The Best of Many Incredible Moments from Foo Fighters’ All-Star Taylor Hawkins Tribute Concert in Los Angeles


Adrian GarroCategories:Latest News

Rock Cellar Magazine

At one point during the six-hour tribute concert to drummer Taylor Hawkins put on by his Foo Fighters band mates on Tuesday night at the Kia Forum in Los Angeles, Dave Grohl spoke about the way in which everybody in the building — artist, musician and fan alike — had joined together because of a shared connection, a shared love, for Hawkins.

Music is indeed that thread that binds together music fans from all walks of life, bridging the gap between generations of stars long gone, stars still making memories today and those who will follow in their footsteps.

This was a theme felt throughout the night, as performer after performer took the stage to honor Hawkins, yes, but also one thing that he loved more than most on the planet: music itself.

“We started working on putting both of these shows together a long, long time ago,” said Grohl early in the show, “because what we really wanted to do was to pay tribute to Taylor in a way that you could sort of spend some time in his musical mind. Just as with the show in London, we’ve all gathered here to celebrate this person that has touched our lives, whether from afar, or for all of his friends and family and loved ones, and musician buddies and heroes who are here tonight.”

Grohl did double duty as not only the Foo Fighters’ band leader and orchestrator of this entire tribute concert, he also served as the master of ceremonies, the thread connecting each performance segment from a jaw-dropping array of Hawkins’ musical colleagues.

The second such presentation put on by Foo Fighters in memory of their late drummer and dear friend, who passed in late March at just 50 years of age, Tuesday night in Los Angeles was an incredible experience from start to finish. The show began promptly at 7 p.m. and ended at 1 in the morning, with few breaks if any as the night rolled along.

The connecting thread, as Grohl mentioned in one of his many addresses to the crowd, was Taylor Hawkins. Fans traveled from all around the world for this show — at least those lucky enough to snatch up tickets for the night, which was an especially difficult task — and all who made it inside witnessed something truly special.

The Sept. 3 tribute concert at London’s Wembley Stadium was live streamed around the world, so there was a general idea of what the night would bring: Short sets from individual guests, many of whom were among Hawkins’ favorite musicians, some emotional performances from Foo Fighters (with notable drummers sitting in behind the kit) and stories, anecdotes and memories of Hawkins expressed throughout.

But what Grohl and Co. put together at the Forum differed slightly from the Wembley production. (Note: This show was also professionally recorded with a host of video cameras spread throughout the venue, but there is no word yet on when the concert will be made available for viewing. Needless to say, you’ll want to tune in).

As for “highlights,” the entire six-hour show was the sort of experience nobody in the building will ever forget, but there were a handful of key moments that truly resonated:

Violet Grohl and Alain Johannes opening the show with “Hallelujah”

After the house lights dimmed, Violet Grohl took the stage, accompanied by guitarist Alain Johannes, to begin the show with a stunning “Hallelujah,” the cherished Leonard Cohen song that was also a notable song from Jeff Buckley in the early 1990s.

Violet, still a teenager, is coming into her own as a show-stopping singer, and the manner in which she fearlessly began the night was a powerful scene, paying loving tribute to Hawkins as well as Cohen and Buckley (an artist she speaks about frequently on her Instagram Live feeds).

Joan Jett and Foo Fighters (and Travis Barker) playing “Cherry Bomb” and “Bad Reputation”

Things kicked into high gear right away, with the legendary Joan Jett leading the charge through two classics — none other than Travis Barker smashing the drum kit behind Jett and the Foo Fighters.

Mark King of Level 42 playing “Something About You” with Justin Hawkins of the Darkness, drummer Josh Freese, Jane’s Addiction bassist Chris Chaney and members of Taylor Hawkins and the Coattail Riders

In November of 2021, when Hawkins played the Troubadour in West Hollywood with Chris Chaney and Dave Navarro of Jane’s Addiction with their three-piece psychedelic rock project NHC, Hawkins led a cover of the 1985 hit from Level 42 — a song he considered among his favorites.

