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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Review: The Foo Fighters’ triumphant return to a sold-out Spokane Arena

The Foo Fighters’ Dave Grohl performs on Friday at the Spokane Arena.  (Tyler Tjomsland/The Spokesman-Review)
By Ed Condran For The Spokesman-Review

The biggest show to hit town since Paul McCartney kicked off his “Get Back” tour at the Spokane Arena in April 2022 is the smallest, er, most intimate, of the Foo Fighters’ “But Here We Are” tour.

The Foo Fighters’ itinerary is filled with stadiums and sheds, but Dave Grohl and his group returned Friday for an incendiary performance at the 12,500-capacity Arena, which sold out in minutes.

“When was the last time we played Spokane?” Grohl asked just prior to the encore.

It’s been almost six years since the Foo Fighters played the Arena, which was declared a sellout day of show in December 2017. Much has changed for the Foo Fighters, and it’s not just about the group becoming one of the most popular bands in the world.

It was uncertain if the Foo Fighters would continue after drummer Taylor Hawkins died in Bogota, Colombia, in March 2022.

Grohl, however, decided to write and record under the familiar moniker while crafting “But Here We Are,” the most poignant and moving album in the band’s 12-album canon.

If there was any questions about Hawkins’ replacement, Josh Freese, it was answered during show opener, “All My Life.”

The muscular Freese clobbered the kit during the show opener and “The Pretender,” and also impressed with nuanced fills.

Later in the set, the Foo Fighters performed snippets of Devo’s “Whip It” and Nine Inch Nails’ “March of the Pigs,” since Freese was part of both iconic bands.

Grohl gave up the spotlight to Freese and each of his bandmates, including former Sunny Day Real Estate bassist Nate Mendel.

“Hey, didn’t you grow up around here?” Grohl asked Mendel, who came of age in Richland. Mendel followed with a snippet of the Beastie Boys’ “Sabotage.”

The Foo Fighters is a band, but it revolves around Grohl, who is a terrific focal point.

Grohl, clad in a Las Vegas Raiders style Breeders T-shirt, is a throwback of a rocker. The kid who grew up as a drummer with Washington, D.C., punk band Scream leads a straightforward rock group, which has strong elements of the 1970s and ’80s, and there is such appeal for such an act.

The general admission crowd waved its arms and bounced on the floor while the entire first level stood for much of the 2-hour, 30-minute show.

“Tonight were going to play 150 songs,” Grohl said. “Or at least a portion of them.”

The Foo Fighters stopped at 22 tunes, including the live debut of “The Glass.”

Who would have guessed that Grohl would become one of the finest frontmen in the business after Nirvana’s abrupt end? It doesn’t matter the era or the band, Grohl never fails to engage the audience with in-the-moment rants or deliver songs with relentless energy. It’s always a performance clinic rendered by Grohl, whether he’s fronting a band or behind the drum kit.

Grohl hugged a Brazilian fan, who requested an embrace courtesy of a sign. There are no, “Hello, Cleveland,” moments for Grohl, who is well aware where he is at all times.

“We should play Spokane every year,” Grohl said. “What else do I have to do?”

If only that were the truth, since few rockers are busier than the energetic Grohl.

The Breeders, who toured with the Foo Fighters during the mid-1990s, set the tone by opening with classics from their 1993 release “Last Splash” and some catchy new tunes. Such breezy but quirky alt-rock hits as “Divine Hammer” and “No Aloha” have aged well.

Cool move by singer-songwriter Kim Deal, who remains flanked by her twin sister, guitarist Kelley Deal, and bassist Josephine Wiggs and drummer Jim Macpherson, to strap on the bass and belt out “Gigantic” to close out their 50-minute set.

The Pixies can no longer play Deal’s signature song, so why shouldn’t the Breeders please Kim Deal fans?