Foo Fighters Honor Taylor Hawkins with a Second Six-Hour Musical Lovefest in L.A.: Review

The post Foo Fighters Honor Taylor Hawkins with a Second Six-Hour Musical Lovefest in L.A.: Review appeared first on Consequence.

We’ve been at a collective loss since the passing of beloved and ultra-talented drummer Taylor Hawkins. The Foo Fighters staple had a place in the hearts of many inside the music world and outside of it — a piece to the grand puzzle that leaves it incomplete now that it’s gone.

As if the initial tribute show in London’s Wembley Stadium earlier this month wasn’t proof enough, another horde of Hawkins fans sold out The Kia Forum in Inglewood on Tuesday night (September 27th) with hearts swelling and energy flowing, not knowing exactly what laid ahead of them. For another six hours, as with Wembley, David Grohl and his rotating cast of guests rolled their way through some of Hawkins’ favorite tracks, as well as Foo Fighters classics. And while family was again an overarching theme of the night, so was connection, and the importance of maintaining it with the ones you loved.

Grohl made sure that in some form, connection was at the forefront of the accolades and memories he shared of Hawkins. “Everyone, in this room together, sharing all this love for Taylor,” he ruminated before Red Hot Chili Peppers’ Chad Smith sat behind the drum set one last time for show-closer “Everlong,” his face filled with a sadness shared across the artists and the musicians. You could hear it in the grievances and salutations each artist shared as well, reinforcing the size of Hawkins’ heart and everyone in it.

Even though the Foo Fighters themselves (with different drummers for each song) didn’t hit their discography until the last two hours, the show started at 7:00 p.m. promptly, with a beautiful rendition of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” from Grohl’s daughter Violet. Her voice was rich though her demeanor was low, likely a mixture of mourning and nerves.

Her dad followed after, taking the stage alone before the rest of the Foos slowly joined him. His emotion was apparent, his longing for his friend visible from even the highest seats. “What we really wanted to do was pay tribute to Taylor in a way that you could sort of spend some time in his musical mind, which could be a pretty terrifying place,” he chuckled after noting how the hometown show was certainly going to be loud. “But just as the show in London, we’ve all gathered here to celebrate this person that has touched our lives, whether from afar or for all of his friends and family and loved ones and musician buddies and heroes that are here tonight.”

Celebrate we did, finding lighthearted moments down the depths of beer cups. Joan Jett and Travis Barker were first up to the emotional bat, Jett admitting to the trouble she was going to have making it through her speech with a voice so gruff and marinated from her years of performing. She pulled it together, though, carrying Hawkins’ memory with her Barker-backed renditions of “Cherry Bomb” and “Bad Reputation.”

Taylor Hawkins tribute concert
Taylor Hawkins tribute concert

Editor's Pick

Foo Fighters’ Taylor Hawkins Tribute Concert Was a Cathartic Six-Hour Celebration of a Rock Legend


Hawkins’ son and drum legacy Shane was then welcomed warmly to introduce Hawkins’ band Chevy Metal. They started with a cover of AC/DC’s “Riff Raff” before Yes’s Jon Davidson joined them for “Owner of a Lonely Heart.” It was a familiar crowd favorite, like many left to come, but it was Kesha’s take on David Bowie’s “Heroes” that was a bit of a curveball. In typical Kesha fashion, she sauntered onto the stage in a silver bedazzled cape, matching bottoms and quite the interesting top, that later failed her by exposing what laid beneath it. She joked about how Taylor would’ve loved how they popped out, but the real pop came from her over-the-top approach to the song. It was loud, bombastic, and maybe not the best choice.

Equally extra, Justin Hawkins (no relation) of The Darkness and the first of his decorative leotards covered “Range Rover Bitch” and “It’s Over,” songs from Hawkins’ non-Foos’ collection with The Coattail Riders and Jon Freese (The Vandals, Devo) on drums. Of course “I Believe in a Thing Called Loved” was going to be in the mix somehow, warming up Justin’s vocals for the falsettos he’d be tackling later on in the show.

