Pick Your Rock and Metal

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

New riff on old clichés - foo reflections

SO the Fo Fighters came to town - we drank beer, we got soaked and we sang-a-long to Everlong...so fucking what?

Well, there's a lot more than that...

First off - too loud? How many eejits can be crammed into one radio phone-in whining and whingeing about a rock concert being too loud? Officialy the Foo Fighters reached 104db at one point before reining it in....boy the residents who moaned would have really hated it if Manowar were playing with their full rig.

But first and foremost the Tennents Vital show with the Foo Fighters was a great, beer soaked, rain-drenched experience [More of that later].

And Trucker Diablo were opening the show - how fucking good could it get? Unfortunately otherwise faultless organisation of the day was marred by having Trucker kick off at 3:40, just 10 minutes after the gates opened; leaving the thousands (and I mean thousands) standing around, shuffling. Apparently an issue about checking IDs led to the confusion...still what we did see (three songs) were excellent as usual from the Diablo crew, with Drink Beer, Destroy, Big Truck and new song When the Rain Comes; which of course had been coming down in torrents with accompanying thunder

The pre-Foo line-up was not to my taste, nor anyone else's in my company, still the over-priced beer was flowing and the craic was good.

Speaking of beer (which we occassionally do) the whole concept of Tennents Vital is an interesting one. It is huge a brand opportunity for Tennents, not to mention the many pints sold at £4 a pop: captive audience and all that the queues for a pint were extraordinary. Partnered with MCD this type of gig involves all sorts of arrangements that require a law degree, a business masters degree and a wealth of experience.

With 32,000 there the ticket revenue would have been more than £1.2m, but put that beside the cost of bringing the Foo Fighters (and those other bands...) you probably have the guts of £750,000 down the pan including stage set-up and sound system. Then staff costs, legal costs (you need lawyers for contracts and to get your entertainment licence through the council's committee system), the costs of the hire of the playing fields and restoration of the pitches afterwards, added into a marketing budget and it is plain that the margin when selling those tickets is tight.

Which means that MCD and Tennents are taking a risk booking Vital. Should a calculation and estimate go wrong, then there are serious losses on the cards, which can be mitigated to a certain extent, but still it is a risk that has already seen one promoter badly stung (albeit through booking a very strange line-up) and the cancellation of Sonisphere in England. Large and small, we should all take the time to all gig promoters for taking the risk everytime they book a band.

So, just over a week on, one must doff a cap to MCD and Tennents - hefty ticket prices and dear beer aside - nevertheless they offered us the chance to see an international grammy award winning rock legend in the person of Mr Grohl.

In a lengthy set Mr Grohl covered all that would be expected, with a smattering of tracks from the new album through to the greatest hit selection. For those who watched the Foos Reading slot on BBC3 you'll know that much of the stage routine and banter is pre-planned and scheduled - that's not being predictable, that's why practice makes perfect delivery. Hard rock can be a cliché at times but the Foo Fighters brought a new riff to the old formula.

It is then a challenge for the front man to hold the crowd, something which Mr Grohl manages to do rather well.

But, here comes the confusion: the choice of the Pink Floyd cover, which they played a snatch of (if you don't know what it was then you need more rock education! It's from The Wall and is a key moment in Pink's life).

The track is at the point when the rock 'n' roll dream lies in tatters and Pink's persona takes a turn towards messianic megalomania. "Pink isn't well/he stayed back at the hotel/they sent us along as a surrogate band/tofind out where you fans really stand"

What message is that sending out. Is it simply that Dave likes the riff. Is he ripping a line to the fading memory of Nirvana, or is it an ironic take on where superstardom has taken the Foo journey to.

If Dave would care to comment, we'd be most grateful.

In the meantime - thanks to Tennents, MCD, Trucker Diablo and all the Foo Fighters. Next time make sure it's even louder - we rockers like to share!

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