Live From Ed Sullivan Theater (Godfatherecords G.R. 651)
Live on Letterman, Ed Sullivan Theater, New York City, NY – April 12, 2011
(77:59) Intro/Bridges Burning, Rope, Dear Rosemary, These Days, Back And Forth, Walk, All My Life, Times Like These, My Hero, Learn To Fly, Band Intros/Cold Day In The Sun, It’s OK To Suck/Big Me, Monkey Wrench, Everlong, Best Of You, This Is A Call
The Foo Fighters released Wasting Light, there seventh album, on April 12, 2011 and kicked off the release with a special CBS Webcast from The Ed Sullivan Theater. This followed the taping of the bands appearance on “The Late Show with David Letterman” taped earlier the same day.
The show is a bit of a tribute to The Beatles first American television performance on the same stage 47 years earlier. The band was dressed in black and white suits with Beatles lettering on the bass drums head and the first half of the webcast was shown in black & white.
The complete webcast lasted about 110 minutes with the entire Wasting Light record played in order with selected hits following. Godfather cut this down to a single disc eliminating “White Limo”, “Arlandria”, “A Matter Of Time”, “Miss The Misery”, and “I Should Have Known” from the new record and “Stacked Actors” from later in the show.
The sound quality is amazing with a near perfect mix of instruments. The guitars especially sound huge and the broadcast as a whole sounds very punchy and powerful. Grohl’s vocals are right on and I am astonished that he is able to keep up this style of singing night after night. Aside from his performance, he is definitely a character. He is constantly joking throughout the show, keeping the mood light and at one point talks about the guitars being nipple high as opposed to hiding his nuts. He also refers to them looking like a bunch of stoners going to court.
The performance as a whole is full of energy (as is most of their music) and the band is super tight. Along with Dave Grohl on guitar and lead vocals, the rest of the band is made up of Nate Mendel on bass, Taylor Hawkins on drums and vocals, with both Chris Shiflett and Pat Smear on lead guitars. Having three guitar players certainly gives the band a full sound and allows them to recreate the multilayered big guitar sound of their records. Robbie St. James is also featured as an extra on keyboards and is audible in only a few of the tracks.
The new record is some of the bands best writing in years and the performance captures the vibe from the record perfectly. Even though some of these new tracks were edited out, Godfather features the best selections from the new LP. “Bridges Burning” floors the audience from the start and they continue into “Rope”, the first single from Wasting Light.
“Dear Rosemary” is a bit of a departure from their usual sound with a very catchy melody and a choppy stop/start rhythm. The various guitar parts work very well together between the three of them. “These Days” has great high/low dynamics between the verses and choruses that reminds me of Nirvana’s old trademark. The song builds consistently to the heavy chorus but still has a nice hook and is certainly more commercial than anything Nirvana ever did.
“And that’s our new album” says Grohl at the climactic ending of “Walk”. After some more shtick from Dave they launch into a brutally heavy “All My Life” from the One By One record to kick into the older material. “My Hero” goes out to Dave Letterman, a known Foo Fighters fan who has been quoted as saying that “Everlong” was his favorite song. Taylor Hawkins is featured in “Cold Day In The Sun” and does a great job on lead vocal.
Grohl stops the band after a few seconds of “Big Me” and calls out Chris Shiflett for being out of tune. He makes fun of their situation saying “it’s OK to suck” before restarting the track. “Stacked Actors” would follow in the webcast but is edited out here. “Monkey Wrench” and “Everlong”, both from the second album The Colour And The Shape, are great versions and were a big part of the band’s early success.
Bringing the set to a close, “Best Of You” could be considered one of the Foo Fighters biggest anthems while their first commercial single, “This Is A Call”, goes back to the first album and satisfies a fan who been yelling for it most of the night.
Having been just a casual fan over the years, I was surprised at how many songs I remembered. The band has been around for sixteen years now and is definitely maturing as their writing continues to grow. Hats off to the Foo Fighters for bringing a breath of fresh air to modern music.
Live From Ed Sullivan Theater, although incomplete, is an excellent release. Godfathers packaging for this is simply awesome and the sound is top notch. It would be nice if maybe Apocalypse Sound were to produce a DVD of the entire webcast where Foo Fighters releases are pretty scarce these days.If you liked this review, buy me a cup of joe. (Suggested: $3 a shot or $7.5 for a double)