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Reading Memories: The Time I Heckled The Foo Fighters

I never heckle bands. I think I’ve maybe booed once (racist comments from a band, if I remember), and I certainly never bottle anyone (it’s pointless and ruins the fun of those who’ve paid an arm and leg to see their favourite band). Still, the one time I actually decided to heckle a band it happened to be Foo Fighters and more specifically Dave Grohl.

I still can’t quite remember exactly what I said, but I do remember the looks. There was a blonde girl slightly ahead of our group that gave us the dirtiest (not in the fun way) icey stare imaginable. It was as if a chasm had opened around us, as if we were penned in and circled by disapproving tuts and seething scowls. However, even as people stared me into stasis, I remember the underlying sense that behind their glares they wished they’d done the same.

The year was 2005. Kings Of Leon had just successfully upstaged Razorlight (a one off occurrence I’m sure) and the stage was set for a blistering Foo Fighters headline set to send everyone home happy. The Foos were big business at this point, but they weren’t oversaturated like they are today. Foo Fighters were a Reading band. They didn’t rotate between Isle Of Wight, V and Bowl dates every other year, and it really felt like a treat to have them back, and for 50 minutes, they were quite simply awesome.

And then it happened…2005 was the year the Foos released In Your Honor and everyone in attendance knew that at some point we’d be treated to a torturous acoustic section. Limp and unimaginative the second side of IYH wasn’t the Foos strongest material, and live, well, it sucked the air out of the set. Maybe I’d had one too many beers, maybe I sense the growing groans and the muted applause, but I snapped and at the quietest and most flaccid moment I shouted something as stupid as “Put The Fucking Acoustic Guitar Down Already”.

Hardly a brutal insult, but I managed to shatter the aura of unquestioned reverence that had descended upon Little John’s Farm. In truth the entire atmosphere had become unbearable, as if Reading had been overcome by panders, but thankfully the gig soon picked up pace as “This Is A Call”, “Break Out”, “For All The Cows”, and “Monkey Wrench” closed proceedings. The visceral Foo Fighters energy was back, and that awkward sense of quiet reserve was cast aside by the feral release of pent up angst. It was brilliant; the second best set of the entire Festival (The Pixies pipped them to the post) that delivered pretty much everything we could have hoped for. David Hayter



Author: david

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