Dave Grohl and the Foo Fighters should, by all rights, be well past the point of media saturation. He and/or they are everywhere: on David Letterman's last show, in the 2015 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame ceremony, and in documentaries about Tower Records (All Things Must Pass) and Devo (Are We Not Men?). Grohl plays himself in Denis Leary's rock satire Sex&Drugs&Rock&Roll and directs and stars in the Sonic Highways series.
But at Monday's sold-out show at Camden's Susquehanna Bank Center, the audience was anything but tired of the Foos. The crowd sounded as if it would have been happy for Grohl to move in and whisper and/or scream out his feelings all the time. The Foo Fighters have earned such loyalty. They have played harder, with more devoted, anthemic rock bliss, than any band this decade. Surely, they'll do likewise when they return to the Susq for a second consecutive Monday on July 13.
Grohl's vocals, soft and loud, were by turns passionate, playful, and angry - but never too angry, even in the downcast disgust of "My Hero," done as an acoustic number. Grohl's growl - rock's best at going from murmur to white-hot shriek - was at its peak throughout the shredding "All My Life."
Because of his recent fall off a stage in Sweden, breaking his leg (and rechristening the interrupted tour the Broken Leg Tour), Grohl sat on a gigantic, lit-up throne. But he still rocked out. His hair flailed and stuck to his beard. He cooed on the coarse-yet-clarion "Learn to Fly" and the hypnotic, psychedelic "Aurora." He's a showman, and the Foos - particularly Taylor Hawkins' muscular, lightning, steroidal drum fills - raged with turn-on-a-dime unity. The band bridged the chasm between the garage-grunge '90s and all classic rock that came before.
The busted leg never halted Grohl's upper-body movement, plaintive howl, or volcanic shouts. The emotive "Everlong" contained one raw platitude - "If everything could ever feel this real forever/If anything could ever be this good again" - that's surely a prom-dance theme. The ruminative adolescent anthem "Monkey Wrench," with its "What have we done with innocence?" chorus, is bumpersticker-ready. The post-teen tenderness and camaraderie of "Times Like These" were especially poignant in the band's acoustic version. "Congregation" and "Something From Nothing," both from the Fighters' most recent album, Sonic Highways, spoke loudly, with an arena-rock air, about the necessary union among diverse musical worlds. Good stuff.