Ever since 1973, when the Who called up a fan-drummer to replace Keith Moon (after he passed out from horse tranquilizers and brandy), rock audiences have been pining for the next great Cinderella concert moment. Meet Brian, who commanded the Foo Fighters‘ August 12th gig in Edmonton, Alberta – channeling his inner Geddy Lee during an intense cover of Rush’s prog-rock anthem “Tom Sawyer.”
Foo frontman Dave Grohl, still nursing his broken leg in his custom-designed throne, marked the Edmonton visit by honoring Canada’s finest. Only one problem: “Nobody knows every word to ‘Tom Sawyer,'” Grohl says in the above fan-shot video. “You don’t go to a karaoke bar and someone sings ‘Tom Sawyer’. . . Who can actually sing and knows all the words to ‘Tom Sawyer’?”
Brian calls out from the crowd, but Grohl is skeptical of his Geddy-head credentials. “Don’t be bullshittin’ me, motherfuckers,” he says. “Can he sing? Don’t yank my crank!. . . You’re trying to tell me your big ass can sing those high notes?” Greeting the fan onstage, he warns, “Welcome to my nightmare.”
But Brian rises to the occasion, nailing every word. You can sense the anticipation when he strains for Lee’s high notes on “the river” – and what he lacks in pitch control, he makes up for in enthusiasm. The Foos, meanwhile, handle their reliable cover with prog expertise: Taylor Hawkins is one of a handful of drummers who could pull off an accurate Neil Peart.
Despite his initial reluctance, Grohl is blown away by Brian’s high-octave, high-octane take, grinning like a madman from his throne’s eye view. “That was fucking amazing,” Grohl says. “Thank you. Holy shit. . . What was that? Dude, are you a eunuch? How did you fucking hit those notes? He must have been neutered. I don’t even know how to follow that shit.”