Grohl at the Bowl

Foo Fighters. At the Santa Barbara Bowl, Saturday, September 2.

Reviewed by Ethan Stewart

The Bowl was consumed in perfection last Saturday night, every inch of it dripping with warm and welcoming intimacy. Playing their final show of a summer-long “acoustic” tour, quintessential soft-core MTV rock band the Foo Fighters set up shop in our beloved Bowl and absolutely tore the place up. Front man and former Nirvana drummer David Grohl took hold of the audience’s hand the second he stepped on stage, cracking jokes at his bandmates’ expense, covering Nirvana tunes, referencing David Hasselhoff’s drug habits, and remembering back to his early career visits to S.B.

The evening started with famed Oxnard surfer Timmy Curran playing what he called a “dream-come-true show.” As the sun sunk low, Curran offered up a solid set of that standard brand of surf-styled acoustic guitar rhythms with hopeful lyrics that can really be best described as “Jack Johnson music.” Not to take anything away from Curran, but the genre has always seemed to be better suited to a friend’s backyard barbecue than a primetime music venue.

The term acoustic in the Foo Fighters’ tour advertising is a relative concept. While acoustic guitars were used in every song, there were also bass and rhythm, drums, a keyboard, congas, bells, and a violin. And of course there was Grohl, whose voice, wicked head spazzes, and undeniable charisma make you really wonder: What if Kurt Cobain had never died? Would this guy ever have come out from behind the drums? Another treat was guitarist and local boy Chris Shiflett, who is, according to Grohl, a gun-toting, Republican-voting, baby seal killer. Shiflett had no microphone in front of him to defend himself against his front man’s ribbing, but later his nice blues-infused solo did more than defend his good name. The night rolled through Nirvana gems like “Marigold,” as well as famous Foo anthems like “My Hero,” “Everlong,” and “Times Like These.” When the smoke cleared, the clock read exactly one minute past 10 p.m., with the entire crowd on its feet and screaming blissfully into a picture-perfect, end-of-summer night.

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