Foo Fighters Garage Tour: Port Orchard, WA

April 27, 2011
Where to start on a blog about the coolest thing to happen anywhere, much less Port Orchard, WA? How 'bout with the location. We all knew the deal, garage tour = well...a garage, but I'm not sure anyone really expected that to mean a mechanic garage. After heading an hour and a half south, over the river and through the woods, we pulled off to the side at a car repair shop for what I thought was a quick potty stop until 3 vans with tinted out windows rolled up right after and it was well, quite clear at that point this was it.

Arriving early, a quick stroll into the garage found the bands gear set in front of pink hot rod boosted into the air on a hydrolic lift, setting the vibe almost on par with some sort of VH1 special more than an actual garage rock show. Closer inspection of the amps revealed a few tidbits for you tech nerds as Grohls Fender amps had the word "Fender" replaced with silver plates of the bands name written in the classic font.

The scene became a rock and roll cliche as the kids piled in (most of them seemingly late teens though a bit of the older generation was in attendance) the classic hurry up and wait routine had begun. One of our winners pointed this out, but it seemed almost a blessing more than a curse. That was when it kept hitting you over and over, this is a moment. Nothing like this will ever happen again, cool things will occur, exciting times will be had, but this is a bookmarker for the music life. Rather than rush to the start (and simultaneously the finish) it was all about basking in the moment, taking in the tingling sensation, analyzing every minuscule thing with exceptional attention to detail, not letting any pedal, amp, drumstick go overlooked.

About 45 minutes later and 15 minutes late (hey, it's rock and can't rush these sort of things) The band arrived in good spirits, and kicked things off with a fierce, ear-blisteringly loud rendition of Wasting Light opener "Bridge Burning". The weirdest part of all of this perhaps was that it felt completely normal. Here we all were seeing one of the biggest bands in the world, no more than 4 feet away, there was no barrier, no raised stage, just the dudes and the crowd on the same level, and it just felt like seeing your buddies band play (except for the fact they were really, really, really f-cking tight and it was the goddamn f-cking Foo Fighters.)

There was no shortage of Dave's rockstar charisma to be found either, as the band churned out hit after hit he'd find some way to treat the intimate spot like his own stadium, standing on monitors, leaning into the excited crowd as he'd shred, taking to his knees in front of Taylor's kit before straight up grinding (yes in the junior high dance sort of way) on me at one point to the dismay of the girls in attendance, "YOU'RE SO LUCKY" they shouted (though I think I might need some sort of counseling. How will grinding with cute girls ever be as cool?)

All in all it was a pretty standard (if you can call anything about the Foo Fighters playing in a garage standard...) greatest hits set with a few left turns, Cold Day In The Sun from Disc one of In your Honor sung by none other than Mr. Taylor Hawkins and then a killer impromptu cover of Queen's "Tie Your Mother Down" were standouts, as well it's always great to hear Dave talk about Seattle. The best being a story of the bands first show which apparently took place above where the old West Marine store used to be on Mercer (did anyone notice that was gone??) Before closing out with the first song they ever played live, "This Is A Call".

Even after the show was over and the band left that "stage" it kept going. The guys came out not long after and spent easily as much time as they had playing, chatting with fans, signing autographs, taking pictures, no one left empty handed or without a smile on their face. I haven't been in this industry long but I can already spit out a list of bands 1/10th as big as the Foo who wouldn't have spent half that much time half-assedly engaging with the people who love them so dearly.

All in all an absolutely incredible performance which I'm sure all in attendance will never forget. A truly punk rock move (even if they do get a fat paycheck from Blackberry ;) ) It isn't often, or ever a band of this caliber has the guts to get back to their roots and play to a group of people this small. And that's what keeps the Foo's f-cking awesome, is no matter how serious things get, they know better than to take themselves that seriously.

P.S. Bad news Sunny Day Real Estate fans, caught up with Nate after the set and he says that reunion album is a no-go :(

Full Setlist in pretty close to the order it happened...(Hey, it's tough to keep track of these things with the Foo's staring straight into your eyeballs, and who's gonna whip out their Iphone [blackberry?] to take notes while that's going on in front of you.)

Bridge Burning
Times Like These
Learn To Fly
Cold Day In The Sun
All My Life
My Hero
Stacked Actors
The Pretender
White Limo
Tie Your Mother Down
For All The Cows
This Is A Call