Foo Fighters are Reading legends. First of all they inherited Dave Grohl’s legacy after his Nirvana days, but have now more than earned the right for themselves. Since receiving a huge crowd headlining the (then) Melody Maker Stage in 1995, the Foos have shot up the Reading lineup before finally headlining ten years ago in 2002.
There were rumours: since they had been given a three hour slot, they might introduce some special guests, but as it turned out, they had no guests, and only played for two and a half. So would this be a disappointing way to end the weekend?
In short, no. Foo Fighters pulled off one of the best sets of the weekend, if not the best set of the weekend. Opening up switching between singles from Wasting Light and old classics including “All My Life”, “My Hero”, and “Breakout”, the crowd were immediately drawn in. I was standing to the left in line with the Vodaphone stand, and even there the crowd was packed and seemed to go on for miles, everyone singing along to every word, hypnotised by the band’s presence. It was one hell of a way to kick off the gig, and the performance was incredibly tight. You had to feel sorry for the likes of Justice, as it seemed that everybody in attendance was in front of the main stage that night.
The appearance on the last night of the festival was especially poignant due to it being the 20th anniversary of the last show Nirvana ever played in England (at Reading). Recognised by Grohl before a particularly emotional version of “These Days”, he dedicated the song to two friends who unfortunately couldn’t be with them that day, ‘Krist and Kurt’. Not to bring the mood down, however, the band launched straight into “Monkey Wrench”, and after a moment of silence, the crowd were dancing and singing along – normal service resumed.
Throughout a set filled with classics, it was evident that the Foos had the crowd in the palm of their hands, especially at moments (which may have been too frequent, and would probably be the only possible criticism of the set) where the band would completely stop. However, this never meant silence, instead these pauses created a chorus of chanting and applause that seemed to be soaked up by the band and used to their advantage.
As well as a number of songs that had been absent from setlists for years, including “Exhausted”, which was greeted by an ecstatic scream and violent shaking from a man just in front of me. The set ended, as always, on “Everlong” – the conclusion of which was met by fireworks, the release of confetti and ‘Foo Fighters dollars’. A more or less flawless set to end the weekend, which will be remembered by all in attendance. Kyle Prangnell