Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Foo Fighters - Acoustic

So I went to see the Foo Fighters last night at The Orpheum Theater in Vancouver B.C.. I wasn't really sure what to expect, having never seen them live before and this being a more chilled out kinda gig. The Orpheum is also well known for it's "jail" like atmosphere due to the "no fun police" otherwise known as the staff, monitoring every move of the over charged audience. Aside from this I was still excited to see the Foo's. I mean not only was Dave Grohl (perhaps the greatest drummer ever) no more than 12 feet from me, another ex-Nirvana member was present. Pat Smear was helping out on guitar in addition to the regular Foo's. In fact they had quite the ensemble of musicians on stage including an accordion/keyboard player, a percussionist, and a female violin/mandolin/vocalist. It really added a nice blend of instruments throughout the set.

The stage was very cluttered with guitars, small amps, violins, keyboards, drums and all kinds of cool stuff. It was definitely a very intimate type of setup, reminding me very much of the old mtv unplugged shows. I found the dim, sometimes dreary lighting created a neat mood for the Foo Fighter’s who I think looked a little uncomfortable with it, yet embraced the challenge. The majority of the audience were aware they were at an acoustic performance, but several loud mouthed ignorant fans kept yelling out there song requests and comments as though they were attending an arena rock show. I have found over the years that Vancouver crowds seem to have a hard time with more layed back rock shows. Having recently attended not one but two brilliant theater/rock shows in Alberta, I was subjected to very boring, polite crowds. Can’t an audience find the happy medium between respecting the the artist(s) and having a good time? I think so, but maybe it would be somewhere like Kamloops.

As far as the performance went, I’m not sure exactly how to review it. I have seen many acoustic shows and compared to those, performed by artists more accustom to playing in this manor, I would have to say the Foo’s were very average. Compared to their plugged in live set, which I have only witnessed on t.v. or dvd, I would say it was a nice refreshing change. I thought Dave talked and joked around with the crowd a bit too much, although his witty personality can be quite entertaining. It was cool to hear some older Foo tunes played in a more chilled out way, and I especially enjoyed February Stars, and of course Everlong. I thought Dave’s solo rendition of Best Of You was let’s say… brave. I personally felt other favorites like Times Like These, Floaty, and Walking After You, were fairly average. The rest of the set lacked flow due to the banter between Dave and the crowd and his band mates, but at times they would stick a couple songs back to back and really create a terrific ambiance in the well guarded amphitheater. This also having been the first night of the acoustic tour, I would expect them to work out some of the bugs and quirks which to me affected the flow of the performance. The sound at the Orpheum was, as always phenomenal yet the same show at The Commodore Ballroom would have been an even better treat.

All in all, I’m glad I saw this performance, and I think more bands should try stripping down from the rock show from time to time. It takes the band out of their element and even if it wasn’t their best performance, it was certainly unique. I would rather see something different from a band that’s been touring for more than a decade, rather than just the same old rock show. I admire them for taking the risk, but just hope they can generate a little more flow in their set.


No comments: