Foo Fighters frontman Dave Grohl envisions the return of in-person concerts in an op-ed published Monday at The Atlantic. The musician documents the uncertainty of live performance in the COVID-19 era, reminisces about important shows from his past and enthuses about the reciprocal joy of playing onstage.
“In today’s world of fear and unease and social distancing, it’s hard to imagine sharing experiences like these ever again,” Grohl writes. “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.”
Grohl writes with vivid detail about watching U2 play in Washington D.C. during their 2001 Elevation Tour, noting his surprise that their “massive production” wasn’t all about bells and whistles.
“I waited for the lights to go out so that I could lose myself in a magnificent, state-of-the-art rock show,” he writes. “To my surprise, the band walked onstage without any introduction, house lights fully illuminated, and kicked into the first song beneath their harsh, fluorescent glow, without the usual barrage of lasers and LED screens we’ve all become accustomed to. The brilliant move stunned the audience and began an unforgettable concert on a very raw, personal note.
“This was no accident, mind you,” he continues. “It was a lesson in intimacy. Without all the strobes and lasers, the room shrank to the size of a dirty nightclub at last call, every blemish in plain view. And with that simple gesture, we were reminded that we are all indeed just people. People that need to connect with one another.”
Grohl also reflects on Bruce Springsteen showing up to a Foo Fighters gig and leaving him some inspirational advice on hotel stationary. “When you look out at the audience, you should see yourself in them, just as they should see themselves in you,” the note read.
The Foo Fighters leader has been in a nostalgic mode during quarantine: In March, he started an Instagram account called “Dave’s True Stories,” detailing some of his favorite memories, including an account of setting up his first studio, 606, in Alexandria, Virginia.
In late April, Grohl surprised an ER nurse (and COVID-19 survivor) with an intimate performance of “Everlong” on Jimmy Kimmel Live.