There can’t be many items left for Dave Grohl to scratch off of his rock-and-roll bucket list. The Springfield-raised musician has been a prime-time MTV fixture since his early 20s, first as drummer for grunge titans Nirvana, then as frontman for his alt-rock band, Foo Fighters.
But, Grohl explained to a capacity crowd at the Verizon Center on Friday night, “this is the first time I’ve sold out the big arena in my home town.” And he promised that the Foo Fighters would perform “every song that we know how to play.” They didn’t quite go that far, but they did deliver a three-hour set peppered with their strongest singles.
The band beefed up its best tunes with expansive, guitar-solo-heavy arrangements, drawing out four-minute radio-ready nuggets such as “Monkey Wrench” into ecstatic crescendos. The extra space helped them work the room, supplying extra minutes for Grohl to bound across the stage like Ted Nugent in a fiery loincloth.
This year marks the 20th anniversary and rerelease of Nirvana’s greatest and greatest-selling record, “Nevermind,” stoking a wave of early ’90s nostalgia. The Foo Fighters’ most recent record, “Wasting Light,” was recorded with “Nevermind” producer Butch Vig and features contributions from Nirvana bassist Krist Novoselic. But the Foo Fighters have never been a Nirvana sound-alike. As a songwriter, Grohl quickly abandoned grunge, forging his own style of music that owes as much to D.C.’s home-grown punk scene as it does to the Seattle sound of the early ’90s.
Grohl’s biggest rock-and-roll asset is that he’s so likable. He’s a local boy made good — a high school dropout turned superstar who approaches his job with unchecked vitality, even though he’s been making platinum records since the first Bush administration.