When they announced members of Rush and Queen would attend the Taylor Hawkins Tribute Concert, I knew I would attend no matter what (those groups had never been on a bill together). I was surprised and happy when Jill said she wanted to as well, so I’d made plans. I got shutout of the presale and regular sale, but went to a reseller for seats (in the highest section). The London show just made me more pumped, and I had made a playlist for us of what I guessed the LA would bring. When our tickets were scanned successfully, the anxiety melted away and I was ready for a show that would surpass all my expectations.
In London, Violet Grohl had come out late in the show to perform several Jeff Buckley songs. Right at 7PM, she came out first and played “Hallelujah”, a Leonard Cohen song Jeff Buckley had famously covered (with Eleven’s Alain Johannes). Then the Foo Fighters came out and introduced Joan Jett, along with drummer Travis Barker (from Blink-182). They did “Cherry Bomb”, a song from her first group The Runaways (the first all girl band) and “Bad Reputation” (I had called for “Bad Reputation” and “I Love Rock ‘N Roll”). Then the Foos left the stage, and as in London, we got sets from Taylor’s bands Chevy Metal & Taylor Hawkins and The Coattail Riders. Chevy Metal did a completely different set of covers, this time breaking out AC/DC’s “Riff Raff”, Yes’s “Owner Of A Lonely Heart” (with current Yes singer Jon Davison) and David Bowie’s “Heroes” (with Kesha, who’d covered T. Rex’s “Children Of The Revolution” at this point in London). The Coattail Riders were then up, with Justin Hawkins from The Darkness on vocals again. They did “Range Rover Bitch” and “It’s Over”, but then brought up Mark King from Level 42 to do his song “Something About You”. In a move I was surprised they didn’t do in London, drummer Rufus Taylor (son of Roger Taylor and current drummer for The Darkness) joined them for a great version of “I Believe In A Thing Called Love”.
Next was the James Gang, doing the same set as London (“Walk Away”, “The Bomber” & “Funk #49”) with Dave Grohl on the last song. Still a nice treat, as they’re only doing 3 reunion shows this year. Mark Ronson didn’t do Amy Winehouse’s “Valerie” like he did in London (he produced that song), instead throwing a cover of Gerry Rafferty’s “Right Down The Line” at us. Them Crooked Vultures was up, again covering Elton John’s “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road” and frontman Josh Homme’s own “Long Slow Goodbye”, but subbing in “Dead End Friends” instead of “Gunman” for their sole track of theirs. It was so nice to see them again – I saw them 3 times in 2009, but all before their album came out. Dave Grohl came out to introduce Mammoth WVH’s Wolfgang Van Halen and Justin Hawkins as they tore through Van Halen’s “Panama” (in for “On Fire” from London) and “Hot For Teacher”, all showing that while Wolfgang Van Halen was understandably reluctant to do any tribute to his dad, he is remarkably capable of doing so.
The middle section of the show (already 2 hours in) featured the Foo Fighters returning to the stage with different singers and drummers. The first guests brought the most press of the night, as Def Leppard’s Joe Elliot, Phil Collen & Rick Savage were joined by Weezer’s Patrick Wilson for “Rock Of Ages” (called it) and Photograph (thought they’d pour a little sugar instead). On the latter song Miley Cyrus came out to duet with Joe Elliot as a sea of phones were raised to record it. Derek Day came out and sang “Live Wire” and “Home Sweet Home” with Nikki Sixx & Tommy Lee from Mötley Crüe, then Josh Homme joined Elliot Easton from The Cars for “Shake It Up” and “Just What I Needed”. I had thought Nancy Wilson of Heart would have shown up play “These Dreams” (which she sings lead on), but instead they brought up P!nk and drummer Jon Theodore (from Queens of the Stone Age) for a run through “Barracuda”. Stewart Copeland did the same set with the Foos as London: “Next To You” and “Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic”, but on the latter Dave surrendered vocal duties to Jon Davison, back again. Seemingly the only act to not get an introduction, Chad Smith from the Red Hot Chili Peppers counted off “You Oughta Know” as Alanis Morissette flew in from the side of the stage. Finally Sebastian Bach (Skid Row), Geezer Butler (Black Sabbath) & Lars Ulrich (Metallica) joined for a run through some Black Sabbath classics: “Supernaut” and “Paranoid”.
The next part was my favorite. Jack Black strode onstage to introduce Rush. They played the same set as London: “2112 Part I: Overture”, “Working Man” & “YYZ”, but instead of Dave playing the first two on drums and Omar Hakim playing “YYZ”, Dave slid out and Chad Smith slid in between the first two, and Tool’s Danny Carey took over for “YYZ”. One of the rumors for the gig had been the possibility of a Nirvana reunion, since Joan Jett had sung for them at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and Krist Novselic was in the bill. Instead we got a taste of the I Am The Highway: A Tribute to Chris Cornell tribute concert from 2019 as Matt Cameron and Kim Thayil from Soundgarden were joined by Krist Novselic on bass with Taylor Momsen (from The Pretty Reckless) on vocals for “The Day I Tried To Live” and “Black Hole Sun”. Great stuff, and the first time I’d seen Krist Novselic (or Taylor Momsen). Then Queen came out with thunderous drums, as both Roger & Rufus Taylor were there, along with once again Justin Hawkins (surely the MVP for both shows) on “We Will Rock You” (a medley of slow and fast versions). Roger Taylor took lead on his “I’m In Love With My Car”, then Justin returned to duet with Roger on “Under Pressure”, and finally P!nk returned to take us through “Somebody To Love”. Everyone left but Brian May, and he told us how Alison Hawkins, Taylor’s wife, had asked for him to do “Love Of My Life” as it was their song. So he did it with help from all of us singing along.
It was after 11PM by this point, and finally time for the main event: Foo Fighters. They started with “All My Life” (with Josh Freese), then P!nk came back to duet on “The Pretender” (with Jon Theodore). Travis Barker returned to drum on “Walk”, and Matt Cameron came back for “Low” (Dave acknowledged the drum fill owed a debt to Soundgarden’s “Jesus Christ Pose”). Rage Against The Machine’s Brad Wilk filled the drum throne for “This Is A Call”, while Patrick Wilson was up again for the next two songs, starting with “The Sky Is A Neighborhood”. At this point in the London show, Paul McCartney came out unannounced. The surprise here was more out of left field, as the band started into Radiohead’s “Creep” and Dave Chappelle came out to sing it (in London he’d told stories of Taylor instead). The only mosh pit of the night started as Omar Hakim subbed in for “Run”. “Best Of You” was next as Rufus Taylor was back on drums (I really think he may be the next drummer for the Foos). Finally they brought out Taylor’s son Shane to play “My Hero” and “I’ll Stick Around”. Dave did a solo “Everlong” to close out London, but here Chad Smith joined them for the last song before we left on a high, 5 1/2 hours after it began.
It may have been the best one I’ve ever attended, and that’s after crossing 3,000 concerts a couple years ago. I was inspired to create this chart that shows where in the songs came from, making the show an excellent primer for rock in the last 50 years.