Changeovers in between sets made it easy for anticipation to build — especially if they were longer than two minutes — but they were always met with surprises. One of Hawkins’ favorite bands, according to Grohl, reunited for the sake of this show. Power trio James Gang did a mashup of their tracks, including “Walk Away” and “Funk #49.” That was a special thing they did for Hawkins, who Grohl also claims “was friends with every fuckin’ musician on earth.” (That was obvious, considering everyone who showed up for him.)

It was so easy to get swept up in the music that at times the reason we were all there almost glimmered away behind bright lights and lasers. But it didn’t take long for reminders to flood the room, like Josh Homme (Queens of the Stone Age, Them Crooked Vultures) singing Elton John’s “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road” before prompting the audience to shout at the top of their lungs “one time so Taylor can hear it.” Those were the loudest screams of the night.

Along with showing pictures of Hawkins throughout the years, the night was not only a trip down memory lane for the musicians who knew him, but it was also a trip down the nostalgia lane for those in the audience who got to witness some of their favorite artists doing their hits. Like the hair metal fans, who got an earful from Wolfgang Van Halen and co. taking on the namesake with “Panama” and “Hot For Teacher,” to Def Leppard doing “Rock of Ages” and “Photograph” (which featured a somewhat stammering Miley Cyrus), to Mötley Crüe’s “Live Wire” and “Home Sweet Home.”

The crowd rightfully rowdy, they started chanting Hawkins’s name to the beat of the “Let’s Go — !” sports hollers of stadiums. It cropped up a few more times throughout the night as a way to keep the energy alive as weariness, drunkenness and standing began to take their tolls. But after the room fell dark again, Alanis Morissette appeared on stage for “You Oughta Know,” her slap-in-the-face of a track that everyone shouted along to with Chad Smith pounding away behind the kit. Yet, when it was over, the visibly emotional Morissette gave everyone on stage big, tearful hugs as a photo of her and Hawkins shined on.

But energy was back in the most excited-dad manner thanks to two things: the combination of Sebastian Back, Geezer Butler and Lars Ulrich along with the Foos for covers of Sabbath’s “Supernaut” and “Paranoid,” and Jack Black, ushering in another one of Hawkins’ favorite bands under sharp blue lasers: RUSH. Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson, accompanied by Grohl and Tool’s Danny Carey, jammed in only a way that they could, with the type of progressive technicality that Hawkins absolutely adored. “2112 Part I: Overture” and “Working Man” were among their contributions, ending their slot with Hawkins’ favorite song “YYZ.”

Interestingly, though, the “Seattle” section of the show had another interesting choice in The Pretty Reckless’ Taylor Momsen. Though joined by Kim Thayil and Matt Cameron of Soundgarden — as well as Nirvana’s Krist Novoselic — she mumbled through “The Day I Tried To Live” and “Black Hole Sun” somberly. There were times when the strength of her vocals shown through, but her deep croon made it hard to decipher at points.

Not hard to make out, though, were the introductory notes to “We Will Rock You.” Justin Hawkins is back, this time in a green sequined jumpsuit, made for a good Freddie Mercury in this moment with Brian May and Roger Taylor in tow. “Under Pressure” was the true singalong, and P!nk garnered much audience participation during the breaks in “Somebody to Love.” Brian May pulled at everyone’s heartstrings though, sitting alone under a spotlight with an acoustic guitar. He shared how originally he didn’t want to play “Love of My Life,” but Hawkins’ wife Alison begged him to because it was their wedding song.

The room fell totally silent outside of a few awws and sniffles, until May’s request. “Let’s light up this beautiful forum for Taylor Hawkins,” he said, immediately followed by a sea of cellphone lights glimmering throughout the room. What was once pitch-black (save for a spotlight) turned into a dark field of fireflies glimmering as he played and sang softly.

