The Foo Fighters have a full hour to themselves on their upcoming episode of Austin City Limits, and Rolling Stone has two exclusive preview clips, plus some behind the scenes footage, to prove the band’s bona fides as one of rock’s best live acts.
Fittingly, the two performances are Texas-themed, starting with the band’s rousing Sonic Highways combo, “What Did I Do?/God As My Witness,” which they not only recorded in Austin, but at KLRU-TV’s Studio 6A — the original home of Austin City Limits. The Foos filled every crevice of the series’ new headquarters, the Moody Theater, with their bombastic rendition of the track, which concluded with a fiery performance from guest shredder, and Austin native, Gary Clark Jr.
The Foo Fighters also paid tribute to Austin’s storied musical history, inviting former Fabulous Thunderbirds guitarist Jimmie Vaughan to assist in a cover of his old group’s 1986 single, “Tuff Enuff.” Clark Jr. also stuck around for the performance, bringing the total number of guitarists onstage to a whopping five, three of whom — Clark Jr., Vaughan and the Foos’ Chris Shiflett — closed out the cut with a barrage of back-and-forth solos.
ACL is also offering up a clip of behind the scenes footage, that also includes part of the band’s performance of Sonic Highways cut “Congregation.” The clip finds the band on- and off-stage, palling about with friends, family and fans, with frontman Dave Grohl providing some particularly goofy highlights, like snapping a selfie and dancing through the crowd, champagne bottle in hand.
Last year, Grohl told Rolling Stone that the show had deep personal meaning growing up. “I was 7 or 8 the first time I saw it,” said Grohl. “I was just learning how to play guitar and there weren’t too many shows like Austin City Limits back in the day. Here was a show that you could watch an entire live performance of a band – not just one song after Johnny Carson walks off the couch – in front of an intimate audience. Those experiences translate. When I was young, I was like, ‘Wow, that’s music! That’s how it’s done! Now it’s in my living room and it makes me want to do that too.’ You watch these brilliant musicians ripping on that stage week after week and it could only inspire young musicians. Maybe that’s what it was for.”
The Foo Fighters’ full ACL episode airs February 7th on PBS. The series will close out its monumental 40th season the following week, February 14th, with an airing of the first Austin City Limits Hall of Fame special, which will feature performances from Willie Nelson, Emmylou Harris, Buddy Guy, Lyle Lovett and Double Trouble. Among ACL‘s inaugural Hall of Fame class are Nelson, Double Trouble and Stevie Ray Vaughan, as well as the show’s creator, Bill Arhos, and University of Texas football coach Darrell K. Royal.