Royal Blood, Dropkick Murphys and Foo Fighters (Fenway Park, Boston, MA)

It may be one of the most famous tours of 2015: the Sonic Highways Tour by the Foo Fighters. And as Dave Grohl, the singer, recently broke his leg after falling off the stage in Sweden, it is also known as « the broken leg tour ». On Sunday 19 July, the Seattle-based band played at Boston, Fenway Park, the legendary stadium of the baseball team Red Sox. It was their second date in this venue for this tour. And the rock band hit it right. Their first parts was Royal Blood and Dropkick Murphys.

***

Boston, the birthplace of such mythic bands as Aerosmith, once more has been infused with great music. Before the beginning of the concert, people were hanging around in the streets, or in next-door bars such as the fancy “House of Blues”. They made their way around the stadium, passing by statues of famous Red Sox players. Some wore Tshirts of the Foo Fighters, with all the dates of the broken leg tour, while others preferred to displayed the colours of Nirvana.

From 5 onwards, people began trickling into the stadium. Queues progressively formed at the drink and food stands in the basement, while waves of people moved toward their seats in the stadium. Rows of chairs had been installed on the whole half of the turf. The other half was for the standing crowd. The sun was beating down, making the atmosphere stuffy.

Royal sound

Two English men appeared on the stage at 6 : the Royal Blood. The Boston crowd barely knows them, while they are huge in Britain, their home country. Only a few people danced or clapped to their songs. However, the – very short – history of this band is impressive. The Brighton-based heavy rock band formed in 2013 and released their debut album in August 2014, only a year ago. The hindsight is worth considering. Now they have already been chosen to play first parts for one of the biggest rock bands in the world, the Foo Fighters. Their breakthrough was as fast as impressive. Plus the band is only composed of two men – a bass player and a drummer – while they sound like a 4-member band.

Bloody hell, they sounded good live. The sound-maker definitely did a great job that night, but the musical performances of the two players were remarkable, practically stainless. It sounded like listening to the original record. Their heavy riffs and catchy chorus tunes brought some people to their feet. A lot of them were just discovering them. One of the spectators deemed them really good, and thought that they could be considered as the new « White Stripes », another 2-member British rock band.

Promotional photo for the Royal Blood.
Ben Thatcher and Mike Kerr from Royal Blood. Promotional photo

I’m shipping up to Boston !

After a few minutes, the Dropkick Murphys went on stage. At that moment, more people had come into the stadium. The venue here is symbolic for the band, as they are from Boston. So they played at home. The importance of their hometown and their family has always been significant for the band. Al Barr, the singer, was interviewed in 2008 on the radio station Celtic In a Twist: “family has always been important to us in the band, growing up.”

Their Celtic punk rock resonated for about 45 minutes, climaxing with the last song : ‘I shipped up to Boston’. No particular highlight can be picked out, except the most famous songs such as “Rose Tattoo”.

Foo Fighters: Break a leg!

The concerts may have been really good so far, the real fun had not actually begun. The first two shows were a “warm-up” as Dropkick Murphys lead vocalist Tim Brennan described. What is important to know with the Foo Fighters, is that Dave Grohl talks. A lot. He made breaks in the set to make sure the audience was alright or to tell a 15-minute story. At some point during the gig, he came back on his accident some weeks ago in Sweden, when he broke his leg. He had prepared several slides just for the occasion. The Foo Fighters leader may not be able to run on stage, he has however found a way to ride the emotional wave. He has even designed a magnificent chair for him, with guitar necks sticking out all around.

Dave Grohl at Fenway Park, Boston, on Sunday 19 July.
Dave Grohl at Fenway Park, Boston, on Sunday 19 July. Photograph by Andrew Bruss. More photos

Technically and musically speaking, the show was really well-woven. They began with their famous first-album song “Everlong” and went with their big hits such as “The Pretender”, “Monkey Wrench” or “Learn to Fly”. Along the way, they played classic rock songs such as Queen’s and David Bowie’s “Under Pressure”, Alice Cooper’s “School’s Out” or The White Stripes’ “Seven Nation Army” – sung by Dave Grohl’s Swedish orthopedic surgeon, a huge moment – proving once again how well Dave Grohl has made the most of his accident. Playing classic songs is entertaining but there were many of them during the show. The musicians did not seem to be as comfortable with them as with their own songs, so there was no real use.

The first words of the last song resonated like bullets. “I’ve got another confession to make!”, from “Best of You”. The whole crowd sang the lyrics at full throttle. Several times during past shows, the crowd also sang the choirs during the bridge on their own – the concert at the Invictus Games is telling for this matter (from 5’44). This time, the crowd did not sing loud enough, but Dave Grohl played a solo which does not appear on the studio version anyway.

***

Getting out the stadium took time but finally, people managed to flow into the surrounding streets, saturated with the heat of the Boston night. It is difficult to pick which band was the best. Royal Blood were a definite hit, but the Foo Fighters rocked the stadium down as well. The Dropkick Murphys sure led a good show for the fans. The ambiance in the venue was absolutely pleasant. It is simply a shame that there were so many chairs and people sitting. The moment would have been more enjoyable if more people stood and had the ability to dance. More like a festival lay-out. The night was nonetheless magical.

Clotilde Percheminier

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s