If there was any a tear-jerking moment, it was that one, with his wife Alison and daughters solemnly walking out once the song was over. None of them spoke, but their silences said everything. After hugging May, Alison held her hands up as if calling to Hawkins in the sky. The crowd began their “Taylor Hawkins” chant again, as the cameras zoomed in to Alison, her kids, and others along the sidelines in a long, teared embrace.

It was a beautiful moment, followed by the audience attempting to manifest the Foos out with howls. A compilation video of Hawkins throughout his life played on the screens first, featuring everything from interviews to clips from his high school Battle of the Bands performance. Sobering, though beautiful in its display of his early defined dedication to drumming, musicianship and friendship.

Just after midnight, the crowd got their wish. The Foos came out hot with “All My Life” with Freese behind the kit. The pit became a place to pogo as people hopped along to it and “The Pretender.” Grohl mentioned how they’d being playing “Low,” a song that hardly ever makes it onto their setlists, because it was one of Hawkins’ favorites. As was Brad Wilk of Rage Against the Machine, who joined the Foos for “This is a Call” and Pat Wilson of Weezer, who backed “The Sky Is A Neighborhood” and the expectedly unexpected performance of Dave Chappelle singing Radiohead’s “Creep.” (Chappelle has done this on stage with The Foos (and in his off-time) before, but what we’re not used to seeing him do is cry.) Once the crowd helped him finish the song, he said a loving goodbye to Hawkins, before raising his fist in the air in salute, and wiping the tears off his face before slowly walking his way offstage. Grohl watched on, his only words being “bet you didn’t see that one coming.”

After much warranted praise of jazz drummer Omar Hakim, who blew kisses at the crowd before exploding the percussion on “Run,” the last four songs served as a good wrap. Rufus Tiger Taylor, drummer of The Darkness and son of Queen drummer Roger Taylor who popped in and out of sets throughout the night, went off on the kit for “Best of You.” There was an extended drum fill towards the end of the song that, at first glance, almost seemed like it was Hawkins himself playing with such force. At the end of the fill, Taylor hung his head down low and started crying in a moment of release and relief. Within a few seconds they finished the song, and he tossed his sticks into the crowd before running into the arms of the Hawkins family at the side of the stage.

Hawkins’ son Shane then tagged in and though excited a full of spritely energy, there was a glumness in the air of him playing “My Hero” (and “I’ll Stick Around,” for that matter). He killed and further proved his prowess in following in his father’s footsteps, but having him play it made the lyrics hit all the more harder.

After 11 songs, Grohl started his thank-you’s to the audience, while inviting Chad Smith back up. He mentioned how Smith and Hawkins were close friends; a statement Smith validated with evident despair on his face. Grohl wanted Smith to close the night out with them on “Everlong,” which of course was dedicated to Hawkins. Not one person was sitting nor silent, screaming along to every single lyric. Exhausted and tender, solace swept over the band once the song came to a close. “Thank you. We love you, Taylor,” Grohl said as the band lined up along the front of the stage to take a bow. They called out everyone else who performed, who hugged each other, waved and thank the crowd as well. They bowed together, the overhead lights burning brightly as if dawning a new day.

For as much as a tragic experience it was losing him, it was a joyous experience celebrating him, in a room full of people who understand his impact. Of all the ways to honor the loss of someone, the Foo Fighters sent their fallen friend off in the best way possible — deep within comfort of what brought them all together in the first place: music.

Check out our photo gallery and the full setlist from the evening below.

