Foo Fighters Rock Cleveland House of Blues Surprise Show In Exhilarating Fashion: Live Review

Foo Fighters
Danny Clinch Photography Studio
– Foo Fighters
Cleveland House of Blues Pop-Up Show on Oct. 28.

When little kids bash on tennis racquet guitars, tossing them aloft or euphorically downstroking, they often make speeches accepting awards – even entry into The Rock & Roll Fall of Fame. Fueled by innocence and freshly discovered passion for the endorphins (and sometimes girls) rock music delivers, it is easy to throw down with raw, unbridled joy.

But after hundreds of thousands of miles, tens of thousands often in vans, complications, frustrations and the inevitable roadblocks and disappointments, the jagged edges and posturing worship-me-stance that often creeps into arena-sized delivery seems inevitable. So seeing Dave Grohl, Taylor Hawkins, Pat Smear, Chris Shiflett, Nate Mendel and Rami Jaffee take the stage at Cleveland’s House of Blues with such raw exhilaration was to marvel at the sheer joy of playing that carries some bands straight through to their induction into the Rock Hall.
Billed as “a pop-up show,” laced with rumors Sir Paul McCartney might well pop-up and play, the Foo Fighters needed no unannounced guests – unless one counts superstar photographer Danny Clinch, blowing harp on “The Pretender” – to prove why they are one of the greatest rock & roll bands America has produced. From the thick meaty chords, the turbo-thrust of the rhythm section, the ability for each to solo as the momentum dictates and create a tether for the rest of the band to follow, they maintain a strong sense of why the garage is the ultimate place to come of age as a musician.
Ferocity ruled at the night, yet there was humor (the DeeGees’ bopping take on “You Should Be Dancing”), tenderness (the set opening “Aurora”) and the visceral  (“Best of You”). And there were many, many hits and best loved tracks — “Learn To Fly,” “Times Like These,” “All My Life,” “Breakout,” “Shame Shame” “The Sky Is A Neighborhood” – that demonstrated why the Foo Fighters have been one of the most dominant Alternative/Rock acts of the last quarter century. Playing with authority, there was never a need posture, nor a need to let go of the joy of jamming.
A cover of Queen’s “Somebody To Love” saw the whippet thin Hawkins come down front and Grohl head to the drums – with “Charlie RIP” scrawled on the kick – to turn in an ebullient, yet rocking take on the AOR classic. In their hands, what could be a tired or moribund cliché became another raison source celebre for the progressive rockers who draw from power pop, grunge, metal, blues and the music of their farflung youth. 

Foo Fighters
Danny Clinch Photography Studio
– Foo Fighters
Oct. 28, House Of Blues Cleveland.
Indeed, a cover of Mose Allison’s “Young Man’s Blues” offered an “Almost Famous” echo that not only reached back to roots, but suggested that central tension of youth and release.
Grohl, an impish front man with hair flying, transcends aging rock star cliches by tempering a genuine intensity with his pure love of the music. By the set-closing “Everlong,” with its sweeping tempos, its jackhammered places and its eternal circle of salvation in the music, Foo Fighters offered a coda for the true believers gathered to mark the Rock Hall arrival of the scrappy band. 
After more than two hours, tempos surging, the benediction for the lucky few swirled in the capacity HoB, “And I wonder when I sing along with you
If everything could ever feel this real forever
If anything could ever be this good again…”
Having marveled at the size of the room, then teasing the next time they see the fans it’ll be in a stadium with the Chili Peppers, it might not ever feel that way. 
Maybe the jamming, the solo tossing, the up close nature will be swapped for the larger rush of how massive the room, but somehow for the ones in the room, the intimacy will linger.