Foo Fighter-in-chief Dave Grohl has swapped his guitar for a pen during the COVID-19 shutdown and used it to write a heart-wrenching op-ed about the importance of live music in our lives.
Like the rest of us gig-starved mosh fiends, our rock dad is absolutely aching for his next live music experience, and is using his downtime in quarantine to reflect wistfully on some of his favourite memories.
Waxing philosophical about the “tangible, communal power of music” in a piece penned for The Atlantic entitled ‘The Day the Live Concert Returns’, Grohl laments that the Coronavirus pandemic has “reduced today’s live music to unflattering little windows that look like doorbell security footage and sound like Neil Armstrong’s distorted transmissions from the moon, so stuttered and compressed.
“Don’t get me wrong… I know that those of us who don’t have to work in hospitals or deliver packages are the lucky ones, but still, I’m hungry for a big old plate of sweaty, ear-shredding, live rock and roll, ASAP. The kind that makes your heart race, your body move, and your soul stir with passion,” he continues.
“There is nothing like the energy and atmosphere of live music. It is the most life-affirming experience, to see your favorite performer onstage, in the flesh, rather than as a one-dimensional image glowing in your lap as you spiral down a midnight YouTube wormhole.”
Elsewhere in the yarn, Grohl reminisces about one of the most powerful concerts he ever witnessed — U2’s 2001 Elevation Tour performance, which he calls a “lesson in intimacy” — and tells us about another time when The Boss himself Bruce Springsteen swung by a Foos concert, later writing a personal note to Grohl on hotel stationery to school him on the importance of the band-audience relationship.
“When you look out at the audience,” Springsteen instructed Grohl like some form of rock n’ roll Obi-Wan Kenobi, “you should see yourself in them, just as they should see themselves in you”.
But Grohl saved perhaps his most poignant words for his closing statement.
“In today’s world of fear and unease and social distancing, it’s hard to imagine sharing experiences like these ever again. I don’t know when it will be safe to return to singing arm in arm at the top of our lungs, hearts racing, bodies moving, souls bursting with life. But I do know that we will do it again, because we have to. It’s not a choice. We’re human. We need moments that reassure us that we are not alone. That we are understood. That we are imperfect. And, most important, that we need each other. I have shared my music, my words, my life with the people who come to our shows. And they have shared their voices with me. Without that audience—that screaming, sweating audience—my songs would only be sound. But together, we are instruments in a sonic cathedral, one that we build together night after night. And one that we will surely build again.”
Peep his full op-ed right here.