At the Forum, King emerged as an unannounced guest to lead a spirited rendition of the song that definitely would’ve made Hawkins proud:

Wolfgang Van Halen, Justin Hawkins, Foo Fighters and Josh Freese playing Van Halen’s “Panama” and “Hot for Teacher” (and Freese wearing Van Halen shorts as a nod to Taylor Hawkins)

An aspect that made Taylor Hawkins who he was was an unabashed love for bands like Van Halen — so who better to welcome to the Forum for some VH classics than Wolfgang Van Halen? The guitarist/singer absolutely shredded the guitar in this two-song performance of “Panama” and “Hot for Teacher,” proving that the apple (or in this case, the guitar) definitely doesn’t fall too far from the tree.

One of the most memorable examples of this theme throughout the night, the Van Halen segment worked doubly as a tribute to Taylor Hawkins and, of course, Eddie Van Halen, with this photo being shown on the screen afterward:

And, it must be pointed out that behind the drum kit, Freese proudly sported Van Halen-printed board shorts, itself a physical tribute to Hawkins’ style on the live stage. A nice touch.

Def Leppard, Miley Cyrus, Foo Fighters and Weezer’s Pat Wilson: “Rock of Ages”/”Photograph”

Another bit that didn’t happen at Wembley, Def Leppard played two of their biggest hits, flanked by Grohl, Pat Smear and the Foo Fighters, but with help from Weezer drummer Pat Wilson and … Miley Cyrus, who turned up to accompany Joe Elliott on a rousing rendition of “Photograph” — yet another bridging-generations-with-music moment:

Nancy Wilson, P!nk, Jon Theodore and Foo Fighters: “Barracuda”

Heart’s Nancy Wilson, who just released a tender tribute song to her “wonderful friend” Taylor Hawkins, came out to play lead guitar on “Barracuda,” which saw P!nk, another of Hawkins’ longtime friends, handle lead vocals:

Stewart Copeland of the Police and Foo Fighters: “Next To You”/”Every Little Thing She Does is Magic”

Copeland emerged to play two of his band’s classic hits — another high-water moment in an evening full of them:

Alanis Morissette, Foo Fighters and Chad Smith: “You Oughta Know”:

It was from Alanis Morissette‘s band that Grohl and the Foo Fighters plucked Hawkins in the late 1990s, so it was only fitting to have the singer/songwriter among the night’s honored guests … and, backed by the Foos and Red Hot Chili Peppers’ Chad Smith, it was a great moment:

Sebastian Bach, Geezer Butler (Black Sabbath), Lars Ulrich (Metallica) and Foo Fighters: Black Sabbath’s “Supernaut”/”Paranoid”

A two-song Sabbath blast turned up the energy, Bach clearly having a great time out there on the stage. And who wouldn’t, considering the array of musicians behind him?

Rush’s Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson, ft. Dave Grohl, Chad Smith and Danny Carey (Tool)

Another of the evening’s dual-role musical salutes, this one — which took place after an unannounced intro by Jack Black — saw the remaining members of Rush accompanied by Grohl (for “2112: Overture”), Smith (“Working Man”) and Carey (“YYZ”) for a three-song set that also paid loving tribute to the departed Neil Peart.

Taylor Momsen (The Pretty Reckless), Kim Thayil (Soundgarden), Krist Novoselic (Nirvana), Matt Cameron (Soundgarden/Pearl Jam), Foo Fighters: “The Day I Tried to Live”/”Black Hole Sun”

Possibly among the top three most powerful moments of the night, this two-song homage to Chris Cornell packed quite an emotional punch as another dual-themed tribute.

Seeing all these Seattle luminaries on the same stage was a dream, and Momsen proved she’s one of the most dynamic singers in rock with a performance that channeled the very much still-missed Cornell.

