Foo Fighters Are Learning to Walk Again Following Death of Taylor Hawkins
"Without Taylor, we never would have become the band that we were — and without Taylor, we know that we're going to be a different band going forward," Foo Fighters wrote at the end of 2022, several months after the death of longtime drummer Taylor Hawkins.
But, they're learning to walk again.
In early 2023, Foos announced a handful of performances that were scheduled to take place throughout the year. Over the months that followed, that itinerary of concerts grew more and more. But we still didn't know who would play drums in place of Hawkins.
Throughout early April, the rockers posted teaser clips of what appeared to be a new song, and that song, "Rescued," came out in the middle of the month. It was their first release without Hawkins since their sophomore album The Colour and the Shape came out in 1997, and many fans speculated that it was Dave Grohl behind the kit on the new song.
It was, and the release of the song coincided with the announcement of their forthcoming album But Here We Are, which will be out this Friday (June 2). They've dropped a few more songs since then — "Under You," "Show Me How" and "The Teacher," all of which seem to reference the loss of Hawkins in one way or another. But as emotional as the tracks are on their own, they still don't prepare listeners for the sense of grief they'll likely feel while seeing the band play live.
Just before their first show of 2023, which took place in Gilford, New Hampshire on May 24, Josh Freese was revealed as the band's new touring drummer. Loudwire attended their second show of the year, which was two nights later at the Boston Calling festival. They performed on the main stage for two hours, closing out the first night on a strong note.
Foos opened the night with "Rescued," and Freese's thunderous drumming captured the essence of Grohl's studio performance exceptionally well. He sat behind a massive drum kit, and was given the spotlight various times throughout the show, playing both confidently and humbly at the same time. The audience responded to his new role in the group with roars of approval, and he simply thanked them with a big smile.
The show felt more or less the same as past Foo Fighters performances, with everyone smiling onstage, even Grohl — who still danced around with his guitar and made jokes the way he always had. But Hawkins' absence was definitely felt, and the crowd went silent every time Grohl spoke, as if they were anticipating him to mention his late bandmate.
And he eventually did.
"It's different now, to see you, to sing these songs to you, because a lot of them mean something new now," the frontman said while strumming his guitar. "This song, I think we wrote this song 23 years ago or something. But every year it takes on a new meaning, and it applies to life over and over again. So let's sing it tonight for new reasons. It's called 'Times Like These.'"
There were several moments where Grohl spoke similar sentiments to the audience throughout the show. He introduced Freese to the crowd and thanked him for helping them be able to put on a show at all. Later, Violet Grohl joined the group onstage to sing with Grohl during the Medicine at Midnight track "Shame Shame," as well as "Rope" from Wasting Light.
But the most heart-wrenching moment of the show was when Grohl played "Cold Day in the Sun" solo, a song he and Hawkins used to sing together.
"I tried to do this the other night, it was the first time I think I've ever really done it. I'm gonna try to do it again. I'm gonna do it for Taylor's family, and I'm gonna do it for Taylor because we used to sing this one together. It's called 'Cold Day in the Sun.'"
Immediately following the song, Grohl invited "one of my favorite drummers in the world" to the stage — Hawkins' son Shane Hawkins, who played "I'll Stick Around" from the band's 1995 debut album with them.
The second-to-last track Foos played was "Aurora," which Grohl said was Hawkins' favorite song, and then they ended the set with "Everlong" as always.
“For years, we always play this song instead of saying goodbye because I hope we never do," Grohl said, almost as if he were assuring the audience that they'll continue on as a band for as long as they can.
And we hope that they do. Get tickets to see Foo Fighters during their 2023 tour here.