You get what you deserve
You enter a Broadway theater and take your seats. The lights go down. In silence, out walks Dave Grohl. Just Grohl, a bottle of red wine and a guitar. He sits on stool at center-stage and without saying a word, he glides into,
“I don’t want to be a king, I just want to sing a love song.
(pause… deep breath)…
Pretend there’s nothing wrong, you can sing along with me.
I don’t want to be queen, just trying to keep my T-Shirt clean.”
Then… the curtain rips open. The lights illuminate the stage where Taylor Hawkins is driving a thunderous rhythm train. Grohl kicks away the stool and sprints into the middle of the orchestra (without falling off stage). An eruption of harmonies and melodies then carry everyone in the room on an emotional 48-minute journey of love, fear, strength and wisdom, all wrapped into one experience. You forget everything outside the four walls of the theater as you are fixated on the stage and sounds. But then there are times where you remember it all. You cry and laugh… again. Feeling all the feels, it’s a reminder — somehow the most moving music can make you both forget and remember everything. You shake. You are enamored by all the colors the band and folks on stage are splatting on what was once a white canvas. They are using every color on the pallet and often inventing colors of their own.
For a moment, you step outside yourself. As the music winds down you stand high upon your feet and applaud these artists who are also smiling ear-to-ear. You recognize their accomplishment of creating art that came from deep within the soul. Some if it may have been stuffed away in corners and needed to be dusted it off. They took risks sharing it with you as your ticket ripped and you strapped in, not knowing how it would be received. You appreciate the fact that maybe, there’s a part of them that doesn’t care much for what others think because it’s their songs. It’s Grohl’s voice. And you’re proud they led by example of creatively accomplishing something stemming from a burning inside.
Welcome to Concrete and (Pure) Gold.
Wake Up, Run For Your Life With Me:
After the unique crafting and success of Wasting Light and Sonic Highways, I thought, I can’t see how Foo Fighters will ever make a record the modern way again — entering a high-profile studio lined with Pro Tools and laying it down track-by-track. But as Grohl stated, perhaps doing that this time around was the most unpredictable and challenging thing the band could do. This was no cakewalk inside a comfort zone. Tapping Greg Kurstin of the Bird and the Bee to produce Concrete and Gold, and writing almost nontraditional songs, each with their back-door open, served as a progressive mission. Grohl has always been a pioneer of “my voice” and on Create and Gold, he not only leverages his voice, but more importantly, he listens to it. He vulnerably delivers the first line, then with a ton of courage … jumps right in. Having his brothers-in-arm already on his side, they welcome you to take the ride with them.
Hop On The Train To Nowhere:
Where are we going? That’s the thrill. Who knows? It might be nowhere, but nowhere is like … once dissolved you are free to grow. The Foo Fighters themselves are not sure of the final destination. What they do know is the journey. You are tasked to respect the journey, appreciate the value of any drudgery and use your imagination to draw up what you want it to ultimately be.
Banging On The Ceiling, “Keep It Down!”
The foundation here actually blankets overhead. The sky is like the ocean, there is only one for everyone. Treat your environment with respect. Share natures elements with your neighbors along the way, and watch how magic can unfold. We all…gotta get to sleep somehow.
Everything’s On The Line This Time:
The undertow of harmony and reoccurring theme of melody are enough to trigger constant goosebumps on Concrete and Gold. They serve as a beautiful blowing wind that truly enhances the scene onstage.
Often throughout the show, the audience erupts due to a sudden awe of who surprisingly walked on stage; of all people — it’s Alison Mosshart from the Kills, then Inara George from the Bird and the Bee, then Shawn Stockman from Boyz II Men. Dave Koz appears doing what Dave Kop does — firing in some sax. Justin Timberlake with a hop in his step, layers in some stunning falsetto on a hard-driving rock song before passing the guest mic to Paul McCartney — who walks right past the guitars and piano, and takes a seat towards the back at the Grohl/Hawkins throne, the drumkit. McCartney slaps his sticks four times and proceeds to sail away on a signature Beatles sounding current. The rest of the band, marveling at how he just took right off, follows along. Collectively they deliver a groovy sing-along in “Sunday Rain” — with Hawkins singing (beautifully), of course.
Then there are the subtleties that carry immeasurable sonic impact. For example — Hawkins’ drum fills on “La Dee Da”, the piano interlude on “Sunday Rain”, the outro on “Run” (accompanied by a thriller-like number in the video) and the opening vocal style on “T-Shirt”where Grohl immediately explores a soothing, higher range. Additionally, on a song like “The Sky is a Neighborhood”, the verse is captured as if Grohl is locked in hollowed-apartment bedroom right next to you, singing to himself as opposed to a high-end studio vocal booth.
Prior to the show, the world was introduced to Concrete and Gold via two new videos directed by Grohl for “Run” and “The Sky is a Neighborhood”. Both kept to the bands fun-natured video reputation, but also display some mesmerizing visual arts. “Run” with the elderly-folk makeup and “The Sky is a Neighborhood” with technicolor sky light displays. By the way, the latter just happened to come out two days after the solar eclipse.
The Sun Went Down On Another Perfect Day:
“Roses in the whiskey jar.”
“Cracks in the floorboard are deep from dancing.”
The difference in this theatrical is that the story is whatever you’d like it to be. You can close your eyes and surf the wave of harmony from the opening note to the curtains closing. Gracefully, there themes provided in between — encouraging you to find your own voice, push yourselves and make up your mind. Acknowledge that life is hard. It’s OK to admit that. What you do it is up to you.
“You get what you deserve.”
Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t an album review. Because A) Artist Waves doesn’t do reviews. B) How do you measure records in a given catalog? It’s like comparing your own kids. They are each their own. And, C) Who the hell am I to tell you what you should think and feel about art?
In a time of mass confusion, when it feels like questions rise and answers fall, perhaps the saving grace is that the arts are stepping up and leading the way. Their machetes are sharpened — slashing the tall weeds and carving a path to unity and self-expression, inch-by-inch. The challenges may have been unforeseen and even at times, inexplicable.
“Our roots are stronger than you know.
Up through the concrete they will grow.”
You exit the theater. Take it with you. Breathe a little deeper. How you gonna make it right?
Foo Fighters’ Concrete and Gold is out today!
For complete tour info starting with Cal Jam on October 7th, visit: FooFighters.com/tour
Jeff Gorra’s Foo Fighters Catalog:
Why Foo Fighters Are The Perfect Rock Band. (Because they are imperfect).
How Foo Fighters at Frome’s Cheese and Grain Came To Be
Inside The Unparalleled Creativity of Foo Fighters
The Inspiration of Foo Fighters — in 10 Stunning Lyrics
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~ follow Jeff Gorra | twitter @JeffGorra |JeffGorra@ArtistWaves.com