5:00am PT by Michele Amabile Angermiller
Foo Fighters Play New Jersey's Bamboozle Fest and 'SNL' on Same Night
Mid-way through a blistering two-hour set at the Bamboozle Festival, no doubt the 50,000 Foo Fighters fans in attendance were wondering aloud just how the heck the band was going to make it from Asbury Park, New Jersey to New York City where they were scheduled to perform on the Saturday Night Live finale.
After all, wouldn’t it be rude to keep a live broadcast waiting? Not to mention Mick Jagger, Jeff Beck and Arcade Fire, key players in a planned all-star jam. Still, in a sign of true showmanship, Dave Grohl assured the crowd that his first priority was the festival, and the band had a solution.
“We are going to take a helicopter back to Saturday Night Live,” he announced. “Mick Jagger thought that was the coolest thing he ever heard.”
Grohl, definitely feeling the moment, asked the thousands gathered on the beach to yell, “Live from New Jersey, it’s Saturday night!” The rocker explained he was filming the crowd, and wanted to gather the footage for an as-yet-undetermined use.
Ever the consummate frontman, Grohl hit the stage with wild abandon, clearly loving the novelty of playing outdoors on a beautiful Jersey Shore evening. “We’ve got the ocean, and a beautiful night,” he said. “This is a little smaller than the usual Foo Fighters gig, but I love it!”
As is his rock god trademark, the singer got up close and personal with both sides of the crowd, at one point hopping off stage, guitar in hand, to attack his guitar within reach of the front row.
Also to be expected -- and giddily welcomed -- Grohl was quite chatty, funny (“put those Mentos away, it isn’t 1996," he chided), and open with the audience, sharing a cute story of his family trips to the beach on the East Coast when he was growing up.
“We would spend one week at the beach, getting high and getting laid,” he joked. “Then we went back to real life.”
He then surprised the crowd with an example of a song he would listen to on those beach vacations: Tom Petty’s “Breakdown.”
Opening the show with “All My Life,” the band ripped through a pulverizing, guttural feast of pure rock, from “The Pretender” to “This is A Call,” “My Hero,” “Everlong,” “Breakout,” and a surprise -- a performance of “Big Me,” a song the band hardly ever plays. Newer material from the Grammy-winning album Wasting Light was equally potent. In particular “These Days,” which seemed to resonate with the crowd.
Grohl, of course, was originally the drummer in Nirvana and he returned to the kit while Foos drummer Taylor Hawkins took lead vocals on “Cold Day in the Sun.” Sometimes, it is hard to remember Grohl, 42, spent the early part of the ‘90s in the background keeping the beat for the biggest band of that decade, but Bamboozle fans were reminded how talented and fierce he is at just about any instrument he gets his hands on.
On the first night of the festival, electronic artist Skrillex commanded the Main Stage armed with computers and a turntable. On Saturday night, The Temple of Boozle Stage inside Convention Hall hosted Jersey Shore DJ Pauly D mere miles away from his MTV summer house. The hall was so packed that security had to cut his set short.
None of this impresses Grohl, who is still leading the charge for bands to keep it simple and pick up a guitar. In a repeat of his Grammy acceptance speech, Grohl addressed the kids in the crowd considering becoming musicians.
“You don’t need lights and computers, you just need one of these,” he said, adding that the crowd feel free to tell those “guys with the laptops [that] I said that.”
While the Foos were definitely the moment of Bamboozle last night, other highlights included fellow Jersey natives My Chemical Romance, who were this year’s Bamboozle heroes, valiantly stepping in last-minute after Blink 182 had to cancel due to Travis Barker’s emergency tonsillectomy.
“It’s good to be home,” said singer Gerard Way, who grew up with his brother, bassist Mikey Way, in Belleville.
Fans were treated to a dramatic and tight, albeit too brief, set which included a look at Gerard’s new hair color: brown. The band opened with “I’m Not OK (I Promise)” and continued to weave their hits in a gothic tapestry which played nicely even under bright sunlight. The beauty of the band is how Way approaches each song like a Broadway performer. He really can sell a song and tell a story with his facial expressions and body. It’s hard to keep your eyes off him, thus he's the frontman.
But the band also really delivers live. Especially riveting was a crunching singalong of the glam-rock inspired “Teenagers.” “Welcome To the Black Parade” and the spooky “Mama” were high points as well, and the band tipped their hat to the ghost of Bamboozle past with a reference to their 2005 appearance and the song that closed that show: “Vampires Will Never Hurt You.”
Jimmy Eat World clearly came to Jersey ready to rock, pulling out their ode to gambling at the shore with the song, “Big Casino.” The Arizona pop-punk band drew a huge reaction from the crowd (singer Jim Adkins expressed concern that the kids in the front could get hurt from crowd surfers and pushing up against the barricade), particularly for their big hit “The Middle” and the crunching “Salt Sweat Sugar,” a treat for fans baking in the sun.
The All American Rejects were jazzed for their set at Bamboozle, but scolded festival goers who came ill-prepared for the day, particularly those not wearing sunscreen (welcome to New Jersey, guys -- didn’t you see the Tanning Mom on the news?)
“These women are looking like lobsters,” said singer Tyson Ritter. “Better that than orange, I guess.”
Kudos to the Long Island pop-punk band This Good Robot.After winning the Bamboozle festival’s Battle of the Bands contest on The Break Stage, the group opened Day 2 on the Main Stage. You got to love a band whose lead singer rocks red suspenders.
Finally, the day closed out with a tight set by the hardest working band at Bamboozle, Minnesota’s Motion City Soundtrack. The group played not one, but two sets in one day.
Rapper A$AP Rocky caused a stir on the B-Boy Beach Party Stage. The rapper, popular for his single, "Peso," made his way over to the Main Stage just before Foo Fighters started their set.
Spotted in the crowd: Twisted Sister and Celebrity Apprentice star Dee Snider.
Check this space on Monday for THR's Day 3 report.