Live: Queen and Rush join Foo Fighters at Taylor Hawkins tribute
“Dave Grohl is the heart of the Foo Fighters, but Taylor Hawkins was the rock star,” read the Times headline after Hawkins died on March 25 at the age of 50. Six months later, those feelings ring truer than ever.
Tonight at the Kia Forum, the Foo Fighters and the Hawkins family will perform the second all-star tribute concert to the late drummer, some 50 miles from Laguna Beach, where Hawkins began banging on a kit and dreaming of rock stardom. . On September 3 at Wembley Stadium in London, rockers such as Liam Gallagher, Josh Homme, Wolfgang Van Halen, Travis Barker and Paul McCartney all paid tribute to the music; Hawkins’ son Shane, a powerhouse drummer like his father, joined the Foos on “My Hero” and brought the crowd to tears, live and watching via stream around the world.
Guests expected tonight include Stewart Copeland, Miley Cyrus, Joan Jett, Geddy Lee, Alex Lifeson, Brian May, Alanis Morissette, Mark Ronson, Gene Simmons, Nikki Sixx, Chad Smith and Roger Taylor. Although the Kia Forum show is not streaming, The Times’ Mikael Wood will report live just before 7 p.m.
6:43 p.m. Greetings from the Kia Forum, where thousands of Foo Fighters fans rush into the arena ahead of what promises to be a long, emotional evening. Outside the building, people write messages for Hawkins on sticky notes and attach them to a large mural. Among the tributes: “Fly on, Hawk” and “F— yeah! You inspired a generation.
Los Angeles fan Adriana Cuellar said she’s been a Hawkins fan since she was 14. “And I’m 41 now – do the math.” The news of Hawkins’ death came as a shock, she said. But tonight she can’t wait to see “Foo Fighters return to the stage, still playing as a band – continuing without Taylor but keeping her memory alive.”
7 p.m. The Foo Fighters have a history in the Forum. I remember seeing the band here in 2015, shortly after Dave Grohl broke his leg and was playing shows sitting in a “Game of Thrones” style chair. That night, Hawkins said he had come to see Boston in 1986, while Grohl told the crowd that guitarist Pat Smear’s first concert was at The Forum: a 1972 Rolling Stones concert with Stevie Wonder. in the first part.
7:06 p.m. The lights went out and Grohl’s 16-year-old daughter, Violet, took the stage for a rendition of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” (via Jeff Buckley), accompanied only by an electric guitarist. A warm welcome for an evening of mourning and gratitude.
7:13 p.m. The Foo Fighters are on stage. “Welcome to the Los Angeles Taylor Hawkins tribute concert,” announces Dave Grohl. “It’s hometown s—, so you gotta do it hard.” Grohl says the idea of tonight’s show is “to spend time in [Hawkins’] musical spirit, which could be a pretty terrifying place” and to “celebrate this person who touched our lives”.
7:16 p.m. Backed by the Foo Fighters, with Travis Barker on drums, Joan Jett sings — well, growls — The Runaways’ “Cherry Bomb.”
7:20 p.m. Foo Fighters and the Forum warned people that tonight’s show would start on time, and the message clearly got through: In nearly two decades of gigging in Los Angeles, I’ve never seen this place this packed before. 8 p.m.
7:26 p.m. Hawkins’ 16-year-old son Shane just introduced Chevy Metal, his dad’s classic rock cover band. “I’m really nervous,” Shane says, calling the band “one of the best f– cover bands I’ve ever heard in my life.” They rip Led Zeppelin’s “Rock and Roll”.
7:31 p.m. Jon Davison, who sings in the current version of veteran prog-rock band Yes, has joined Chevy Metal and is hitting everything the high notes of “Owner of a Lonely Heart”.
7:38 p.m. For Chevy Metal’s final track – and I have to say they were joined throughout their set by Foo Fighters producer Greg Kurstin on the keys – Kesha sings David Bowie’s “Heroes” while wearing a shimmering silver cape . A big swing, and she connects – wardrobe malfunction and all. “I don’t want to shed light on this situation,” she says, “but Taylor would have loved for my ts to fall.”
7:46 p.m. from Hawkins other Another band, the Coattail Riders, play originals — including, uh, “Range Rover Bitch” — with lead vocals from no-one brother Justin Hawkins of British glam-rock band The Darkness.
7:56 p.m. Justin Hawkins introduces “one of Taylor’s favorite musicians – a bass behemoth, the man with the thumbs of glory”: Level 42’s Mark King, who slaps the ever-living devil of the funk band’s “Something About You”- British pop with the Coattail Riders.
8:04 p.m. Justin Hawkins brought out Darkness drummer Rufus Taylor for the band’s 2003 classic “I Believe in a Thing Called Love” – a pop-metal banger that sounds like it was written to fulfill a Dave Grohl mission.
8:10 p.m. “We’re just getting started,” says Dave Grohl introducing Joe Walsh and the James Gang.
8:28 p.m. Smiling like a kid who opened his Christmas presents early, Grohl sits on drums with Walsh and the James Gang for the ’70s riff-tastic jam “Funk #49.”
8:31 p.m. Walsh, speaking in his cave genius cadence, recounts a time when Taylor Hawkins asked him if all the crazy stories about him on the road were true.
“Yes,” he answered.
