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October 6, 2022

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Concert review:

Foo Fighters rock on long into the night at ‘the house of Gaga’

Foo Fighters at Park MGM

Courtesy of Park MGM/Al Powers

Foo Fighters perform at Park MGM Thursday, Dec. 2, 2021.

Foo Fighters at Park MGM

Foo Fighters perform at Park MGM Thursday, Dec. 2, 2021. Launch slideshow »

About four songs into the Foo Fighters concert Thursday night at Park MGM, frontman Dave Grohl, guitar still in hand, picked up a bottle of water and poured it over his head.

If anyone thought the rinse cooled off the iconic rocker, boy were they wrong.

He and his bandmates were just heating up on their way to nearly three hours of high-energy rock ‘n’ roll.

The Foo Fighters — the band that Grohl formed more than a quarter century ago — were at the Dolby Live Theater at Park MGM for the first of two shows this weekend. And if the Foo Fighters hold to form, tonight’s show will be every bit as long, every bit as loud and every bit as entertaining as Thursday’s concert.

They pulled songs from throughout their immense catalog — “Here’s the thing, we have 647 songs to play tonight,” Grohl joked. While the Foo Fighters didn’t exactly meet that lofty number, their 20-plus-song set included pieces that stretched from brand new (“Making a Fire,” “No Son of Mine” and “Shame, Shame” from the 2021 album “Medicine at Midnight”) to the group’s early days (“This is a Call” from their self-titled 1995 debut album).

In between, the band performed a laundry list of their hits, including “The Pretender,” “All of My Life” and “Monkey Wrench.”

Setlist

Bridge Burning

Run

Making a Fire

The Pretender

Learn to Fly

No Son of Mine

The Sky Is a Neighborhood

Shame Shame

Breakout

My Hero

These Days

Walk

Somebody to Love (Queen cover)

All My Life

La Dee Da

This Is a Call

You Should Be Dancing (Bee Gees cover)

Times Like These

Aurora

Best of You

Monkey Wrench

Everlong

They also did a couple of covers: “You Should Be Dancing,” which they performed as the Dee Gees (Grohl said he called Barry Gibb of the Bee Gees, but Gibb wasn’t available for the show), and Queen’s “Somebody to Love,” in which drummer Taylor Hawkins took over the singing while Grohl took his seat behind the drums.

But for the most part, the Foo Fighters stuck to their bread and butter. “We’re just a raw rock ‘n’ roll band,” Grohl said.

After an extended version of “Learn to Fly,” a wild-eyed Grohl screamed to the audience, “Do you love rock ‘n’ roll! Las Vegas loves rock ‘n’ roll!”

Part of Grohl’s schtick is to tell Foo Fighters audiences that the band is going to rock until they can’t rock any more. At one point he asked the weeknight crowd, “Any of you gotta work tomorrow?” then answering his own question, “Me too.”

As the show wore on he’d ask, “How many more songs should we play? One song? Two songs? … Seven songs?”

The concert coincided with band co-founder and bass guitarist Nate Mendel’s birthday. After song No. 22 (“Monkey Wrench”) Grohl remarked, “Nate is 53 years old … how many more songs do you think he can do?” (Grohl turns 53 himself next month.)

Another running commentary throughout the night involved Grohl gushing about how the Foo Fighters were honored to be playing in “the house of Gaga” — a nod to Lady Gaga and her highly successful ongoing residency at Dolby Live.

“I was here for Lady Gaga’s opening night,” Grohl recalled. “And let me tell you, I had to bring out the big guns (tonight) because this is Lady Gaga’s house!”

He encouraged the audience to sing out when they knew the words to the Foo Fighters’ songs, noting that “I saw Lionel Ritchie’s residency in Las Vegas, and I sang along to every song.”

The audience embraced the request on a litany of songs, but none so much on what has become the Foo Fighters’ post-COVID anthem, “Times Like These.” The band first released the song in 2002 and it rose to No. 12 on the U.S. charts. Interest in it picked up after BBC Radio 1 released a video version of the song performed by an all-star cast of singers in the early days of the pandemic. Then, the Foo Fighters performed it in November 2020 on “Saturday Night Live,” and the song’s near-iconic status was sealed.

A few songs later, Grohl reminded the crowd that the Foo Fighters “don’t do encores. We just (expletive) play til the show is over.” True to his word, after the 23rd song of the night (“Everlong”) and about 2 hours and 50 minutes after he first took the stage, Grohl raised his guitar in one hand high over his head and thanked the audience. The Foo Fighters gathered in a line at center stage, bowed, and walked off.