Taylor Hawkins tribute concert was a lively and heartfelt affair


Raph_PH | Wikimedia Commons

Maya Alexander

The first of two tribute concerts dedicated to late Foo Fighters drummer Taylor Hawkins occurred on Sept. 3. Taking place at the iconic Wembley Stadium, the show featured an extensive array of performers who all cameto honor the legendary drummer.

Beginning at 4:30 p.m. London time, the 70,000-seat arena was first treated to an appearance by the band of the night. Foo Fighters lead singer Dave Grohl, who emotionally addressed the crowd, was treated to loud cheers as he honored his late friend and gave a hint at what the rest of the night had to offer.

“Ladies and gentlemen, tonight we’ve gathered here to celebrate the life, the music and the love of our dear friend, our bandmate, our brother Taylor Hawkins,” Grohl said. “For those of you who knew him personally, you know that no one else could make you smile or laugh or dance or sing like he could.”

Ending the speech in a way only Grohl could, he encouraged the audience to, “sing and dance and laugh and cry and fucking scream and make some fucking noise so he can hear us right now.”

With the tone set, the Foo Fighters blasted right into the first set of the night with Oasis front man, Liam Gallagher, who joined the band to sing classics like, “Rock ‘n’ Roll Star” and “Live Forever.”

The raucous energy continued throughout the night with an eclectic lineup of musicians that Hawkins loved and admired. Artists like Metallica and Kesha performed right after another, which caused listeners to have some musical whiplash.

While the pantheon of great tribute concerts has had its fair share of dull moments, the same could not be said of the Wembley concert. The only true off-moment of the night occurred when one of Hawkins’ favorite bands, James Gang, took the stage to perform a collection of their hits to a less than enthusiastic crowd.

Still, this concert will go down as one of the most consistently lively and energetic tributes— no doubt a proper reflection of the rocker being honored.

One of the truly great things about the concert was that viewers got to see first-hand that the younger generation of rock musicians are well equipped to carry the torch from the legacy bands. The bevy of new and young talent included Grohl’s 16-year-old daughter, Violet, and 12-year-old internet drumming sensation, Nandi Bushell, whose performances were definitely peaks from the night.

The highlight of the night could be none other than the Foo Fighters set. Emotions were high as the band delved straight into a touching rendition of their classic, “Times Like These.” Throughout the song, there were times that Grohl was visibly emotional, at some points breaking into tears as he sang in remembrance of his late friend.

Foo Fighters really let the drummers shine with their 12-song set which featured a rotating group of drummers including Josh Freese, Blink-182’s Travis Barker, Rufus Taylor, Nandi Bushell and Omar Hakim.

The band’s performance got a jolt of excitement following a surprise appearance by Beatles legend, Paul Mccartney. Mccartney joined the band, along with The Pretenders’ singer Chrissie Hynde, for two songs.

The emotional apex of the show came near the very end when the Foo Fighters were joined by Hawkins’ 16-year-old son, Shane, on the drums for a rocking performance of “My Hero.” Shane played loud and fast with a style reminiscent of his late father’s. That moment will go down in rock history as one of the most important performances of modern rock.

The night came to a poignant close with Grohl commemorating Hawkins with a solo acoustic rendition of “Everlong,” backed only by the sound of the audience singing along. It was the perfect send-off for the late drummer.

The second tribute concert will take place on Sept. 27 at the Kia Forum in Los Angeles.