8:38 p.m. “Taylor was friends with every f— musician on earth,” Grohl says as he brings Mark Ronson onstage. And as if to prove it, Ronson – the producer and “Uptown Funk” hitmaker – does a very fluid rendition of Gerry Rafferty’s “Right Down the Line” with a band consisting of Grohl, Roger Manning of Jellyfish and Andrew Wyatt of Miike Snow.
8:47 p.m.. “We are Them Crooked Vultures,” says Josh Homme, flanked by Grohl, Alain Johannes and John Paul Jones of Led Zeppelin. “It’s an Elton John song. I don’t know why we’re playing it, but we’re about to. Then the long-mothballed power-grunge outfit slips into ‘Goodbye Yellow Brick Road’ .
8:53 p.m. “Knowing Taylor for over twenty years, he would have loved that,” Homme says before leading Them Crooked Vultures through “Long Slow Goodbye,” a song by his main band, Queens of the Stone Age.
9:04 p.m. A rare turn on bass from Grohl as he leads a band with Justin Hawkins of The Darkness, drummer Josh Freese and guitarist Wolfgang Van Halen – son of the late Eddie Van Halen – through a fevered take on the pop-metal classic” Panama”.
9:08 p.m. Van Halen’s cult following continues with a faithfully sordid take on “Hot for Teacher,” with Justin Hawkins floating across the stage in a hot pink Sunset Strip-era Diamond Dave bodysuit.
9:18 p.m. Foos guitarist Pat Smear says he came to the Forum in 1983 to see “that band” – which turns out to be Def Leppard. Now, the British pop-metal veterans unleash “Rock of Ages” with the help of several Foos, including Grohl and Smear on guitar.
Bonus: Here’s the audio of Def Lep playing “Rock of Ages” at that 1983 Forum gig:
9:22 p.m. Joining the party – a peroxide blonde to match Def Lep’s Joe Elliott – was joined by Miley Cyrus for a jaw-dropping “Photography”.
9:27 p.m. Dave Grohl: “You can’t really play a gig in LA without these guys jamming with you.”
These guys = Mötley Crüe’s Nikki Sixx and a shirtless, crazy-eyed Tommy Lee, plus vocalist Derek Day, for perhaps the definitive ’80s hair-metal ballad, “Home Sweet Home.”
9:43 p.m. The Cars’ Elliot Easton now plays with the Foo Fighters and Josh Homme on the New Wave classic “Shake It Up.” Gen Xers in the house are pump. Gen Z-ers are confused.
“Just What I Needed” sounds very, very good for this Gen X-er. Shout out to the female backing vocalists of the Foo Fighters, aided here by Violet Grohl.
9:49 p.m. A spontaneous “Taylor Hawkins” chant rises in the crowd.
9:55 p.m. “It’s like a revolving door of rock heroes tonight,” Grohl says, bringing out Pink, Nancy Wilson of Heart and drummer Jon Theodore (currently of Queens of the Stone Age and formerly of Mars Volta) for a thunderous version. from Heart’s “Barracuda.
Pink. East. Murder. This.
10:07 p.m. Grohl tells the crowd about his first encounter with Hawkins — they first met backstage at an almost acoustic KROQ-FM Christmas — before introducing drummer Stewart Copeland, who joins Foo Fighters for a punky blitz at through the police’s “Next to You”.
10:16 p.m. Hardcore Hawkins fans know the drummer played for Alanis Morissette before Grohl hired him for the Foo Fighters, and now Morissette sings his immortal “You Oughta Know” with the Foos and guest drummer Chad Smith of Red Hot Chili. Peppers, who is carrying a baseball upside down. cap (obviously) and a black Bad Company t-shirt.
10:20 p.m. The musicians who may have shaped Hawkins’ life the most – Grohl and Morissette – share a long, deep embrace before Morissette leaves the stage.
10:25 p.m. “I have to say – this show compared to the London show, this f— s— rock a little louder,” Grohl told the crowd before a true hard-rock supergroup hit the stage.
Skid Row’s Sebastian Bach, Black Sabbath’s Geezer Butler, and Metallica’s Lars Ulrich rip Sabbath’s “Supernaut” with help from various Foos.
10:38 p.m. Jack Black is on stage in his “Jumanji” movie mode with a crazy beard to introduce Rush.
10:51 p.m. Rush — minus his own drummer, Neil Peart, who died in 2020 — plays “Working Man” with Chad Smith and “YYZ” with Tool’s Danny Carey. We have officially entered the long instrumental portion of the show.
11:09 p.m. A handful of grunge survivors — including Soundgarden’s Matt Cameron and Nirvana’s Kim Thayil and Krist Novoselic — do Soundgarden’s “The Day I Tried to Live” and “Black Hole Sun” with the ravaged lead vocals of Pretty Reckless’ Taylor Momsen ( and TV shows “Gossip Girl”), who also took part in a tribute to the late Soundgarden singer Chris Cornell at The Forum in 2019.
11:13 p.m. “I haven’t prepared a speech for this part of the show,” Grohl says, “So I’ll just say: Ladies and gentlemen, Queen.”
11:22 p.m. Queen — that’s guitarist Brian May and drummer Roger Taylor, plus members of Foo Fighters — open with “We Will Rock You,” featuring The Darkness’ Justin Hawkins doing his cutest Freddie Mercury in an emerald green bodysuit.
11:32 p.m. Pink is back on stage with Queen to sing “Somebody to Love,” which Taylor Hawkins used to sing on the Foo Fighters live show. “I want to hear everyone here!” she says to the crowd, and she’s about to hear that.