Foo Fighters, Cheap Trick's Nielsen Face 'Stiff Competition' - Rolling Stone
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Foo Fighters, Cheap Trick’s Rick Nielsen Face ‘Stiff Competition’ on ‘Letterman’

Dave Grohl returns to the drums as Taylor Hawkins takes lead for the Chicago-inspired performance

Hours after the Foo Fighters‘ premiered their Chicago-inspired Sonic Highways cut “Something From Nothing,” the band stayed in a Windy City frame of mind for the fourth night of their Late Show With David Letterman residency. With the Willis Tower looming in the background, the Foo Fighters brought out Chicago guitar god Rick Nielsen of Cheap Trick to join them for an explosive rendition of that band’s cheeky Heaven Tonight single “Stiff Competition.”

For the performance, Dave Grohl returned to the drum kit and allowed Taylor Hawkins to do his best Robin Zander – right down to the white suit, like something Zander would have worn at Budokan –while Nielsen, trademark checkerboard guitar in tow, thrashes away. Hawkins provides a spirited performance, but the real highlight, as always, is seeing Grohl back pulverizing the drums.

Like previous nights during the Foo Fighters’ Letterman residency, the band also popped up in another Late Show comedy sketch. If you were wondering where ideas like “the Foo signal” and the law firm of “Grohl, Hawkins, Mendel, Shiflett, Smear & Associates” came from, we discover the answer is aloof Late Show writer Joe Grossman. In Thursday’s night skit, Grossman is tasked with pitching comedy ideas to the band members, which becomes comedy itself. “In the future, please stay away from the band,” Letterman tells Grossman.

Friday night marks the end of the Foo Fighters’ Late Show run – even though they prerecorded their Friday performance earlier in the week – but the beginning of the band’s Sonic Highways journey as that eight-episode HBO series premieres October 17th. Immediately following the first episode, the band will take the stage at Chicago’s the Cubby Bear for a gig that will be livestreamed via HBO’s Facebook page. That show will also feature the live debut of Sonic Highways single “Something From Nothing.”


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