Glastonbury Festival is one of the biggest, the best music and cultural event in the world, and as one of the few, it is also a culture-defining event. The tickets sell out months before any performer is officially confirmed to play at the famous Pyramid Stage.
And even with the line-up already announced, the festival always keeps some of the best spots for TBC acts or made-up band names, like The ChurnUps.
There was a lot of speculation about who the mysterious ChurnUps were. Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Pulp and Foo Fighters were all possible suspects for the Friday slot at The Pyramid stage. While the public was still blissfully unaware, the die-hard FF fans did their homework and figured out Dave Grohl and co would play the slot.
The band and festival organisers left plenty of hard evidence and clues. In the letter Foo Fighters sent their subscribers, Dave referred to overcoming Taylor’s loss as “churning up these emotions together.” There was a mysterious ChurnUps Twitter account publishing a picture of Pyramid Stage with FF baseball cap a few days ahead of the festival before the gates even opened for the public. In the days leading to the festival, the Official Glastonbury Festival Twitter account (and website) posted a new graphic with a Pyramid stage and white birds flying around.
At first glance, it could look like white doves, but if you pay attention to details, you could quickly spot the white hawks as a tribute to the late Taylor Hawkins. And, of course, it was exactly 25 years ago, and it was the same time slot that Foo Fighters played Pyramid Stage in 1998. A lot of coincidence or evidence that Foos were coming to Glastonbury.
In the last attempt to deceive the crowds, Losing My Religion by REM blasted from the speakers with the ChurnUps logo on the Pyramid Stage just moments before the band took the stage. But looking at the amount of Foo Fighters t-shirts and flags in the crowd, the cat was already out of the bag. And when the ChurnUps logo melted and morphed into the FF sign, a loud roar and cheer took over all other sounds in the area. They were finally here: Dave, Chris, Pat, Nate, Rami and Josh Freese.
They started with one of their all times classics – All My Life. You can tell it is a different affair from the first beats without Taylor behind the drums. The die-hard fans will miss Tay’s signature snippet before the drums come into the play like he was too eager to play to sit back and wait for his part. Josh Freese is spot on, on his part and adds a few extra twists, challenging the fans used to Tay’s way of playing. The band sounds tight and fresh, enjoying the evening like their fans gathered on the fields.
Paraphrasing Alfred Hitchcock’s “The performance should start with an earthquake, and then the stress should continuously increase”. No Son Of Mine follows the classic banger and surprisingly evolves into a mini medley with riffs from Metallica’s Enter Sandman and Black Sabbath’s Paranoid. Brace yourself Glastonbury! The mighty Foo Fighters are back!
Learn To Fly is another crowd-pleaser, followed by the first song from the new album But Here We Are – Rescued. The song sounds crisp and powerful, confirming that Foo Fighters aren’t dad-rock legends cutting off coupons from the glory days but a strong-going rock machine with more to offer.
Pretender brings the crowd near the boiling point as if the weather isn’t hot; the Foos are here to make you jump, sweat and sing your heart out. Even Dave looks overwhelmed by the gigantic mass singing in sync with his tune.
“Hi, you guys fucking knew it was us the whole time!” Dave cheerfully says to the festival goers and admits they aren’t good with keeping secrets. He also points out that they only have 1 hour to play, so he keeps it short and sweet. He starts opening riff to My Hero, another hit from the Foo Fighters catalogue, testing the crowd’s abilities to sing loud and bringing a surprising Rami Jaffee solo.
The song morphs into the band introduction, bringing Slash-approved Shifty solo, Nate’s Mendel take-on Beasite’s Boys Sabotage (that’s not going to happen, as Dave clarifies), a tease of Sex Pistols played by Pat Smear and the first official UK introduction of the man, who saved the band – Josh Freese. But this isn’t the end of introductions. Dave explains there is one very special song they wanted to play, dedicated to his late mother Virgina, and he brings on stage his daughter Violet. Show Me How, another track from the latest album, is a powerful father-daughter duo, raw, healing and emotional.
Best Of You and Everlong, dedicated to the band’s late drummer Taylor Hawkins are closing the hour-long set at Pyramid stage. Dave ends it in a true Foo Fighters style, promising to return if we will be back and pointing to the upcoming summer UK tour in 2024. We may see them again playing the iconic Pyramid stage for the headline set next summer. Who knows?
Foo Fighters confirmed dates for 2024 – Everything Or Nothing At All UK Tour (sold out):
13th June 2024: Emirates Stadium Old Trafford, Manchester (with Wet Leg and Loose Articles)
15th June 2024: Emirates Stadium Old Trafford, Manchester (with Courtney Barnett and Chroma)
17th June 2024: Hampden Park, Glasgow (with Courtney Barnett and Honeyblood)
20th June 2024: London Stadium (with Wet Leg and Shame)
22nd June 2024: London Stadium (with Courtney Barnett and Hot Milk)
25th June 2024 Principality Stadium, Cardiff (with Wet Leg and Himalayas)
27th June 2024 Villa Park, Birmingham (with Courtney Barnett and Hot Milk)
Words and photography for MPM Edyta Krzesak