Queen’s Brian May & Roger Taylor ft. Foo Fighters, P!nk, Justin Hawkins: “We Will Rock You”/”I’m in Love with My Car”/”Under Pressure”/”Somebody to Love”/”Love of My Life”

Just as it was at Wembley, the Queen mini-set was a rousing finale to the “special guest” portion of the evening, which by this point was approaching midnight. There were few musical acts Taylor Hawkins loved more than Queen, whose songs frequently made the set list for his cover band concerts with Chevy Metal (which also performed earlier in the night with singers Kesha and Jon Davison of Yes).

The last few years of Foo Fighters gigs saw Hawkins sing lead on “Somebody to Love,” which added an element of melancholy when P!nk took over at the Forum:

While “We Will Rock You,” of course, was surreal to experience with Brian May and Roger Taylor in the building.

One of the most incredible moments of the Wembley show was May playing “Love of My Life” solo acoustic. He took a few minutes at the Forum to explain that he wasn’t planning on playing the song this time, due to its sad tones and having been written by the late Freddie Mercury — owing instead to the “celebratory” nature of this event.

But, May explained, Alison Hawkins reached out to ask him to play the song at the Forum, due to its history as a song she and Taylor danced to at their wedding.

The result was an emotional swell of a performance, cell phone lights held aloft by many in the venue for a simply unforgettable — and slightly overwhelming — moment.

Foo Fighters ft. various drummers (Travis Barker, Josh Freese, Matt Cameron, Brad Wilk, Pat Wilson, Omar Hakim, Rufus Taylor, Shane Hawkins, Chad Smith)

The marathon evening concluded with a 12-song set from Foo Fighters, joined by a host of drummer friends from throughout the evening. During “Best of You,” Rufus Taylor (Roger’s son and current live drummer with Queen) was visibly overcome with emotion for a few seconds, swept up in the whole thing, and it was hard to not feel the same way from the seats.

At one point, Dave Chappelle emerged from the shadows to sing Radiohead’s “Creep,” a surprise that has now happened a few times for the Foo Fighters in recent years. It was unexpected and rather fun:

The last three songs were the emphatic exclamation points to an already outstanding night: “My Hero” and “I’ll Stick Around,” with Taylor Hawkins’ teenage son, Shane Hawkins, channeling his dad at the kit:

While Chad Smith helped the band through a night-capping “Everlong” and all the emotional weight that entails:

From start to finish, the Taylor Hawkins tribute concert at the Kia Forum was a breathtaking, reverent salute to a larger-than-life musician, father, drummer and icon taken away far too soon. The energy in the room was undeniable, the enthusiasm contagious, the lifeblood connecting it all together — music — the driving force behind it all, weaving together artists from the past, present and future into a deeply resonant shared experience.

We know music has the ability to heal. Hopefully, both of these truly epic tribute concerts provide Foo Fighters, their fans and their extended families a chance to do just that.

These concerts might not bring Taylor Hawkins back, but they will allow his musical legacy to live on forever.

Rest in peace, Taylor Hawkins.

The set list for the Taylor Hawkins Tribute Concert, Sept. 27, 2022:

Violet Grohl
Hallelujah (Leonard Cohen cover) (with Alain Johannes)
Joan Jett + Foo Fighters
Cherry Bomb (The Runaways cover) (with Travis Barker)
Bad Reputation (Joan Jett and the Blackhearts cover) (with Travis Barker)
Chevy Metal
Riff Raff (AC/DC cover)
Owner of a Lonely Heart (Yes cover) (with Jon Davison)
“Heroes” (David Bowie cover) (with Kesha)
Justin Hawkins + Josh Freese + The Coattail Riders
Range Rover Bitch (Taylor Hawkins cover)
It’s Over (Taylor Hawkins & The Coattail Riders cover)
Something About You (Level 42 cover) (with Mark King)
I Believe in a Thing Called Love (The Darkness cover) (with Rufus Taylor)
James Gang
Walk Away (James Gang cover)
The Bomber: Closet Queen / Bolero / Cast Your Fate to the Wind (James Gang cover)
Funk #49 (James Gang cover) (with Dave Grohl)
Mark Ronson + Andrew Wyatt + Dave Grohl
Right Down the Line (Gerry Rafferty cover)
Them Crooked Vultures
Goodbye Yellow Brick Road (Elton John cover)
Dead End Friends (Them Crooked Vultures cover)
Long Slow Goodbye (Queens of the Stone Age cover)
Wolfgang Van Halen + Justin Hawkins + Josh Freese + Dave Grohl
Panama (Van Halen cover)
Hot for Teacher (Van Halen cover)
Def Leppard + Foo Fighters + Patrick Wilson
Rock of Ages (Def Leppard cover)
Photograph (Def Leppard cover) (with Miley Cyrus)
Nikki Sixx & Tommy Lee + Derek Day + Foo Fighters
Live Wire (Mötley Crüe cover)
Home Sweet Home (Mötley Crüe cover)
Elliot Easton + Josh Homme + Foo Fighters
Shake It Up (The Cars cover)
Just What I Needed (The Cars cover)
P!nk + Nancy Wilson + Foo Fighters
Barracuda (Heart cover) (with Jon Theodore)
Stewart Copeland + Foo Fighters
Next to You(The Police cover)
Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic
(The Police cover) (with Jon Davison)
Alanis Morissette + Foo Fighters
You Oughta Know (Alanis Morissette cover) (with Chad Smith)
Sebastian Bach + Geezer Butler + Lars Ulrich + Foo Fighters
Supernaut (Black Sabbath cover)
Paranoid (Black Sabbath cover)
Geddy Lee + Alex Lifeson
Jack Black – intro speech
2112 Part I: Overture (Rush cover) (with Dave Grohl)
Working Man (Rush cover) (with Chad Smith)
YYZ (Rush cover) (with Danny Carey)
Soundgarden + Taylor Momsen + Nirvana
The Day I Tried to Live (Soundgarden cover)
Black Hole Sun (Soundgarden cover)
Queen + Foo Fighters
We Will Rock You (Queen cover) (with Justin Hawkins)
I’m in Love With My Car (Queen cover) (Roger on vocals; Rufus Taylor on drums)
Under Pressure (Queen cover) (with Justin Hawkins)
Somebody to Love (Queen cover) (with P!nk)
Love of My Life (Queen cover) (Brian May solo acoustic)
Foo Fighters
All My Life (with Josh Freese)
The Pretender (Foo Fighters cover) (with Jon Theodore + P!nk)
Walk (Foo Fighters cover) (with Travis Barker)
Low (Foo Fighters cover) (with Matt Cameron)
This Is a Call (Foo Fighters cover) (with Brad Wilk)
The Sky Is a Neighborhood (Foo Fighters cover) (with Patrick Wilson)
Creep (Radiohead cover) (with Dave Chappelle and Patrick Wilson)
Run (Foo Fighters cover) (with Omar Hakim)
Best of You (Foo Fighters cover) (with Rufus Taylor)
My Hero (Foo Fighters cover) (with Oliver Shane Hawkins)
I’ll Stick Around (Foo Fighters cover) (with Oliver Shane Hawkins)
Everlong (Foo Fighters cover) (with Chad Smith)

Comments

  • James Qualls says:

    Well deserved, congratulations on the concert, inviting all of your favorite musicians to jam it up. Way to kick ass. From The host Foo Fighters to members of Def Leppard, Queen, Motley fool(oops Crue), Pink,Nancy Wilson from ❤️, even Joan Jett joining in. Great job not only in Los Angeles but London as well with Chrissie Hynde, among others. Well deserved 🤟🤟👏👏👏👏👏🎸🎸🎸🎸🎸😁😁😁😁😁



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