How much rock is too much rock? It’s an interesting question and the answer probably depends on a lot of variables. Last week’s balls-to-the-wall, all-out rock spectacle featuring Biffy Clyro, Motor- head and the headlining Foo Fighters – one of the most epic rock concerts to grace the stage at Verizon in recent memory – bordered on too much.
Unfortunately, I arrived too late for Clyro, but just in time for Motorhead. The Brit-based band came out swinging, opening up with the hard-charging trifecta of “Iron Fist,” “Stay Clean” and “Get Back in Line.” Lemmy Kilmster’s driving bass-lines bludgeoned the crowd underneath scalding guitar leads. The band closed the set with “Overkill,” just after Lemmy said his goodbyes, raised his fist and proudly shouted – lest anyone leave confused – “We are Motorhead. And we play rock and fucking roll!”
Kilmster’s band plays about as hard and fast as you possibly can without crossing over into true metal, all the while maintaining a soul that most thrash bands lack. The only problem with its set was that it wasn’t long enough. I’ve never been so sad to see an opening band leave the stage.
The Foo Fighters started off with “Bridge Burning” and “Rope,” the first two cuts off their newest album, followed by 2007’s “The Pretender,” before launching into a blistering version of their now-classic “My Hero.” Dave Grohl demanded the crowd’s participation, as if he had to ask.
At just under 6,000, the turnout wasn’t what you might have expected for one of the world’s biggest rock bands, but every person seemed to be screaming their lungs out, responding to Grohl’s every word, taunt, joke and headbang.
The volume and energy coming from that stage was like nothing I’ve ever seen before and the band somehow sustained it throughout. Grohl and company ripped through every song; even slower tunes like “Learn to Fly” turned into string thrashing, tom-pounding jams that produced a wall of sound.
Grohl said they were going to play forever, embracing and even poking a little fun at the band’s super rock stardom, saying it was going to take awhile to get through all the band’s “fucking hits.”
One of the highlights came when Lemmy strolled to the stage to join the band on “Probot.” Kilmster was wearing what looked like jeggings tucked into tall, black motorcycle boots and sporting a bulge the size of a Spalding football.
The Fighters played everything you’d expect and even some you didn’t (like covers of Alice Cooper’s “School’s Out” and Queen’s “Tie Your Mother Down”) for an exhausting nearly three-hours-long set. The band broke only for one encore and a three-song set of acoustic tunes featuring only Grohl.
After a rocking version of “Everlong” to close the set out, I left hoarse from the screaming, sore from the jumping up and down and feeling as though I’d exercised some sort of rock demon that had carved out a crawl space somewhere deep inside. Four hours of straight, pure rock and roll will do that to you.
Was it too much? Almost. Was it one of the greatest rock shows Little Rock’s ever seen? Without a doubt.
— Gerard Matthews