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Monday night crowds are always the best. No more is this statement true than at this show. Dave Grohl echoed this sentiment throughout their epic set at every opportunity. The weather was mild, much improved over the last time Foo Fighters graced this arena. Fans were standing in line for over an hour to get in and see the show. Security was laid back, but enforcing boundaries and doing cursory searches.
Mid-America Center holds about 9,000 seats for concerts and Foo Fighters are more or less a guaranteed sell-out every appearance here. Motorhead was supposed to play on this date, but due to the storms moving through the Midwest, 3/4 of the band were stranded in Dallas until 5:30 that night and wouldn't make it in time. So a posting at the door informed concertgoers of this change in plans, that instead of seeing Motorhead as well, they would instead be treated to 2 1/2 hours of Foo Fighters. While this deterred some, others were emboldened by this promise as they were mainly there for Foo Fighters, but Motorhead were a big draw for them as well.
First up, Biffy Clyro. These guys, live, sound like a heavier, more energetic version of Counting Crows. They know how to jam with the big boys but they can take it down and play a heartfelt ballad when they need to. Guitarist/Vocalist Simon Neil is a powerhouse with stylings and a Scottish brogue to match. He can switch from searing solos to chugging riff structures to lilting barre chord strums. James Johnston lays down a thick bassline to root the groove and his brother Ben pounds out the percussive force of a line of firing cannons. This energetic power trio can come back anytime!
Foo Fighters had a lot of effort to put forth for a 150-minute set. They came out swinging with Bridge Burning, Rope and a couple songs later, played My Hero. This would be the theme of the night, playing a mixture of classic hits from the back catalog as well as handily jamming the life out of a handful of tracks from the supporting album. But since this was an expanded set, Dave also mentioned "getting tired of playing their own hits, so we'll play other people's hits," right before going into a well-executed cover of "Breakdown" by Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers. The keyboards played during this song were well done and punctuated the guitar riff properly.
The old standard songs; "Learn to Fly," "Monkey Wrench," and "I'll Stick Around" were performed masterfully and with lackadaisical effort on stage. The songs that are usually embellished on tour were out in force, complete with a 13-minute version of "Stacked Actors," during the jam session of it, Dave ran through the crowd to a hydraulic platform and performed about 25 feet above the General Admission crowd. Also during the night, a 10-minute jam version of "Hey, Johnny Park!" and the energy in the jam session showed the crowd some of it's energy back. The stage pieces were more intricate than last time through the area and the light show expanded to include the stage floor being lit in many different patterns to match the floating projection screens above the stage which changed to reflect the songs they were used in. The shot of Lemmy driving during "White Limo" was played on loop, for example. Some deeper cuts were played as well, like "For All The Cows," as well as a cover off the Medium Rare disc: "Young Man Blues."
The encore was brought on by the usual backstage antics of mimeing the crowd to ask for one more song using hand gestures. This has happened before. However, Taylor comes up from behind Dave as he's asking about three more songs, and holds up five fingers. The crowd goes nuts. Dave shakes his head saying "NO!", gestures two songs, and walks off. Taylor holds up both hands to signal ten more songs. Then the room goes dark again, and then lights up with large spots when Dave comes out to start off the encore with an acoustic set of "Best of You," "Long Road To Ruin," and finished off with "Times Like These," which started out with him on the acoustic and then went back into full instrumentation as he's running up the walkway to the stage to finish it off.
One of the best parts of the evening was when Dave came out to explain what happened to the Motorhead set that night. Phil from Motorhead comes out, Dave is wearing a bass, and says, as mentioned earlier in the article,
"We pulled in this afternoon, and I get a text, from Lemmy. It says: '5:30 is the new 3:30, and "tornado" is the new partly cloudy.'"
Then Dave, Taylor and Phil launch into a driving cover of "Ace of Spades." While Lemmy's vocals are distinct, Dave was no slouch on this song. It was insane and the crowd went nuts when this song started.
Overall, the night was great, all of the favorite items of your faithful blogger were in place: great rock, good weed being smoked (for an epic contact high that gave serious cotton mouth), and good times with an epic crowd. However, near us were: A tone-deaf teenager trying to sing louder than the PA, a woman who every time she screamed out sounded like she was being murdered and some REALLY drunken people who could barely stand up. Other than that, a great show and a good night. Completely worth the three hour drive to Council Bluffs, and the reason that it is worth driving that far to see Foo Fighters. They really are a crowd-pleasing band.
As mentioned before, keep posted to this article for more videos to show up after the jump.