Foo Fighters paid tribute to late drummer Taylor Hawkins on a night of high emotion at Wembley Stadium on Saturday (September 3).
The surviving members of the band took to the stage in London at around 4:30pm to back Liam Gallagher on ‘Rock ‘n’ Roll Star’ and ‘Live Forever’, kicking off a marathon six-hour show that featured an extensive cast of special guest.
Addressing the audience at the outset, frontman Dave Grohl promised an evening befitting the legacy of Hawkins, who passed at the age of 50 in Bogotá, Colombia on March 25 as Foo Fighters were in the thick of a South American tour.
“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,” Grohl told the capacity crowd. “And for those of you who admired him from afar, I’m sure you’ve all felt the same thing so, tonight, we’ve gathered with family and his closest friends, his musical heroes and greatest inspirations to bring you a gigantic fucking night for a gigantic fucking person.”
It was a show in Hawkins’ image, featuring a revolving cast of fellow drummers that included Blink-182’s Travis Barker, The Police’s Stewart Copeland and Metallica’s Lars Ulrich. It also saw a slew of his biggest heroes take the stage, with his all-time favourite band, James Gang, reforming for the occasion.
Elsewhere, Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson of Rush played together for the first time since 2018, whilst Grohl’s supergroup with Josh Homme and John Paul Jones, Them Crooked Vultures, also reunited to cover Elton John’s ‘Goodbye Yellow Brick Road’ and Queens of the Stone Age’s ‘Long Slow Goodbye’.
Grohl played sideman on many on the performances, before taking centre stage for an emotionally-charged Foos headline set that saw him break down in tears during opener ‘Times Like These’. Later, Paul McCartney would make an unadvertised appearance with the band to play ‘Oh! Darling’ with Chrissie Hynde as well as Beatles classic ‘Helter Skelter’.
The evening’s defining moment, meanwhile, arrived when Hawkins’ 16-year-old son, Oliver Shane, delivered a scintillating drum performance worthy of his father on ‘My Hero’. A second tribute show at the Forum in Los Angeles, featuring many of the same artists, is set for September 27.