This past Thursday night, the Foo Fighters graced Austin’s presence to film the last episode for Austin City Limits‘ 40th season. After postponing their original date (due to the birth of drummer Taylor Hawkins’ child). the band “promised to make it up when they return,” and that they did.
For almost the entire first hour, the Foo Fighters killed eight songs in a row with no hesitation. They picked one fan favorite after another, such as “Aurora,” “Times Like These,” and “My Hero.” During “Times Like These,” frontman Dave Grohl made his first trek into the audience which turned the audience up a few notches. Finally taking the mic, Grohl informed the crowd that they played straight through the first set of songs because “we got a hundred fuckin’ songs to play.” The crowd was ready to stay until the sun rose, as long as the band kept them as pumped as they were in that moment. Grohl also shared, with a mischievous look on his face, that the band might even bring out some guests. Thankfully, the crowd didn’t have to wait too long.
Episode four of Sonic Highways, an HBO series that follows the making of the band’s recent LP release, led the Foo Fighters to Austin where the band recorded their two-part song “What Did I Do/God As My Witness.” As they started in on the second half of this track, Austin’s own Gary Clark Jr. came out to slay his guitar solo. Seeing a hometown hero on the stage alongside Grohl was enough to have all of Moody Theater on their feet. At the end of the song, Grohl insisted Clark stay on stage for the next surprise which brought out legendary Jimmie Vaughan, who mosied on stage and plugged in, to the left of Clark. The new band on stage took off into a cover of Fabulous Thunderbirds’ “Tuff Enuff,” where Vaughan reproduced his solos.
Stepping back into their own catalog, Hawkins took over vocals on “Cold Day in the Sun.” After four more hits in a row, especially “All My Life,” the crowd was in a frenzy. Vibing off of their energy, Grohl ditched his guitar and grabbed a bottle of champagne instead.Grohl took his libation into the crowd and Hawkins sang a cover of the Rolling Stones’ “Miss You.” While Hawkins admitted to not knowing all of the lyrics, everyone was hanging onto every (mistaken or not) word.I t was a game of musical chairs on stage as Grohl jumped on the drums and Hawkins took the front of the stage for a cover of Cheap Trick’s “Stiff Competition.” A trail of covers followed which included Queen/David Bowie’s “Under Pressure” which was performed as a duet by Grohl and Hawkins, then Tom Petty’s “Breakdown,” with an amazing electric piano solo from keyboardist Rami Jaffee, and last but not least, Van Halen’s “Ain’t Talkin’ Bout Love.”
At just about three hours (almost trumping Ryan Adam’s epic ACL taping), the Foo Fighters brought their rowdy, pleasantly chaotic set to an end. They concluded with two of their biggest hits “Best of You” and “Everlong.” This taping was the ultimate end to the 40th season, a significant milestone for Austin City Limits.