FOO FIGHTERS, O2 Arena – Evening Standard, 20 Sept 2017

What Dave Grohl called “our London record release party” did feel less momentous than his band’s delayed, long awaited Glastonbury headline set this summer, or the Wembley Stadium shows that never were in 2015 – cancelled when the frontman broke his leg. But as parties go, this was a belter.

Like all the finest gatherings, it was loud, long and featured an eleventh hour cameo from Rick Astley, who delivered a punked up version of Never Gonna Give You Up as he had at a Japanese music festival last month. “Dreams do come true!” Astley yelled to the Rickrolled crowd.

Over two decades on, it’s hard to believe that Grohl and guitarist Pat Smear were ever in a band, Nirvana, that made such heavy weather of success. Being in the same room as people who plainly love their job was infectious. That sense of a group having played all of their key songs and grinding towards an obvious encore never came. Grohl really seemed like he would carry out his threat to play all night.

A new album, Concrete and Gold, should hit number one tomorrow and offered some fresh textures to the set. Three female backing vocalists sang Beatles-esque harmonies on The Sky is a Neighbourhood. Dirty Water was gentler, less strident. Run was simply berserk, lurching from balladry to thrash metal in an instant.

Who knows how long they’d have to play to outstay their welcome. This was a curfew worth breaking.

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