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Friday, June 29, 2012

Foo Fighters w/ Silversun Pickups @ Marcus Ampitheater

June 28, 2012

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"It's gonna be a long, fuckin' sweaty night," said a jubilant Dave Grohl, a few songs into Foo Fighters' long-anticipated return to Milwaukee. "We're gonna have to play double fuckin' XL."

Nevermind the fact that Thursday saw near-record heat and people were drenched in at least a couple layers of sweat. Like a wild force of nature, the Foo Fighters picked up steam to an unquenchable boiling point for nearly two and a half hours. There weren't many breaks between but the band—and crowd—were under such a spell of awe and emotion that no one was complaining. The catchy riffs were mouthwatering.

With countless years of experience, an award winning collection of albums chuck full of rock anthems, the Foo Fighters didn't have to worry about not having enough fuel to succeed. They began shortly after 9 p.m. with a version of "All My Life" that got people on their feet, a position most stayed as they danced, slammed their fists in the air and sung the lyrics with rabid intensity.

Feeding off this intensity, Dave Grohl stormed from stage left to right, making sure to give the whole amphitheater his attention. Raised on punk and classic rock, Grohl and company have certainly have taken their lessons to heart live, storming into the songs with precision, ferocity and working the crowd into a frenzy.

The set featured a career-spanning selection of hits and lesser-known songs, including a number from last year's Grammy-winning Wasting Light. Songs featured included "Times like These," The Pretender," "Dear Rosemary" and "Learn to Fly."

With some songs coming as far back as 1994, it's understandable to be a bit nostalgic. Grohl thanked the crowd several times, telling them how thankful he was of all the band's years together and that they were able to do things their way—even recording in Grohl's garage for Wasting Light.

There were also plenty of moments to joke around, too. Midway through the set the band took a break to member introductions with Grohl cracking jokes about each member and letting them play a few notes. Drummer Taylor Hawkins joked that while the crowd members have their own best friend his best friend is Dave Grohl. He followed that up with a pounding drum solo and got a chance to step into the spotlight with some solo vocals.

There were plenty of surprises during the set. The band broke into several short covers, including The Police's "Message in a Bottle" and Cheap Trick's "Surrender" (done by Grohl as a way to thank Cheap Trick's Rick Nielsen for letting him use his infamous checkered guitar). But it was covers of Pick Floyd's "In the Flesh?" and Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers' "Breakdown" that got the biggest ovation. Pink Floyd might not be the first band you'd expect the Foo Fighters to cover, but Hawkins and Grohl stormed through "In the Flesh?" in such a manner that all doubts went out the window right away. The crowd's ovation was even louder when the band's hit song "Best of You" slowly merged into a rousing version of Petty's "Breakdown."

Firing away on all cylinders through the night, the Foo Fighters opted to pass on the obligatory encore and play straight through to midnight. The band ended on a thunderous note with "Everlong," the anthem-like song getting the crowd riled up and sweaty one final time.

Opener Silversun Pickups didn't have the same intensity, and the sound system didn't help them, but they provided a crowd pleasing set of songs and also some humorous banter between band members.