The band will play two nights at the London Stadium, one at Manchester’s Emirates Old Trafford and one at Birmingham’s Villa Park between June 25 and July 2, with rotating support slots from St. Vincent, Courtney Barnett, Shame, Loose Articles and Hot Milk.
This comes with the six-piece currently on tour in the US, a live stint that’s seen them take in Chicago’s Lollapalooza festival and New York’s Madison Square Garden (where they played the venue’s first full-capacity show in a year).
“The last few weeks, we’ve been playing these places that hold maybe 15,000-20,000 people, and a gig that big can still seem intimate,” Grohl told NME. “That’s what we try to bring to those bigger stadiums, to see if we can create a sense of intimacy in a stadium that large.”
It will be the first chance that UK audiences have to hear the Foo Fighters’ 10th album ‘Medicine At Midnight’, which was released back in February, live on home turf. In a four-star review, NME described the record as “a celebration of almost three decades of good times”.
With the good times set to return to these shores, we asked Dave Grohl about how it feels to be back and what’s going to go down next summer.
Hi Dave! So, how does it feel to be back?
Dave Grohl: “For the two-and-a-half hours onstage, it feels amazing. It’s the other hours of the day that pose a bit of a challenge because of all the new requirements and restrictions and guidelines. You have to be really careful out there. When you’re travelling with a crew of 60 people from state to state and venue to venue, you try your best to stay within your band bubble because the wheels could fall off at any moment. You wake up every day and cross your fingers and hope that we make it to the stage that day.”
Tell us about how your tour in the US has been going…
“We were fortunate to complete this last two-week run – but, you know, we played a venue in Albuquerque [the 15,000-capacity Isleta Amphitheater] where it was the first time they’d had a show there in 688 days. And you could feel it in the audience. You could hear it when they sang along. You could see it when they danced. It’s been a town-to-town celebration of the return of live music everywhere we go – opening new venues, reopening venues that had shut down. And you could see that people have been starved of live performance – as have we. We hit the stage like we haven’t hit the stage for two years!”
From the way you’re talking, it sounds like you have a tentative kind of hopefulness – as though you don’t want to take it for granted at this stage
“No, not at at all. As a band, we’re most concerned with safety – the safety of the audience, the safety of our band, the crew – so we follow these guidelines. Some of them are self-imposed; others are mandates that are handed down from local governments or federal mandates and you’re very conscious of the whole thing just going away again – any time. Every day you’re just hoping that we make it through.
“When you’re onstage… we’re playing like that quite possibly could be the last show. It’s great! When we hit the stage, a lot of the nerves go away because you’re back with the people, so it’s all right.”
This comes at the same time as the release of your documentary What Drives Us, which looks at the allure of touring as a band. Are you currently in a headspace where you’re re-appreciating life on the road?
“Definitely. Not that anyone ever took this for granted, but the appreciation is much deeper after all this time off. We had started working on the What Drives Us movie before the pandemic, so we basically just held that until the world opened up again. I mean, in interviewing all of these musicians [for the documentary Dave tapped his Rolodex to chat with everyone from Ringo Starr to Missouri punks Radkey], some legends and some young unknowns, I was asking them more about why they do this than how. And in talking to all of these people about that, it made me think about my own intentions, my own inspiration.
“We’ve circled back to a place where we started years ago – that energy still feels new. I don’t think anyone at this point would have any complaints about touring like we did in 1995, which was like two-and-a-half months on the road and then a week off. Everyone’s just kinda fuckin’ dying for it right now.”
Foo Fighters have had a long, good relationship with the UK…
“I’ve always loved playing the stadiums in the UK. It’s the first place we did a stadium of our own after we played that Live Earth benefit [at London’s Wembley Stadium in 2007] and then came back for a couple nights at Wembley. That trip was out introduction to playing gigs that large.
“You know, these days it’s just hard for us to write a setlist! ‘Cause there’s so many fuckin’ songs. We want to appease the old-school fans; we want to draw people in who are seeing us for the first time. We know that there are people that love freaky B-side deep-cut songs, and then there are the songs that we enjoy playing. As we were writing setlists for this tour we’re on now, we were in the rehearsal space for weeks with a dry erase board just going through a hundred songs – knowing that most places that we play are only going to let us play for two-and-a-half to three hours.”
You do like to give fans bang for their buck, and are famed for long-ass shows…
“To be honest, we start feeling warmed up around the hour-and-a-half mark. You know, if it were up to me, we would just play until we’re done playing – which is usually what we do. We wanted to celebrate the band’s 25th anniversary last year, but that didn’t happen so… in doing that, writing setlists becomes kind of a retrospective, celebrating all the different years and eras that the band has been through.”
Was it a daunting task to unpick 25 years of Foos’ history?
“It’s crazy – you try to pick songs from each record to kind of touch on the evolution of the band and it’s just fuckin’… it’s not easy. You just kind of play as much as you can until the fuckin’ cops come!”
Foo Fighters’ upcoming 2022 UK tour dates are below. Tickets are on sale from 9am on Friday August 20 and will be available here.
Saturday 25: Manchester, Emirates Old Trafford (with support from St. Vincent and Loose Articles)
Monday 27: Birmingham, Villa Park (with support from Courtney Barnett and Hot Milk)
Thursday 30: London, London Stadium (with support from St. Vincent and Shame)
Saturday 2: London, London Stadium (with support from Courtney Barnett and Hot Milk)