Foo Fighters delivered a scintillating headline rock de force to close the opening day of Rock en Seine 2011.
The Dave Grohl-fronted, anthem-wielding behemoth stole an early march on weekend pretenders to their rock throne with a thesaurus-defying outstanding headline set, warming the cockles of a damp capacity Parisian crowd in the throes of an unseasonable late summer chill.
“We haven’t been to Paris for five years,” said Grohl, “so we’re gonna have to play a hell of a lot of songs to make it up to you!”
Wasting neither light nor time fulfilling that promise, the Foos bolstered into a deafening guitar triumvirate by the return of Pat Smear, ripped triumphantly through a thorough dissection of their 15-year back catalogue.
Segueing seamlessly between tracks from the archives, the band’s recklessly energetic abandon – driven relentlessly as ever by turbo tub-thumper Taylor Hawkins – confirmed their status as one of the great contemporary guitar bands, with both a hit record portfolio and performance ethic few can match.
Recent singles ‘Rope’ and ‘Walk’ garnished enthusiastic second language sing-alongs from the knowingly excitable Anglophile crowd, but as ever it was the staple classics ‘Learn to Fly’ and closing juggernaut ‘Everlong’ that really bought the chateau down.
“I’ve seen them eight times, and they just keep getting better”, said Vanessa Hargrave, 30, one of seemingly many Brits tempted over the border by the chance to catch the Foos in relatively (for them) intimate surroudings. “They didn’t disappoint, well worth the trip!”
The final word though has to belong to Grohl. From bounding on stage with the exuberant gusto of a pre-schooler, to duelling guitar solos with Chris Shiflett, the entire performance was a consummate display of stellar frontman showmanship.
As he said when introducing ‘Best of You’: “this is a great city and it’s been a great fuckin’ night!” Few would disagree, especially with the very best of Grohl destined to cast a very long shadow over the weekend’s remaining acts.