Even though we’d driven all the way from Queensland just a few days ago, the drive from Glen’s house in Lyndhurst seemed long. Traffic held us at a slow pace, cars full of fans bottlenecked into Geelong. We were anxious to get there and see what this true band of the ages, The Foo Fighters had in store for us. They’d not been to Australia since 2018 and this show was a surprise announcement.
The cloud cover was thick and grey, which made us think that the weather man might have been right, it really did look as though 20 to 40mm of would fall on GMHBA stadium and drench us. We walked through the blocked streets of Geelong to get to the stadium and our excitement built. Memories of past gigs came back. Black t-shirts and others who love to rock lined up. COVID had made it a long time between gigs and we’d all missed it more than we realised.
GMHBA stadium certainly looked the part. Precious turf was protected by hard plastic temporary tiles, creating The Pit. Huge black stage three massive screens and lighting towered over the ground. Rows and rows of seats bordered The Pit.
The Meanies and then Amyl and the Sniffers showed us their best. Old style rock rang out. They put their full energy into it but we knew that compared to the famous elephant sized act that was coming next, these bands were mice. During their performances, light rain was constant enough to dampen the air and our clothes and as the sun went away the air felt fresher. More people joined the crowd until finally, there were more bodies than gaps between them. Rain came more steady, some covered themselves with ponchos, while others braved the wet, wearing their Foo Fighters t-shirts from now and years gone by, some choosing to represent different rock bands that we all knew and loved.
The stage stayed black with the shadowy movement of roadies, who were making the stage worthy of the greats. The diversity of ages in the crowd, kids through to twenty something’s, through to people who’d been grey for years, reminded me of what I’d seen at an AC/DC concert years ago. There aren’t too many bands that are solid enough that so many love them. The Foo Fighters are well and truly one of them. They had been a band for 26 years now. Ben and I, like so many, had followed this fantastic evolution.
When finally at about 8:40pm, Dave Grohl led his band onto the stage. Our mate, Glen said loudly, “Geez, he’s a magnificent bastard, isn’t he?” Ben and I could do no more than agree. Yes, he and this amazing band are absolutely magnificent. They made sure we believed it as they warmed up their vocal cords and instruments with the famous lyrics of ‘Times Like These’. Hit after hit flowed, satisfying old school pub songs, drinking songs and driving songs that made everyone raise their hands, clap or scream out.
For two and a half hours, the rain no longer mattered. Everyone was out of lockdown and this was a celebration of having some sort of normalcy. Dave Grohl explained how he’d been waiting to come back and how desperate he was to make The Foo Fighters the first big band to rock the Aussie’s again. During performances of great songs like Monkey Wrench, The Sky is a Neighbourhood, Learn to Fly, All My Life and Best Of You, these legends bought out the best in all who watched. Much loved drummer Taylor Hawkins, even came out from behind to drums, giving his sticks over to Dave, while he sung a Queen classic. He did it so well. The female back up singers added class to the show. Lighting and big screens shined across the rain. We all jumped around, admired and sung until our throats hurt.
As we pushed out way out of GMHBA stadium, we were crammed together like pickles in a jar. The smokey reminence of the fireworks that ended the show hazed sky above us. We looked like drowned rats, we were cold and the walk back to the car was uncomfortable but none of it mattered because we had witnessed something incredible. Not only was it the magic of one of the world’s biggest rock bands but it was the rebirth of freedom. We were allowed to stretch our wings again, shake off the last couple of years and forget the uncertain future for a while.
Stars like Jimmy Barnes and members of the band Motor Ace reportedly joined the audience. Now more people will get to see this filmed highlights online. Foo Fighters will be back in Australia in November, until then and beyond, we will listen their music Everlong.