John Paul Jones
John Paul Jones

John Paul Jones, photo by Timothy Norris

Chevy Metal
Chevy Metal

Chevy Metal, photo by Andreas Neumann

Chevy Metal
Chevy Metal

Chevy Metal, photo by Danny Clinch

Them Crooked Vultures
Them Crooked Vultures

Them Crooked Vultures, photo by Andreas Neumann

Rush
Rush

Rush, photo by Andrew Stuart

Rush
Rush

Rush, photo by Andrew Stuart

P!nk and Nancy Wilson
P!nk and Nancy Wilson

P!nk and Nancy Wilson, photo by Timothy Norris

Nancy Wilson
Nancy Wilson

Nancy Wilson, photo by Timothy Norris

Foo Fighters
Foo Fighters

Foo Fighters, photo by Timothy Norris

Foo Fighters
Foo Fighters

Foo Fighters, photo by Timothy Norris

John Freese
John Freese

John Freese, photo by Timothy Norris

Chad Smith
Chad Smith

Chad Smith, photo by Andrew Stuart

James Gang
James Gang

James Gang, photo by Danny Clinch

rush taylor hawkins tribute
rush taylor hawkins tribute

RUSH's Geddy Lee and Tool's Danny Carey, photo by Andrew Stuart

James Gang
James Gang

James Gang, photo by Timothy Norris

Joan Jett
Joan Jett

Joan Jett, photo by Andrew Stuart

Joan Jett
Joan Jett

Joan Jett, photo by Timothy Norris

P!nk
P!nk

P!nk, photo Timothy Norris

Kesha
Kesha

Kesha, photo by Danny Clinch

Danny Clinch Kesha Foo Fighters Honor Taylor Hawkins with a Second Six Hour Musical Lovefest in L.A.: Review
Danny Clinch Kesha Foo Fighters Honor Taylor Hawkins with a Second Six Hour Musical Lovefest in L.A.: Review

Kesha, Danny Clinch

L1060817 Andreas Neumann Kesha Foo Fighters Honor Taylor Hawkins with a Second Six Hour Musical Lovefest in L.A.: Review
L1060817 Andreas Neumann Kesha Foo Fighters Honor Taylor Hawkins with a Second Six Hour Musical Lovefest in L.A.: Review

Kesha, photo by Andreas Neumann

Queen and P!nk
Queen and P!nk

Queen and P!nk, photo by Andrew Stuart

Queen
Queen

Queen, photo by Timothy Norris

Queen
Queen

Queen, photo by Marotta Aysia

Nancy Wilson and P!nk
Nancy Wilson and P!nk

Nancy Wilson and P!nk, photo by Timothy Noris

John Paul Jones
John Paul Jones
Chevy Metal
Chevy Metal
Chevy Metal
Chevy Metal
Them Crooked Vultures
Them Crooked Vultures
Rush
Rush
Rush
Rush
P!nk and Nancy Wilson
P!nk and Nancy Wilson
Nancy Wilson
Nancy Wilson
Foo Fighters
Foo Fighters
Foo Fighters
Foo Fighters
John Freese
John Freese
Chad Smith
Chad Smith
James Gang
James Gang
rush taylor hawkins tribute
rush taylor hawkins tribute
James Gang
James Gang
Joan Jett
Joan Jett
Joan Jett
Joan Jett
P!nk
P!nk
Kesha
Kesha
Danny Clinch Kesha Foo Fighters Honor Taylor Hawkins with a Second Six Hour Musical Lovefest in L.A.: Review
Danny Clinch Kesha Foo Fighters Honor Taylor Hawkins with a Second Six Hour Musical Lovefest in L.A.: Review
L1060817 Andreas Neumann Kesha Foo Fighters Honor Taylor Hawkins with a Second Six Hour Musical Lovefest in L.A.: Review
L1060817 Andreas Neumann Kesha Foo Fighters Honor Taylor Hawkins with a Second Six Hour Musical Lovefest in L.A.: Review
Queen and P!nk
Queen and P!nk
Queen
Queen
Queen
Queen
Nancy Wilson and P!nk
Nancy Wilson and P!nk

Setlist:

