Dave Grohl writes a powerful essay on the return on live concerts

News 12/05/2020

Foo Fighters' frontman Dave Grohl wrote an impactful piece on The Atlantic on the return of live music.

Just like all music fans out there, Grohl is as bummed out as us as live show fans.

In the article, he wrote about his band's now shelved plans for a special 4th of July gig in Washington, D.C.

"I know exactly where I was supposed to be: FedExField, outside Washington, D.C., with my band Foo Fighters and roughly 80,000 of our closest friends," Grohl wrote. "We were going to be celebrating the 25th anniversary of our debut album".

"I know that those of us who don't have to work in hospitals or deliver packages are the lucky ones, but still, I'm hungry for a big old plate of sweaty, ear-shredding, live rock and roll, ASAP. The kind that makes your heart race, your body move, and your soul stir with passion," he added.

Grohl notes that nothing could compare to the energy and atmosphere of live music. "It is the most life-affirming experience, to see your favorite performer onstage, in the flesh, rather than as a one-dimensional image glowing in your lap as you spiral down a midnight YouTube wormhole. Even our most beloved superheroes become human in person."

He asked readers to imagine themselves being at Wembley Stadium in 1985 watching Freddie Mercury and the rest of Queen walk onstage for their Live Aid benefit concert.

"As a lifelong concertgoer, I know this feeling well. I myself have been pressed against the cold front rail of an arena rock show," Grohl said.

Grohl recalled Bruce Springsteen being at a Foo Fighters gig, watching as an audience and later sending Grohl a note.

I don't know when it will be safe to return to singing arm in arm at the top of our lungs, hearts racing, bodies moving, souls bursting with life.

"I received a letter from Bruce, handwritten on hotel stationery, that explained this very clearly. 'When you look out at the audience,' he wrote, 'You should see yourself in them, just as they should see themselves in you,'" Grohl remembered.

He continued, "Not to brag, but I think I've had the best seat in the house for 25 years. Because I do see you," he wrote. "I see you pressed against the cold front rails. I see you air-drumming along to your favourite songs in the distant rafters. I see you lifted above the crowd and carried to the stage for a glorious swan dive back into its sweaty embrace. I see your homemade signs and your vintage T-shirts. I hear your laughter and your screams and I see your tears. I have seen you yawn (yeah, you), and I've watched you pass out drunk in your seat."

"I've seen you in hurricane-force winds, in 100-degree heat, in subzero temperatures. I have even seen some of you grow older and become parents, now with your children's Day-Glo protective headphones bouncing on your shoulders. And each night when I tell our lighting engineer to 'Light 'em up!,' I do so because I need that room to shrink, and to join with you as one under the harsh, fluorescent glow."

Grohl concluded that it's hard to imagine sharing these experiences ever again in today's "world of fear and unease and social distancing".

"I don't know when it will be safe to return to singing arm in arm at the top of our lungs, hearts racing, bodies moving, souls bursting with life. But I do know that we will do it again, because we have to. It's not a choice. We're human. We need moments that reassure us that we are not alone. That we are understood. That we are imperfect. And, most important, that we need each other."

"I have shared my music, my words, my life with the people who come to our shows. And they have shared their voices with me. Without that audience—that screaming, sweating audience—my songs would only be sound. But together, we are instruments in a sonic cathedral, one that we build together night after night. And one that we will surely build again."