5. “Next Year” (2000-2003)
Bizarrely “Next Year” dropped out of Foo Fighters routine quite quickly, and never quite held the same staple status as “My Hero”. This is a great shame. “My Hero” is a real rousing sing-along, but “Next Year” provided a soothing moment that proved definitively that Dave Grohl could be tender and gentle, holding the stage without 80,000 voices at his back. Today’s sets are often loaded with crowd interaction gimmicks and guitar licks, and the band always feel like they’re putting on a show, but back in the early 2000s the Foos appeared genuinely isolated and even vulnerable up on stage when they chose to unleash “Next Year”.
4. “The Pretender” (2007-Present)
The Foos have an astonishing ability to replenish their ranks. The minute it feels like they’re live catalogue is getting a little stale, or even cliché, they summon a monstrous track that decimates everything that stood before it. Buoyant and defiant till the last, “The Pretender” allows crowds across the world to scream their worries away and brazenly state their independence with one feral roar: “What If I Say I’m Not Like The Others”.
Personally, I remember seeing the Foos perform “The Pretender” less than a week after its UK release at V Festival 2007, and it was astounding to see how completely and willingly are largely unfamiliar audience gave themselves over to this new anthem. Expect this track to creep up this list in the years to come.
3. “Stacked Actors” (2000-2003)
“Stacked Actors” has never really dropped out of The Foos’ setlists but it isn’t quite the tyrannical anthem that it once was. At the height of its powers, in the early 2000s, it was the band’s ultimate tease and denial track, with its winding sleazy lead riff and its bruising and completely unforgiving chorus. Like “Breakout”, The Foos would have a lot of fun with this track: playing weird intros, employing quirky effects, and delivering the verse in a variety of silly voices, often with importune hula dancing. “Stacked Actors” was wild, a genuine treat, that was always at the mercy of band’s mood on any given night.
2. “Monkey Wrench” (1997-2005)
This was an inevitability, until our No.1 came along “Monkey Wrench” was the Foo Fighters’ track and the highlight of practically every gig. The guitar work hurtles downhill creating a slashing sense of momentum that gradually builds up through another classic Foos chorus to that barbaric finale.
Honestly who doesn’t relish screaming: One last thing before I quit, I never wanted anymore than I could fit into my head, I still remember every single word you said, and all the shit that somehow came along with it. Still there’s one thing that comforts me, since I was always caged and now I’m freeeeeeeeeee-ah?
1. “All My Life” (2002-Present)
Unlike every other track on this list “All My Life” has never really had a golden age. The Foos have never really fucked around with it. “All My Life” has always spoken for itself, whether it opened or closed the show. To this day it remains one of the most intense and brutal records the Foos have never realized. So much of its power comes from the track’s core unpleasantness. This isn’t the happy go lucky Foos, there are no ironic jokes, this is as nasty as they get. Of course even at their most visceral and unrepentant the Foos still write ginormous stadium anthems, and despite being so uncomfortable and skin crawling personal, “All My Life” still plays out on the biggest stage imaginable.