IRVINE, California — Dave Grohl can cross another item off his list of rock and roll fantasies.
“I can now say I officially opened for Mötley Crüe,” the Foo Fighters frontman marveled at KROQ-FM’s annual Weenie Roast.
It’s an accomplishment Audioslave, Queens of the Stone Age and several others can now also claim, although after Saturday’s festival at the Verizon Wireless Amphitheater, they may not want to.
The Crüe proved to be heroes to many of the rockers on the bill — even members of Interpol were spotted watching their backstage interview with KROQ. But they were plagued by technical difficulties and perhaps a few too many shots of Jägermeister during their show-closing set.
Playing the Weenie Roast for the first time — and invited on by morning show DJs Kevin and Bean, who at one time had a “Screw the Crüe” mantra — the metal stalwarts came out all fire and brimstone with early fave “Shout at the Devil,” but Vince Neil appeared to have forgotten most of the verses and just sort of wailed along where the words were supposed to be.
Nikki Sixx and Mick Mars, the sober Crüe members, kept the show going through a seriously rough “Live Wire,” during which Neil had problems with his in-ear monitor and missed most of his cues. Later, Tommy Lee had issues with his drum set, inspiring him to throw a cowbell into the crowd and give the one-finger salute to a potentially now-unemployed drum tech.
The devoted who stuck around were treated to some serious pyro for “Wild Side” and Sixx’s autobiographical “Kickstart My Heart,” but there was no encore and no “Home Sweet Home.”
Perhaps the Crüe’s biggest challenge, however, was having to follow Audioslave and the Foo Fighters.
|Foos, Audioslave, Interpol, Killers Play Weenie Roast 2005|
Three days after their free show on Hollywood Boulevard, Tom Morello’s outfit gave Southern California another shot of Audio adrenaline with a similar hit-packed set, albeit one with a few surprises. One of those came in the form of Rage Against the Machine’s “Sleep Now in the Fire,” during which the entire crowd seemed to join Chris Cornell in doing their best Zack de la Rocha.
Cornell followed it up with a solo, acoustic, lighter-igniting version of “Black Hole Sun,” a rare poignant moment at the high-octane festival.
With the capacity crowd glued to its seats, Foo Fighters followed with a string of sing-alongs like “My Hero,” “Learn to Fly” and new single “Best of You,” already a KROQ staple.
During There Is Nothing Left to Lose album cut “Stacked Actors,” Grohl jumped into the crowd with guitar in hand and ran into the stands. Minus any visible security, he made it to the middle of the amphitheater, where he balanced on a railing and played an extended bridge before running back up to the stage.
“I love doing that, except [for] the one guy that squeezed my nipple so hard,” he told the crowd. And in appreciation of nipples not his own, Grohl later added during “Monkey Wrench,” “Let’s just take this moment to appreciate the girl wrestling that’s going on down here.” When one of the wrestlers lifted her shirt to the beer-soaked crowd’s delight, Grohl told a story about deciding between breasts and rock and roll. He obviously made the right choice.
Earlier on the main stage, as the Offspring’s Noodles, former Buckcherry singer Josh Todd and Nikki Sixx watched from the side, Queens of the Stone Age took the crowd through their career, opening with Rated R’s “Feel Good Hit of the Summer” and “The Lost Art of Keeping a Secret” before rolling out Songs for the Deaf’s “No One Knows” and current Lullabies to Paralyze hit “Little Sister.”
“I love Queens,” Sixx said afterward, while his 15-year-old son stood nearby. “My little Mini-Me. He flew in on a chopper today. All his favorite bands are here. And Tara Reid just told him he’s hot. My wife’s gonna kick my ass. ’What are you doing to him?’ ”
Following Queens (the only band on the bill with a female member), the Killers returned to the Weenie Roast for the second year in a row, this time to a packed amphitheater singing along to every song, even new ones the group played live in Los Angeles last month (see “Killers’ Brandon Flowers Lets The Music Do The Talking” ).
MxPx, Jimmy Eat World, Interpol, Hot Hot Heat (who “named their band after today,” according to sweat-soaked KROQ DJ Jed the Fish) and My Chemical Romance also took the main stage, offering a mix of punk-influenced styles. While between-song banter was rare at the festival, MCR singer Gerard Way had fun with it, rambling and thanking “Big Baby Jesus” and “the Academy” at one point.
On the side stage, dance rockers the Dead 60s, the Bravery and Bloc Party held a party with punks Alkaline Trio and the Transplants, who played their first show in a year. And then there was the Mars Volta, who, like Queens, drew a crowd of other bands.
“They were cool, but it’s kinda weird to see them when the sun was shining,” Jimmy Eat World bassist Rick Burch said. “They’re a nighttime band.”
For more sights and stories from concerts around the country, check out MTV News Tour Reports.