On February 2nd, instead of celebrating my good friend Jeremy’s birthday, I barted over to Oakland to see the Foo Fighters rock Oracle Arena.
We were late; this was remarkable, because usually I’m the person who wants to get there well before the first act comes on, to settle in and see if maybe I’ll hear a new band to obsess over. But people were late (not me, for once!), and dinner took forever, and then we had to wait for Bart, and then… THEN! We had to fight through the crowd that was leaving the Coliseum, pumped up on MONSTER TRUCK RALLY. It certainly didn’t help that it was pouring, and we were completely drenched when we arrived. (By the way, Oracle now has a policy against umbrellas, so leave it home or in the car.)
As we walked in, we could hear the opening strains of The Pretender, causing panic in one of my companions (who is quite the fan). We entered the Arena, and walked down, down, down, down. Turns out we were in the seventh row from the floor. Now, before that sounds amazing, there was an entire basketball court between us and the stage. And we had only missed one song.
I’m not sure if it was the rushing, or arriving late, or the rain, but I just wasn’t feeling excited. I didn’t feel the flush of hearing live music, or the collective energy that builds with the crowd. The sound seemed off. I seemed off. I started to worry that maybe I was getting too old for arena shows. That is had been too long since my last show, and that live music wasn’t as wonderful as I remembered it being.
Then, a smaller stage dropped from the ceiling, at the end of a runway that Dave Grohl had been running up and down. There was a smaller setup: a tiny drum kit, an electric piano, and an unusual number of microphones. And it was about 50 feet from our seats. The band came down and did a set of semi-acoustic songs, and it completely blew me away. The extra microphones were so Dave Grohl could wander around and do the show partially in the round.
Eventually they returned to the larger stage and went back to the hard rocking, but it was considerably better this time. I thought it was just me, but after the show my companion agreed. He thought perhaps they had re-adjusted the sound on the large stage. But really, I had stopped caring. My love of live music had returned.
(Set list can be found here.)