Violet Grohl with Alain Johannes – Hallelujah (Leonard Cohen)
Joan Jett and Foo Fighters – Cherry Bomb
Joan Jett, Foo Fighters, and Travis Barker – Bad Reputation
Chevy Metal – Riff Raff (AC/DC)
Chevy Metal with Jon Davidson – Owner of a Lonely Heart (Yes)
Chevy Metal with Kesha – “Heroes” (David Bowie)
The Coattail Riders with Justin Hawkins and Josh Freese – Range Rover Bitch
The Coattail Riders with Justin Hawkins and Josh Freese – It’s Over
The Coattail Riders with Justin Hawkins, Josh Freese, and Mark King – Something About You (Level 42)
The Coattail Riders with Justin Hawkins, Josh Freese, and Rufus Taylor – I Believe in a Thing Called Love (The Darkness)
James Gang – Walk Away
James Gang – The Bomber: Closet Queen / Bolero / Cast Your Fate to the Wind
James Gang with Dave Grohl – Funk #49
Mark Ronson, Andrew Wyatt, and Dave Grohl – Right Down the Line (Gerry Rafferty)
Them Crooked Vultures – Goodbye Yellow Brick Road (Elton John)
Them Crooked Vultures – Dead End Friends
Them Crooked Vultures – Long Slow Goodbye (Queens of the Stone Rage)
Wolfgang Van Halen, Justin Hawkins, Josh Freese, and Dave Grohl – Panama (Van Halen)
Wolfgang Van Halen, Justin Hawkins, Josh Freese, and Dave Grohl – Hot for Teacher (Van Halen)
Def Leppard, Foo Fighters, and Patrick Wilson – Rock of Ages
Def Leppard, Miley Cyrus, Foo Fighters, and Patrick Wilson – Photograph
Mötley Crüe and Foo Fighters – Live Wire
Mötley Crüe and Foo Fighters – Home Sweet Home
Josh Homme, Elliot Easton, and Foo Fighters – Shake It Up (The Cars)
Josh Homme, Elliot Easton, and Foo Fighters – Just What I Needed (The Cars)
Pink, Nancy Wilson, and Foo Fighters – Barracuda (Heart)
Stewart Copeland and Foo Fighters – Next to You (The Police)
Stewart Copeland, Foo Fighters, and Jon Davidson – Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic (The Police)
Alanis Morissette, Foo Fighters, and Chad Smith – You Oughta Know
Sebastian Bach, Geezer Butler, Lars Ulrich, and Foo Fighters – Supernaut (Black Sabbath)
Sebastian Bach, Geezer Butler, Lars Ulrich, and Foo Fighters – Paranoid (Black Sabbath)
Geddy Lee, Alex Lifeson, and Dave Grohl – 2112 Part I: Overture (RUSH)
Geddy Lee, Alex Lifeson, and Chad Smith – Working Man (RUSH)
Geddy Lee, Alex Lifeson, and Danny Carey – YYZ (RUSH)
Taylor Momsen, Kim Thayil, Matt Cameron, Krist Novoselic, Dave Grohl, Pat Smear – The Day I Tried to Live (Soundgarden)
Taylor Momsen, Kim Thayil, Matt Cameron, Krist Novoselic, Dave Grohl, Pat Smear – Black Hole Sun (Soundgarden)
Brian May, Roger Taylor, Foo Fighters, and Justin Hawkins – We Will Rock You (Queen)
Brian May, Roger Taylor, Foo Fighters, and Rufus Taylor – I’m in Love with My Car (Queen)
Brian May, Roger Taylor, Foo Fighters, and Justin Hawkins – Under Pressure (Queen)
Brian May, Roger Taylor, Foo Fighters, and Pink – Somebody to Love (Queen)
Brian May – Love of My Life (Queen)
Foo Fighters with Josh Freese – All My Life
Foo Fighters with Jon Theodore and Pink – The Pretender
Foo Fighters with Travis Barker – Walk
Foo Fighters with Matt Cameron – Low
Foo Fighters with Brad Wilk – This Is a Call
Foo Fighters with Patrick Wilson – The Sky Is a Neighborhood
Foo Fighters with Patrick Wilson and Dave Chappelle – Creep (Radiohead)
Foo Fighters with Rufus Taylor – Best of You
Foo Fighters with Shane Hawkins – My Hero
Foo Fighters with Shane Hawkins – I’ll Stick Around
Foo Fighters with Chad Smith – Everlong

Foo Fighters Honor Taylor Hawkins with a Second Six-Hour Musical Lovefest in L.A.: Review
Cervanté Pope

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