By Robin GOLDSWORTHY
The Foos are leaving town. The rockers ended the North American portion of their Sonic Highways world tour at Lake Castaic on Sunday as part of the Love Ride 32 – Grand Finale.
Thousands packed the grounds surrounding the temporary stage that served not only the Foo Fighters but also Social Distortion and American Hitmen.
American Hitmen, founded by brothers Tim and Dan Cord, are also combat veterans who lend an authenticity to their music that resonated with the crowd on Sunday – many attending in support of the Wounded Warrior Project for which the funds raised from the Love Ride were dedicated.
Taking the stage after American Hitmen were punk rockers Social Distortion – who are celebrating the 25th anniversary of their self-titled album – and who were happy to find themselves on the same ticket with the Foo Fighters for the Love Ride Grand Finale.
“We’ve wanted to be a part of the Love Ride for years now, so we are stoked that our friends the Foo Fighters asked us to be involved for the final ride, which makes it bittersweet …” said lead singer Mike Ness on the SD website.
In between songs including “Ball and Chain,” Ness also praised the Wounded Warrior Project and Love Ride founder Oliver Shokouh.
Then it was time for the main event. Taking the stage, the Foo Fighters were greeted with cheers and screams – a fitting welcome for a mega-band like the Foos.
The size of the crowd seemed to catch lead singer Dave Grohl – who ambled onto the stage wearing a medical boot to accommodate a healing broken leg – by surprise.
“My god, there’s a lot of you,” he shouted after mounting his “throne,” which has been onstage with him at almost every performance since he broke his leg in Sweden in June. For Sunday’s performance, the throne was outfitted with a Harley-Davidson-type motorcycle fork in celebration of the Love Ride Grand Finale. But the lack of pedestrian motion didn’t slow down the Foos’ lead singer who launched energetically into “Learn to Fly” – accompanied by thousands of fans who knew this signature song by heart.
Knowing what their fans want, the Foo Fighters belted out favorite after favorite including “The Pretender” and “Times Like These” with drummer Taylor Hawkins attacking his kit in a fever, his never-say-die smile firmly planted on his face.
But if nothing else, the Foo Fighters are eager to take listeners on a journey that recalls the best of the past. Such was the case when Ratt drummer Bobby Blotzer took over the drums for the Queen classic, “Tie Your Mother Down” giving Hawkins the chance to exercise his vocals. The crowd was explosive in its approval of the cover and others including “Stay With Me,” “Ain’t Talkin’ About Love” and “Miss You.”
Having the last North American concert of the Foo Fighters’ Sonic Highways World Tour coincide with the Love Ride 32 – Grand Finale was a fitting tribute to a ride that has helped thousands over the years making Sunday’s concert one few will ever forget.