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“A gigantic f***ing night”: Foo Fighters hold epic six-hour concert paying tribute to late Taylor Hawkins

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Courtesy Foo Fighters

Foo Fighters held the first of two tribute concerts to late drummer Taylor Hawkins Saturday at London’s Wembley Stadium.

The show began with a video montage set to the Foos song “Aurora,” after which frontman Dave Grohl, flanked by bandmates Nate Mendel, Chris Shiflett, Pat Smear and Rami Jaffee, came onstage to deliver his first public remarks since Hawkins unexpectedly died on March 25 at age 50.

“Tonight, we’ve gathered with family, and [Hawkins’] closest friends, his musical heroes and greatest inspirations, to bring you a gigantic f***ing night for a gigantic f***ing person,” Grohl told the cheering crowd.

The concert more than lived up to that lofty promise, stretching six hours with performances from some of the biggest names in music, beginning with Liam Gallagher, who kicked off the night with performances of the Oasis songs “Rock ‘N’ Roll Star” and “Live Forever” alongside Foo Fighters, with Grohl on drums.

The first half of the show was mostly a tribute to the music that Hawkins himself loved. Queens of the Stone Age‘s Joshua Homme joined Nile Rodgers for a cover of David Bowie‘s “Let’s Dance,” Wolfgang Van Halen channeled the spirit of his late father Eddie Van Halen with performances of Van Halen‘s “Hot for Teacher” and “On Fire” with Grohl on bass, Grohl’s daughter Violet sang two Jeff Buckley songs, and the Joe Walsh band James Gang reunited for their first live set since 2006.

Hawkins’ side projects Chevy Metal and Coattail Riders also performed, as did Supergrass, Pretenders with Grohl on bass, The DarknessJustin Hawkins, and a reunited Them Crooked Vultures, featuring Grohl, Joshua Homme, Led Zeppelin‘s John Paul Jones and guitarist Alain Johannes.  

In between performances, the Wembley screens showed video tributes sent in by artists including Red Hot Chili Peppers drummer Chad Smith, Billie Eilish and FINNEAS, Slash and Duff McKagan of Guns N’ Roses, Mötley Crüe‘s Nikki Sixx and Elton John. Fleetwood Mac‘s Stevie Nicks also sent in an audio message, while comedian Dave Chappelle and actor Jason Sudeikis gave in-person remarks.

The concert then started to channel a Rock & Roll Hall of fame induction ceremony when the Foos returned to the stage with AC/DC‘s Brian Johnson and Metallica‘s Lars Ulrich to play AC/DC’s “Back in Black” and “Let There Be Rock.” They then jammed two Police songs with drummer Stewart Copeland, followed by Rush’s Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson joining Grohl for renditions of “2112: I. Overture” and “Working Man.”

The final guest performances came from Queen‘s Brian May and Roger Taylor, who joined the Foos for “We Will Rock You,” “Somebody to Love,” “I’m in Love with My Car” and “Under Pressure.” May then played a solo rendition of the Queen track “Love of My Life.”

The night closed out with a greatest hits performance of Foo Fighters songs, beginning with “Times Like These,” during which Grohl was overcome with emotion, and had to step away from the mic for a moment to gather himself.

The Foos jammed through songs including “Learn to Fly,” “The Pretender” and “Best of You” with guest drummers including Blink-182‘s Travis Barker, Bowie drummer Omar Hakim, Roger Taylor’s son Rufus, viral kid drummer Nandi Bushell and session drummer Josh Freese.

The Foos hit parade was briefly interrupted when Paul McCartney made a surprise appearance to play The Beatles‘ “Helter Skelter” and “Oh! Darling” with Pretenders’ Chrissie Hynde.

The night finally closed with the Foos classic “My Hero” with Hawkins’ son Shane on drums, and a Grohl solo rendition of “Everlong.”

You can watch an archived stream of the entire show via MTV’s YouTube channel. CBS will air a one-hour special version of the concert Saturday at 10 p.m. ET. A two-hour special will air on MTV later in September.

Proceeds from the Wembley concert will be donated to Music Support and MusiCares. The second tribute show will take place September 27 in Los Angeles.

