The Night the Foo Fighters Surprised Music City
Uncensored. Unexpected. Unforgettable. The Foo Fighter’s 2014 show at the Ryman was the type of live music experience that every rock fan dreams of.
On Oct. 28, the band took to Twitter to announce they’d hold an all-ages show three days later, on Halloween night, at the Ryman. Frontman Dave Grohl was in town to promote his HBO documentary series Sonic Highways, which covered how Nashville influenced modern music. A hugely popular band who could easily sell out the biggest arenas in the country, the Foo Fighters only charged $20 a ticket for the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see them at the historic Mother Church.
Tickets went on sale the next day, and the band sold out the 2,362-seat auditorium within 40 minutes. They even set a record, at the time, for single-day traffic to the Ryman’s website.
Within 48 hour, the Foo Fighters were preparing to rock the Ryman. Just after 11 p.m. on Halloween, the Foo Fighters took the stage wearing black and white skelaton makeup. They opened with “All My Life,” which was received with thundering applause from a crowd vibrating with excitement, and went on to play everything from their biggest hits to deep cuts and covers.
“While some of the night’s cooler moments came via those deep cuts, watching Grohl and company play smash after smash (‘The Pretender’ into ‘My Hero’ into ‘Learn to Fly’ was almost too much to handle) was a powerful reminder that this wasn’t just another rock band, that this was the kind of show you were going to talk about for the rest of your life,” Brittney McKenna wrote for American Songwriter.
At one point early in the show, Grohl took off his shoes and socks to standon the Ryman’s history-making stage with his bare feet – taking in the impact the auditorium has had on music of all genres.
"After one week in this city, I don’t want to go home,” Grohl told the audience.
The Foo Fighters brought out special guests singer-songwriter Tony Joe White to help perform his hit “Polk Salad Annie” and country artist Zac Brown to join them in a cover of Black Sabbath’s "War Pigs." They wrapped up after an energetic three-hour set around 2 a.m.
“If there’s one takeaway from the show (besides ticket scalpers deserving a special place in hell), it’s that rock is alive and well, and the Foo Fighters are leading the charge to make sure it stays that way,” McKenna wrote about the show.
Learn more about the Rock & Roll Hall of Famers who have faced the pews at Rock Hall at the Ryman – a powerful new tour exhibit with the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.
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