Foo Fighters has been on my hit list to see live for a long time and when it was announced a few months ago that they would come to South Africa, I and many others were ecstatic.
Our concert experience began with the efficient park and ride system and as usual the city did a great job organizing transport to the stadium. The first bus arrived at five p.m. and ten minutes later we were at the stadium. The gates were scheduled to open at five o’ clock but attendees were straining in the sun for almost an hour after the gates were supposed to open. Once inside, people rushed to the concert area, beer tents and merchandise stands. The atmosphere was exciting even before a note was played. Soon after, local band, BLK JKS started the night’s proceedings. We were located in the general standing area and the sound was not good. All you heard was bass and the vocals were mostly inaudible.
Maybe it is inexperience at playing such a large venue but BLK JKS performance, while intense did not resonate well with the crowd. Bad sound also prevented people from connecting to music they were unfamiliar with. They played well but terrible sound and lack of skill working an audience stopped them from creating an impression. However, they surprised us when François van Coke and Arno Carstens joined them on stage for a couple of songs.
Kaiser Chiefs were next. They too suffered from poor sound but gave a memorable performance. Chiefs are more experienced on stage and did a better job of preparing the crowd for the Foo Fighters. Their songs are more anthemic and conducive to stadium sing alongs, an important factor in swaying a big crowd.
Just after nine p.m. the Foo Fighters came on stage and ripped through ‘All My Life’. A slew of popular tracks followed including brilliant renditions of ‘Rope’, ‘The Pretender’, ‘Learn to fly’, ‘White limo’, ‘Arlandria’, ‘My Hero’, ‘Monkey Wrench’ and the list goes on. By this point the crowd was in frenzy, enjoying musical “nirvana”. The band is known for long concerts and after playing nearly three hours they showed their worth as titans of rock.
From the start Dave’s charisma and heartfelt dialogue won the crowd over. He admitting that the band had to make up for not visiting our shores sooner. Their performance was aggressive, powerful and filled with excitement. The sound was a major disappointment but the band could not be chastised for giving a poor showing. After three hours we were bruised and sore but overjoyed that we had the chance to witness this legendary band in action.
Images courtesy of Big Concerts