Here’s the Wembley set list:

Foo Fighters with Liam Gallagher — “Rock ‘N’ Roll Star” (Oasis)
Foo Fighters with Liam Gallagher — “Live Forever” (Oasis)
Joshua Homme, Chris Chaney, Omar Hakim, Nile Rodgers — “Let’s Dance” (David Bowie)
Gaz Coombes, Chris Chaney, Omar Hakim, Nile Rodgers — “Modern Love” (David Bowie)
Chevy Metal — “Psycho Killer” (Talking Heads)
Kesha with Chevy Metal — “Children of the Revolution” (T. Rex)
Justin Hawkins with Coattail Riders — “Louise” (Coattail Riders)
Justin Hawkins with Coattail Riders — “Range Rover B****” (Taylor Hawkins)
Justin Hawkins with Coattail Riders — “It’s Over” (Coattail Riders)
Wolfgang Van Halen, Dave Grohl, Josh Freese, Justin Hawkins — “On Fire” (Van Halen)
Wolfgang Van Halen, Dave Grohl, Josh Freese, Justin Hawkins — “Hot for Teacher” (Van Halen)
Violet Grohl, Dave Grohl, Greg Kurstin, Alain Johannes, Chris Chaney, Jason Falkner — “Last Goodbye” (Jeff Buckley)
Violet Grohl, Dave Grohl, Greg Kurstin, Alain Johannes, Chris Chaney, Jason Falkner — “Grace” (Jeff Buckley)
Supergrass — “Richard III”
Supergrass — “Alright”
Supergrass — “Caught By the Fuzz”
Them Crooked Vultures — “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road” (Elton John)
Them Crooked Vultures — “Gunman”
Them Crooked Vultures — “Long Slow Goodbye” (Queens of the Stone Age)
Pretenders with Dave Grohl — “Precious”
Pretenders with Dave Grohl — “Tattooed Love Boys”
Pretenders with Dave Grohl — “Brass in Pocket”
James Gang — “Walk Away”
James Gang — “The Bomber: Closet Queen/Bolero/Cast Your Fate to the Wind”
James Gang with Dave Grohl — “Funk #49”
Violet Grohl, Mark Ronson, Chris Chaney, Jason Falkner — “Valerie” (The Zutons)
Foo Fighters with Lars Ulrich & Brian Johnson — “Back in Black” (AC/DC)
Foo Fighters with Lars Ulrich & Brian Johnson — “Let There Be Rock” (AC/DC)
Foo Fighters with Stewart Copeland — “Next to You” (The Police)
Foo Fighters with Stewart Copeland & Gaz Coombes — “Everything Little Thing She Does Is Magic” (The Police)
Dave Grohl, Geddy Lee, Alex Lifeson — “2112: I. Overture” (Rush)
Dave Grohl, Geddy Lee, Alex Lifeson — “Working Man” (Rush)
Geddy Lee, Alex Lifeson, Omar Hakim — “YYZ” (Rush)
Foo Fighters with Roger & Rufus Taylor, Brian May, Luke Spiller — “We Will Rock You” (Queen)
Foo Fighters with Roger & Rufus Taylor, Brian May — “I’m in Love with My Car” (Queen)
Foo Fighters with Roger Taylor, Brian May, Justin Hawkins — “Under Pressure” (Queen & David Bowie)
Foo Fighters with Roger Taylor, Brian May, Sam Ryder — “Somebody to Love” (Queen)
Brian May — “Love of My Life” (Queen)
Foo Fighters with Josh Freese — “Times Like These”
Foo Fighters with Josh Freese — “All My Life”
Foo Fighters with Travis Barker — “The Pretender”
Foo Fighters with Travis Barker — “Monkey Wrench”
Foo Fighters with Nandi Bushell — “Learn to Fly”
Foo Fighters with Rufus Taylor — “These Days”
Foo Fighters with Rufus Taylor — “Best of You”
Foo Fighters with Paul McCartney, Chrissie Hynde & Omar Hakim — “Oh! Darling” (The Beatles)
Foo Fighters with Paul McCartney & Omar Hakim — “Helter Skelter” (The Beatles)
Foo Fighters with Omar Hakim — “Aurora”
Foo Fighters with Shane Hawkins — “My Hero”
Dave Grohl — “Everlong”

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