Foo Fighters / Social Distortion / The Joy Formidable @ Madison Square Garden 11.13.11

As another year of shows draws to a close, we've come into the habit of enjoying arena rock spectacles as send offs. Last year, Rammstein wowed with their fiery German ridiculousness. In 2011, the Foo Fighters and The Joy Formidable had the charge and delivered outright.

The Joy Formidable opened up the night filthy mouthed and arena-ready with a handful of their heaviest from The Big Roar. The Welsh trio seemed like they were living a dream, rocking out for thousands in a legendary venue -- and expressing their excitement with countless f-bombs in between songs. Their mini-set ended with the fantastic extended version of "Whirring" including massive distortion and  gong bangs. From what seemed the like a million miles away we enjoyed the band from our seats, dreaming of going wild, front row and center during one of their own headlining gigs.

After 45 minutes of lamenting not being more into Social Distortion's rockabilly punk tunes, we were left to survey the masses by which we were surrounded. The immensity of MSG as a full house was astounding and a bit scary, but oddly comforting to be buzzing in anticipation for the biggest rock show of our year.

The fuck all, fun attitude of the night came to fruition with three-hour long performance from the Foo Fighters that went into midnight -- past MSG's 11pm curfew. The dudes made our heads rattle most of the night with a main set of heavy gooduns initiated with "Bridge Burning" and topping it off with "All My Life." The energy in the place was insane but nothing compared to the magic Dave Grohl was putting out. When he wasn't running up and down a catwalk (and most of the main stage) shredding ass, we were treated to our chatty ringleader's famously entertaining banter. Among his many jokes and f-bombs, he advised parents to forget Rock Band and get their kids guitars to write songs like "Monkey Wrench" before ripping into the classic single.

The band made us earn a massive 7-song encore with throat killing screams. Dave Grohl came out alone with guitar in hand, elevating on a platform where he serenaded the upper sections with solo acoustic renditions of the band's softer fare "Wheels," "Best of You." Somewhere in between he challenged us to sing "Wheels" better than German fans (we lost) and vocally agreeing to bring FF to Bowery Ballroom for an epic residency in 2012 (we could only hope this is true).  The concert went straight up next level when Bob Mould joined the Foos for "Dear Rosemary" and surprise guest Joan Jett (!!!!) and the boys powered through a great rendition of "Bad Reputation" before wrapping up the rock n roll shabang with fan favorite "Everlong."

This show boasted the best of an arena rock show short of pyro and spandex -- this is no surprise due to the magnitude of the Foo Fighters' worldwide fame. However, the band accomplished a feat bigger than anything they could've done in their 17 years: make an overblown rock extravaganza simultaneously feel like intimate garage jam sesh. Rich with the analog/garage spirit of Wasting Light, the band us transported to Dave's garage where we enjoyed our pals rock out from couch that can comfortably house about 20,000 people.

Not bad for our first time seeing our (basically) lifelong loves Dave, Nate, Pat, Taylor and Christopher together. --Cheep
Photo by Dana Yavin via BrooklynVegan
For setlist, pics, video of performances with Bob Mould and Joan Jett  check out Brooklynvegan


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