CONCERT REVIEW: Foo Fighters in Champaign

Posted: Nov. 10, 2017 11:00 am Updated: Nov. 10, 2017 11:23 am

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Preeminent rock band Foo Fighters brought their "Concrete and Gold Tour" to the heart of the Land of Lincoln, appearing Wednesday night at the State Farm Center in Champaign.

With a history of more than two decades, the Foos carry a deep catalog of songs, and this show proved that they're out to make sure their fans walk away happy.

Kicking off the night was an opening set from British rockers the Struts. Bringing to mind the stage presence of Freddie Mercury and the sound of the heyday of glam rock, they brought the energy level up to a boil. Playing their hits like “Could Have Been Me” and “Put Your Hands Up,” they did their job as an opening act – getting the crowd ramped up for the headliner – with style and aplomb. I have no doubt that the Struts made a lot of new fans.

Then, the Foo Fighters kicked off their own rock marathon.

It seems like rock shows are getting longer in recent years, this year especially, with bands like Guns N' Roses doing more than three-hour sets. The Foos weren't quite that long, but playing 27 songs gets really close to that length.

Opening the set was a new single, “Run,” before kicking into earlier hits “All My Life” and “Learning to Fly.” Throughout the night, the setlist combined new tracks and hit singles along with a smattering of covers. The largest responses from the crowd came from the biggest hits, of course, but there was no loss of love for the new songs.

A few other highlights included the band pulling a fan from the crowd to sing a cover of Rush's “Tom Sawyer,” with both the band and the fan giving great performances.

During the band introductions, each member noodled around a little bit on something. Keyboard player Rami Jaffee played the opening of Van Halen's “Jump,” and the rest of the band tried to join in, but, as front-man Dave Grohl said, they might need to work on that before the next tour.

Closing the night out was a five-song encore that included covers of AC/DC's “Let There Be Rock” and a nod to the late, great Tom Petty with “Breakdown.” The show ended with the modern anthem “Everlong,” sending everyone home on a high note.

This band has been together in various forms for more than two decades, and the sound and stage-show prove that. The banter between Grohl and drummer Taylor Hawkins definitely rings true as two friends just having fun together. The songs were tight, and the energy didn't slow down at all during the near-three-hour set.

A couple of weeks ago, Foo Fighters announced this tour was extending into 2018. If you get the chance, make sure you don't miss out. You won't regret it.