I Saw Them Live! Memories From a Foo Fighters Show

With the release of their eighth studio album Sonic Highways this week, Rust Is Just Right is celebrating with a week devoted to the Foo Fighters.  Today, we reminisce about a favorite concert memory from a Foo Fighters show.

I’ve seen the Foo Fighters live a couple of times over the years, and each time they put on a great show.  I have to give a lot of credit to a band that’s willing to make a stop in Salem instead of skipping over it just to play Portland, even if it means that they have to perform in the footlocker known as the Armory.  That show in particular will always have a special place in my memory as it was the day after my friends and I graduated from high school, and we had one last party together before breaking off for the summer and going our separate ways to different colleges.

But it’s a different concert that’s the focus of our new feature, one the Foos played a couple of years later up in Portland.  Before the show, I had read an interview that Dave Grohl did for Rolling Stone magazine, and he had mentioned that one of the things that he was most appreciative of after ten years of touring with the Foo Fighters was the fact that people in the crowd had stopped throwing Mentos at the band.  If you are unaware of the reason why this was a common occurrence, then you need to take two minutes and watch the video for “Big Me”, helpfully embedded above.  It is well worth your time.  Of course, being the young knuckleheads that we were, my friends and I decided to take this as a challenge, and made sure to purchase rolls of Mentos before the show.  Was it to prove that we were true fans, dating back to the earliest days of the group, or was it just because we were assholes?  The truth, as always, lay somewhere in between.

Our initial plan was to of course wait to see if on the off chance the band decided to play “Big Me”, then we would unleash hell and launch our supply of Mentos at the band.  As the set went on, we were pleased to enjoy a number of the Foos’ greatest hits as well as their hilarious stage banter, but we soon began to get antsy about releasing our payload.  The band was reaching the end of its set, and the three of us reached a consensus that we would start tossing Mentos if the band played anything off their debut album.  The problem was that at this point there were far too many songs off their subsequent releases that required their attention, so there was no guarantee that we would have our opportunity.  The Foos reached their encore, and we weren’t sure how much longer the show would go on, so we decided to start our assault during “Breakout”.

I began tossing individual Mentos as soon as the song started, as did one of my other friends.  Unfortunately, we were just a bit too far away from the stage (we did not have any interest in engaging in any sorts of mosh-pit behavior, so we kept our distance), and our volleys were not reaching the stage.  Nonetheless, we kept picking our spots and tossing candies when an opening developed.  However, one of our friends kept waiting for an opportunity before deciding to strike.  Now, I should tell you that this friend will soon be referred to as “Dr.” due to his eventual completion of his Ph.D. in Physics, so he had a better plan of attack than us.  While my friend and I were encountering the problem of wind resistance as tossed individual candies at the band, our friend quickly solved the problem by refusing to toss individual candies, but instead giving a heave of the entire stick of Mentos at once.

My friend, despite possessing only a small percentage of the average arm strength of an adult male, managed to hit Dave Grohl in the shoulder with his stick of Mentos.

Dave of course was surprised at being hit by the unknown object, and mouthed the words “What the fuck?” as he looked around the stage to see what had struck him.  It took him a second, but he identified the object, and gave a quick chuckle as he continued playing the guitar.  He then reached down, picked up the stick of Mentos and…proceeded to use it as a slide during the bridge of “Breakout”.

It was an unbelievable combination of coincidences, but our juvenile escapades resulted in a truly unforgettable concert moment.  The rest of the audience probably had no idea exactly what it was that Dave Grohl had in his hand that he was using to run up and down the neck of his guitar, but the three of us certainly did.  It could not have gone better if we had planned it.

The Foo Fighters then finished the set with “Monkey Wrench” and it was awesome.


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