“Have we got the Foo-Foo Fighters?”
It’s the Foo Fighters, you pillock.

- at a small soho record store, just after the foo’s debut was released, 1995

breaking traditions. in my years of attending gigs, this is, much to my embarassment, my first festival-sized concert. when i want to see a band live, i want to see the band. not a screen. the band. however, this gig experience was as exhilirating as one would ever get.

after a fast-moving queue and unnecessarily confiscating water bottles (we had to buy their water, the corporate wankers!), we chose a spot under the scorching sun. there was the occasional mild squall which cooled us a bit, but evian/volvic/air jamban recycled was our saviour. when we got there, juliette and the licks (-5 out of 5) was on. lewis was skimpily clad in sioux squaw stylee, gyrating her hips against that of the guitarist. the set/songs/band was absolutely rubbish. aptly timed, though, as we then took the opportunity to buy some merchandise. stick to acting lah.

angels and airwaves (2 out of 5) were on next. with material sounding like a chap who’s not over his ex-girlfriend/wife, i wished blink 182 didn’t ?break up/?take a break. songs were much in the vein of blink’s self-titled swan song, with delonge cringingly bigging-upped his old band and gave a short sermon on the evils of the war in eye-raq before playing, well, err… the war. unfortunately, another wasted set. thank god for the great company, though!

queens of the stone age (4 out of 5) didn’t disappoint. since i am in a grouchy mood whilst writing this review, the blatant disappointments were: a. the fact i can’t see the band b. the shittiest sound known to (wo)man. pissing in the wind would be the right proverbial phrase for this. we actually went as far as we could to the front of the general admission area, which meant we were too far from the stage PA speakers and the additional PA speakers were behind us. having the occasional breeze sweeping the sound away didn’t help things either. those aside, QOTSA kicked some serious ass, with staples from lullabies to paralyze like little sister and classics like first it giveth, no one knows (joey castillo was on drums throughout – pity they didn’t get dave out to do this one!) and go with the flow.

motörhead (3 out of 5) played a solid set. a three-piece that had been playing a wall of hard-hitting riffs this past two and a half decades. lemmy was snarling, in his typical mic-up-high pose with his custom rickenbacker bass, a few unrcognisable (i only know a handful of their signature tunes. hehe.) tunes from their current album, inferno, like in the name of tragedy and suicide. three-quarters into their set, they got juliette lewis and some gedik floozie up onstage to sing backing vocals (“the motorettes!“). they were bad. spoil siut. it was a good thing lemmy, phil campbell and mikkey dee made it up with right scorching versions of ace of spades and overkill to wrap up this penultimate set.

at about 8.30 pm, we were already back in the melee for the headliners. before the foos (4 out of 5) got on, we were treated to raining plastic bottles, shoes, flip-flops and burger buns. i got fcukin’ hit in the head by a half-filled 2-litre plastic bottle, for fcuk’s sake. that called for a poor version of the ancient roman’s ‘the tortoise’ battle defense formation between the five of us! ‘rain’ receded when they started showing onscreen video snippets of the foos, followed by grohl et al coming onstage with in your honor. the crowd simply went nuts for this and the next two – all my life and best of you (BANDung, man!!!).

the neon once made a comment that the foos are pretty much commercialised, so much so that now their music is appealing enough even for the yuppie lepak starbucks-airkiss2 gitu set. put together a foo fighters setlist, you’d never go wrong. grohl and co. do know how to writem them ditties. pleasant ones, too. tonight’s set was just as pleasing, but without inclusion of any of their debut album material. there were a good few from their third effort, there is nothing left to losegenerator, breakout, stacked actors (love that bossanova interlude!) and learn to fly were pogo-tastic crowdpleasers.

dave grohl got lemmy onstage to do a probot number, shake your blood. thank god he didn’t bring the fcuking motorettes with him. dave also did his usual schpiel of how great the 80.000-strong hyde park crowd was, and went into monkey wrench, much to the punters’ delight. the first encore started with taylor hawkins doing a freddy mercury yooo whooooah! with the crowd. we did the usual we will rock you clap-and-devil’s horn routine, only to see that roger taylor of queen was playing the effin’ drums. “holy crap” was pretty much everyone’s word of the moment when we saw brian may joining the rest of the band for an incendiary rendition of queen’s tie your mother down.

the foos had an ego ramp that stretched from the stage to the fringe of the general admission crowd. dave went to its far end and played everlong solo, joined by the rest of the band in the last few bars. with a quick goodbye, the foos’ set ended. it was quite abrupt, as one could hear the occasional boo’s from the crowd. did i enjoy myself? hell yeah, i did. i enjoyed the festival vibe outright, and i’d do it again. but if i would wanna ever actually see a band again, gimme tix to a club-sized venue.

foo fighters hyde park, london 17.06.06 set: in your honor / all my life / best of you / times like these / learn to fly / breakout / the one / shake your blood (with lemmy) / stacked actors / my hero / DOA / generator / monkey wrench / encore 1: we will rock you / tie your mother down (with brian may and roger taylor) / encore 2: everlong