Stadium shows are weird. They feel more like a festival than a gig and the abundance of bars and food trucks that surround Murrayfield just enhance that feeling. The truth is that while they allow many to see their favourite bands, they are rarely (if ever) going to be better than stuffing yourself into some sweatbox venue and being within spitting range of your heroes. Yet, there are some bands that just feel at home in that environment. AC/DC are one and The Foo Fighters are another.
Before we get to that though, the challenge was handed to local band Honeyblood to get the crowd started. A two piece, they are slightly dwarfed by the massive stage as they take their place, but their grunge pop sound soon fills the arena and knocks that thought from your head. These two girls have some real songs and they don’t seem out-of-place in these cavernous surroundings. Drummer Cat Myers already looks like a rock star and is obviously delighted to be playing a venue that she apparently lives just two streets away from. There’s something special about this band and they’ll be worth keeping an eye on.
Following that is Royal Blood, who come out to a hero’s welcome. With their debut album hitting number one these guys are obviously on the course to stardom and live, those songs, which I have to be honest I thought to be a bit bland, make a lot more sense. Full of driving riffs and a sound that as beefy as a good steak, there is very little original to them. But they take music that sits somewhere between Muse and Queens of the Stone Age and make it sound exciting. They might never fully click with people like me, but this is a band that are going to turn a whole new generation into rock and roll fans and if they can pull that off then they get all the respect in the world.
Yet none of that matters when the curtain drops and The Foo Fighters launch into ‘All My Life’. This is a band that can start a set with the one, two, three punch of ‘All My Life’, ‘Times Like These’ and ‘Learn to Fly’ and that’s not even scratching the surface of their back catalogue. Dave Grohl spends the gig perched upon a customised throne, built to allow him to continue with a broken leg, and looks every inch a rock god. Banging his head to the music and kicking his left leg into the air like a man on the throes of ecstasy. He’s on great form tonight and seems genuinely touched by just how passionate the Scottish crowd is. Even leading them in chants for various members of their road crew, one of whom bursts into tears after an impassioned thank you from Mr. Grohl.
Yet he somehow doesn’t manage to be the coolest guy in the band, with Pat Smear standing by his side. The moment where he leads them through an impromptu cover of ‘Molly’s Lips’ somehow managing to eclipse pretty much everything else. Taylor Hawkins meanwhile beats his drums like a man possessed, dripping with sweat by the end of the first song. He even gets the chance to lead the band himself on ‘Cold Day in the Sun’, a song he penned. The truth is this is a band just filled to the brim with cool motherfuckers and watching them have fun on stage is a joy.
Then there are the songs, as I’ve already suggested the Foos have a few, but it’s easy to forget just how many they truly have. In a set that goes on for over two hours they barely hit a dud and songs like ‘Breakout’, ‘My Hero’ and the punk rock inspired ‘White Limo’ are every bit as big as you remember them. When you can drop tracks like ‘Monkey Wrench’ straight after playing ‘This is a Call’ you know you have done something right.
Then there’s the triumphant ‘Everlong’, still one of the best rock songs penned in recent times. It has an entire stadium singing every word and it’s a miracle that anyone has any voice left by that time in the night. The Foo Fighters may have turned up three months later than planned, but it is safe to say that no one there was bothered, Murrayfield was completely in their spell.