and the only way into the MSG show was with proof of vaccination. Therefore, we suggest you blame your symptoms on Grohl’s neverending screeches and his backup singer’s legitimately minutes-long high notes. That’s what we’re doing. (Will ‘The Nicest Guy In Rock’ pay for our post-concert Tylenol? We’ll let you know. He is the one that shouted into the microphone, “I hope y’all don’t got work tomorrow, because this is gonna be a long fucking night” not even halfway through the concert.) Rock Returns featured an extensive, career-spanning setlist that had the Foo Fighters clocking out of their non-stop performance after a solid three hours. Not without exclusive moments made special for the historic event, though. Taylor Hawkins, one of the fiercest drummers in the modern rock genre and who Dave Grohl dubbed his “mother fucking twin flame,” is known for his mid-show belting of Queen’s “Somebody To Love.” It’s practically a staple at a Foo Fighters concert, but nobody will ever be upset about that. There is exponential power in Hawkins’ voice that lends a hand to the well-known Freddie Mercury crooner and pays tribute to the theatrical rock stars before him. Although you can never have too much Foo in your Fighters, a cover song breaks up the concert in a symbolic and exhilarating way. Nothing was quite as symbolic or exhilarating as Dave Chapelle’s onstage cameo, though. The unfiltered, incisive comedian lived out a rock and roll fantasy alongside the band and in front of the sold out audience last night. Grohl’s second favorite celebrity Dave – Chapelle – helped make the show memorable and “special” by belting out Radiohead’s “Creep” for a surprisingly haunting and intimate performance. How many people can say that they have seen comedian Dave Chapelle cover Radiohead’s biggest hit with soon-to-be-inducted Rock and Roll Hall of Fame band Foo Fighters backing him? Not many – just the fully-vaccinated music lovers at the June 20, 2021 reopening of live music at Madison Square Garden. View this post on Instagram A post shared by Foo Fighters (@foofighters) “IF EVERYTHING COULD EVER FEEL THIS REAL FOREVER. IF ANYTHING COULD EVER BE THIS GOOD AGAIN…” Over the last 15 months, the last thing expected was for 100% capacity, in-person concerts to return, but thanks to vaccination research and records, as well as bands being more than willing to share their craft with fans once again, we’re at that point. The world is returning to long lines for overpriced beer, even longer waits for public bathrooms, and arguments over just how well people know Dave Grohl’s career. (“Nirvana drummer, Foo Fighters founder, DeeGees frontman? Name three songs from each project – now!” Statements like these were heard at the show as a sea of fans donning Foo Fighters merchandise, the occasional Nirvana shirt, and even a rogue DeeGees hat were entering and exiting the arena.) With a red Solo cup in one hand, his signature blue electric guitar in the other, a whole lot of profanity to say and even more songs to sing, Dave Grohl was having the time of his life. Hundreds – probably thousands – of live shows into his career and this felt like the peak. In his own, genuinely humbled words, “How many times can a band say they reopened the fucking Garden?” Let alone be able to rip into one of their many greatest hits to solely adoring, too? Not a lot! The whole band was thrilled, exuberant, and grateful to play 24 songs on stage for fans pseudo-post-pandemic. Without being politically or socially in-your-face, the band honored and thanked the people who got them, and us, this far along in the COVID-19 pandemic. Hinting at both first responders and pro-vax maskers, the iconic group slid effortlessly into “My Hero,” which let the audience practically begin to secrete their own appreciation for these people through hardcore jamming and singing along to the four-and-a-minute track. “THE ONLY THING I’LL EVER ASK OF YOU, YOU’VE GOT TO PROMISE NOT TO STOP WHEN I SAY WHEN” That’s the thing, the Foo Fighters never stop. You never see them out of breath. You never catch them slacking off. You never hear a song that isn’t legendary. This band was on another level last night and, in our opinion, were the most appropriate act to bring live music back to the corner of 33rd and 8th. Not many bands go as hard or as long, or have as much fun, as the Foos. Their not one, not two, but three song encore proved that yet again. Ever the tease, Grohl toyed with the audience while backstage with Hawkins, asking through the live camera feed if they should come back for one more song…. Or maybe two…. Or maybe three. The lightheartedness of it all felt so true, like they really didn’t have three songs already written into their setlist to close the show and that it honestly was all up to the amount of screams, cheers, whoops, claps, and stomps that the audience admitted. (They’re hams for the camera, though, which also explains why Grohl sarcastically, but still expertly, left out introducing Hawkins when highlighting the band members on stage.) On top of performing one of their newest songs, off February’s Medicine At Midnight, and, of course, “Everlong,” the band got down to disco-era BeeGees. Yes, a band known for long-haired headbanging and solidifying alternative rock in the mainstream tried their hand at “You Should Be Dancing,” the hit from Saturday Night Fever. We can’t quite say they tried their hand at it, though, as the group’s alter egos are apparently disco rock legends known now as The DeeGees. Through emulating and covering one of their favorite bands, this new band took on a whole new persona, of which was unveiled especially for the Rock Returns concert goers. We’re serious when saying that Dave Grohl could single-handedly revive the disco movement with the highest vocal register we have ever heard from him and a surprisingly distinguished falsetto – and we wouldn’t even complain. The DeeGees have an album dropping in July for Record Store Day, so when we say disco-era, we mean the disco-era where physical copies of music were not just all-the-rage, but all you really had to get down to your favorite groovy tunes. Somehow, a whole year-and-a-half into the 2020s, this rock group was able to bring all of that back to life. Experiencing Saturday Night Fever on a Sunday night in 2021 during a pandemic? Who would have thought! Foo Fighters had multi-colored strobe lights bouncing around the iconic, flared Madison Square Garden ceiling while a disco ball came down the stage. Fans stopped moshing around the entirely general admission floor of the arena to try their hand at John Travolta’s famed moves as seen in the 1977 cult classic. Oh, and it’s hard not to mention that because they couldn’t get the actual BeeGees to the show as another set of special guests, Taylor Hawkins’ drum kit featured the face of Barry Gibb. (Foo Fighters’ immensely skilled guitarist Chris Shiflett has an Ace Frehley sticker on his guitar, too, and while that has always been there, it makes us wonder if the former KISS member was present for the show being not just a musician, but a local right over the bridge in New Jersey!) All in all, the Foo Fighters made Madison Square Garden, New York, and fans around the world proud at the Rock & Roll Returns To The Garden event last night. The band, who is going on their 27th anniversary, reopened the renowned venue’s doors to a sold out, vaccinated, energetic, grateful, and pulsing crowd, possibly made their mark has having the loudest show at the venue ever, and showed the masses that with a little help from our friends (Pfizer / Modnera – not Lennon / McCartney), nights like these can happen once again. For a show like this one, we would’ve waited ‘everlong’… and then some. Leave a Reply Cancel ReplyYour email address will not be published.CommentName* Email* Website Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment.