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FOO FIGHTERS - London Wembley Arena - 22 Nov 2002   Print  E-mail 
Written by Mark Reed  
Tuesday, 14 September 2004
They'll stick around....

In America they call places like this Sheds. Big corrugated tin cans where the sound bounces off like a radar signature. You're herded into your seat, told to sit down and shut the fuck up like you're at school, and people treat you like a leper if you dare to try and enjoy yourself. Security guards shine torches in your eyes if you get up on your friends shoulders. They might throw you out into the rain if you dare ‘mosh' or  (according to the thoughtful notices posted all around the venue). Here, we're not human beings. We're cattle herded around and led to slaughter by light entertainment.

It's no place for Rock Music. Here the music we love, the music we live for, is just another bit of corporate entertainment shoved between The Tweenies christmas extravaganza and a standup comedian filming his latest pre-Christmas DVD. Music like this should be listened to in small rooms with low ceilings, arms and legs all over the place, and your head shoved in the speakers. Not at Wembley Fucking Arena, shoved in the arse of the world, hours from anywhere, and with overpriced-shirts and £3.50 bottles of warm, weak lager.

This is one of the many reasons we need big, shouty rock music in our lives. Seeing Dave Grohl screaming his way through songs takes the edge off the pissing rain and the shitty public transport. Though he lacks charisma as a front man, he makes up for this by rocking like an absolute bastard. Alongside his band of anonymous backing musicians, the Foo Fighters demolish every song they play with conviction and yet it seems to lack something.

The vital primal edge that made Dave's other band so important - the raw feeling that makes all great music seem as if it has to be made, as if its literally trying to claw its way out of its creator and cannot be contained any longer is missing - this isn't music that sounds like its escaped. It's not primal.

In a few year's time, our upcoming guitar heroes will be citing the Foo Fighters as the band that changed their lives. Seeing the Foos at their local Enormodrome will be there as a formative experience in the way that today's stars hail The Stone Roses, The Smiths, Van Halen or the mighty RAWK GODS Iron Maiden. But that don't make it ok - there's no such thing as alternative any more : as soon as there's even a sniff of talent the corporates try to muscle in, co-opt, absorb, dilute, package up and profit from.

It's all a bit Cheesy Rock. Dave goes out and works the crowd with a wireless guitar and does a massive solo whilst walking around the seated area. There's massive changable backdrops and call and response sections. There's even a little section of Rush's (don't ask) epic "2112" slotted into the middle of "This Is A Call" . And I haven't even mentioned the Manics riffs dotted all over "Have It All" and "Times Like These". But there's only One Way To Rock as the Halen said, and it's this way. Even if it is everything Dave set out to destroy when he joined Nirvana twelve years ago.

Great band. Shitty venue. Viva Stadium Metal. Viva Corporate Rock Whores.


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