PARK CITY, Utah — It was Dave Grohl’s night, and not a single song he wrote was played.
To promote his debut filmmaking endeavor, “Sound City,” at the Sundance Film Festival, the Foo Fighters’ frontman invited his friends (who just so happen to be modern day musical gods) to put on a concert at the cozy Park City Live on frigid Friday night (January 18). In a way, the three-plus hour concert was the spiritual stage version of Grohl’s documentary.
Welcome to “Sound City”
“Sound City” is the rock-and-roll version of “The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants” — the story of how generations of bands came together and found their voices through the same customized analog mixing console at the legendary Sound City Studios in Los Angeles. However, the narrative isn’t just about a piece of hardware, but rather the creation of an artistic community. The film’s message is what Grohl was referring to in his widely misinterpreted Grammy acceptance speech from last year: music isn’t mathematical, it’s about the human experience of creating art and the shared understanding forged from loving music. And like any good director, Grohl’s cast encompasses players that are both his frequent collaborators and his heavy influencers.
Paying that sentiment forward at Park City Live, the Foos played as backing band for a rotating cavalry of rockers that could have doubled as the cast of “This is Your Life, Dave Grohl.” Each artist that joined the Foo Fighters on stage had recorded an iconic album at the lauded Sound City Studios.
The 90′s and Punk Rock Roots
Jumping on bass, the perpetually smiling Grohl greeted the crowd by welcoming on-and-off band mate Alain Johannes to the stage and ripping through songs from Queens of the Stone Age and Eleven. Shortly after, Masters of Reality frontman Chris Goss joined the fray. Once the set was satiated with the grunge pioneer set, current Foo and former Nirvana and Germs guitarist Pat Smear ushered in the punk rock portion of the night. Looking like a hybrid of Johnny Cash and a bulldog, Fear singer Lee Ving — best known for destroying the set of “Saturday Night Life” in 1981 and starring in 1985′s “Clue,” — riled up the crowd as he barked songs about beer and bologna.
In the most bizarrely awesome pairing of the night, Grohl shifted to the drum kit and Krist Novoselic picked up the bass as Cheap Trick founder Rick Nielsen joined the remaining members of Nirvana along with Slipknot singer Corey Taylor. Subverting Grohl’s metal past (see: Probot), the temporary super-group delivered an adrenaline fueled cover of “Surrender,” with Taylor playing the role of a surprisingly peppy ringleader. To follow-up, the Foo Fighters backed up an unexpectedly hard-rocking Rick Springfield, who kept the energy high by giving the crowd another karaoke favorite with “Jessie’s Girl.”
There Goes My Hero(es)
To close out the night, flannelled Creedence founder John Fogerty brought back the blues roots with a mini-CCR set, playing anthems like “Bad Moon Rising,” “Proud Mary,” and to finish, a Foo-ified version of ” Fortunate Son.”
The crowd played favorites for the final performer of the night: Stevie Nicks. Introduced by Grohl as the “Queen of Rock and Roll,” the Fleetwood Mac star was greeted by a sea of camera flashes and a new surge from the crowd. Nicks debuted a new song from the “Sound City” soundtrack about the death of her godson, a stalwart, octave-driven anthem called “You Can’t Fix This.” Nicks and the Foos then launched into a set of Fleetwood Mac hits, with Nicks bringing the night full circle by going back to her roots, citing “Landslide” as the song that made her the songwriter and performer that she is today.
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