Dave Grohl Reminds Us What We’re Missing

While the pandemic has brought every aspect of live entertainment to a screeching halt, the thing I miss most is rock concerts.

Going to rock shows is my pastime, be it in a bar, a small venue, a festival, amphitheater or arena. Like everyone else, I’ve had to sit helplessly on the sidelines while shows for which I had tickets got canceled or postponed.

As of this writing, no one other than the governor has any inkling when clubs and larger venues will be allowed to reopen, and when promoters can resume booking shows.

I have a feeling that the pressure to reopen football stadiums for college and professional games will be the driving the force that also brings back the concert industry in September.

Late summer and early fall is a great time for outdoor concerts, and shows that are on the books at that time are not being canceled – at least not yet.

But June is dead, July is falling fast, and August is not safe.

While I am eager for the concert industry to get back on its feet, I’m definitely not the only one.

Rock superstar Dave Grohl of the Foo Fighters is among those ready to restart the rock’n’roll.

Grohl, who spent part of his childhood in Warren (and who played an epic Record Store Day concert five years ago at The Record Connection in Niles), wrote an excellent essay that was published in The Atlantic on May 11.

Titled “the Day the Live Concert Returns,” it says it all – and eloquently. 

Grohl may be a rock star but he is first and foremost a fan,  and he talks about the communal experience that is shared between those on stage and in the audience at every concert. He knows all about that emotional buildup and release.

And leave it Dave to point out what a weak substitute an Internet performance is for the real thing:

“… the coronavirus pandemic has reduced today’s live music to unflattering little windows that look like doorbell security footage and sound like Neil Armstrong’s distorted transmissions from the moon, so stuttered and compressed…”

Personally, I got tired of watching livestreams of rockers strumming away from their basements about 72 hours into the shutdown.

So did Grohl:

“There is nothing like the energy and atmosphere of live music. It is the most life-affirming experience, to see your favorite performer onstage, in the flesh, rather than as a one-dimensional image glowing in your lap as you spiral down a midnight YouTube wormhole.”

Grohl also sees it from the fan’s perspective:

“As a lifelong concertgoer…I have been pressed against the cold front rail of an arena rock show. I have air-drummed along to my favorite songs in the rafters, and been crushed in the crowd, dancing to dangerous decibel levels while lost in the rhythm. I’ve been lifted and carried to the stage by total strangers for a glorious swan dive back into their sweaty embrace.”

In his essay in The Atlantic, Grohl also talks about something Bruce Springsteen said to him after catching a Foo Fighters concert. The Boss noticed Grohl’s connection to the crowd, and told him that the performer should see himself in each face looking up from the audience.

To which Grohl, in response, writes:

“I do see you… I see your homemade signs and your vintage T-shirts. I hear your laughter and your screams and I see your tears. I have seen you yawn (yeah, you), and I’ve watched you pass out drunk in your seat. I’ve seen you in hurricane-force winds, in 100-degree heat, in subzero temperatures. I have even seen some of you grow older and become parents, now with your children’s Day-Glo protective headphones bouncing on your shoulders.”

Well put, Mr. Grohl.

We’re looking forward to seeing you on Oct. 3, when the Foo Fighters play Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse in Cleveland – one of the rescheduled dates from the band’s postponed spring tour.