London’s Wembley Stadium hosted one of the biggest events in rock over the weekend (September 3) - Taylor Hawkins’ tribute gig to honour the late great drummer.
The gig saw a star-studded line up of incredible musicians, such as members of The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Metallica, AC/DC, Queen, The Police, and much more. The tribute concert also saw unexpected reunions - like Them Crooked Vultures and James Gang, surprise guests like Paul McCartney, and members of the band’s own family - Shane Hawkins and Olivia Grohl.
The concert, which Grohl prefaced would be “a gigantic fucking gig for a gigantic fucking person,” spanned nearly six hours and featured a setlist of 50 songs. It. Was. Insane.
The concert opened with an emotional photo tribute to the soundtrack of Foo Fighters’ ‘Aurora,’ before the surviving members of the band took the stage for a few words.
Grohl spoke on the behalf of the band, saying:
“Tonight, we’ve gathered here to celebrate the life, the music, and the love of our dear friend, our bandmate, our brother, Taylor Hawkins. For those of you knew him personally, you know no one else could make you smile, or laugh, or dance, or sing like he could. And for those of you who admired him from afar, I’m sure you all felt the same thing….
“So, sing and dance and laugh and cry and fucking scream and make some fucking noise so he can hear us right now. Cause you know what, it’s going to be a long fucking night!”
Liam Gallagher then took the stage to perform ‘Rock N’ Roll Star’ and ‘Live Forever’ with the band, with Grohl on drums.
Comedian Dave Chappelle hopped on stage to say a few words about the time he met Taylor’s son Shane, and spoke to the epic dynamic the father and son had.
Five minutes later, Josh Homme, Chris Chaney, Omar Hakim and Nile Rodgers all performed David Bowie’s ‘Let’s Dance.’ Following this, Supergrass’ Gaz Combs replaced Homme to sing ‘Modern Love.’
Chevy Metal and The Coattail Riders then hit the stage for a cover of Talking Heads’ ‘Psycho Killer,’ followed by Kesha’s cover of T-Rex’s ‘Children of the Revolution,’ before The Coattail Riders and Justin Hawkins’ perform a selection of songs from Hawkins’ solo catalogue.
Next up was some Van Halen covers (one of Hawkins’ favourite bands), performed by Dave Grohl, Wolfgang Van Halen, Justin Hawkins and Josh Freese.
Violet Grohl, Alain Johannes, Greg Kurstin, Chris Chaney, Jason Falkner, and Dave Grohl then came onstage for a special performance of Jeff Buckley’s ‘Last Goodbye’ and ‘Grace.’
Following a three-song-set from Supergrass, Them Crooked Vultures took the stage for their first live performance in 12 years. Josh Homme, John Paul Jones, Dave Grohl, and Alain Johannes started with a cover of Elton John’s ‘Goodbye Yellow Brick Road,’ before performing ‘Gunman’ and Queens of the Stone Age's ‘Low Slow Goodbye.’
Grohl then joined Pretenders on bass for a three-song-set, followed by the re-uniting of Joe Walsh and James Gang for their first live performance in 16 years.
Grohl’s daughter Violet then came back onstage along with Mark Ronson, Chris Chaney and Jason Falkner for a cover of Amy Winehouse’s ‘Valerie.’
The live performances then have a bit of a break, while a recording of an insane Taylor Hawkins drum solo plays out. A video tribute from Billie Eilish and Finneas was also played.
Then, Brain Johnson, Lars Ulrich and the rest of the Foo’s rip into AC/DC’s ‘Back in Black’ and ‘Let there be Rock.’
The Police’s Stewart Copeland was the next artist to join the Foo’s members on stage for ‘Next to You,’ - before Supergrass’ Gaz Combs joins in for ‘Every Little Thing She Does is Magic.’
Grohl then joins Rush members Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson on drums, while they perform ‘2122,’ ‘Working Man’ and ‘YYZ.’ Rush was one of Hawkins’ favourite bands, and he once joined them onstage back in 2008.
At this point, we’re four hours deep into the concert when Brian May and Roger Taylor join Rufus Taylor, Luke Spiller and Foo Fighters for Queen’s ‘We Will Rock You’ and ‘I’m in Love with My Car.’ Justin Hawkins’ then takes the mic for ‘Under Pressure,’ followed by Sam Ryder taking the lead for ‘Somebody to Love.’
Brian May then delivers an emotional acoustic performance of ‘Love of my Life,’ as the crowd raised up their lights.
Another video montage then plays out, and then Foo Fighters are back on stage. If the tears weren’t already flowing, the next performance really did it.
Grohl opened the band’s headlining set with ‘Times Like These,’ with Josh Freese on drums. Grohl had to pause for a moment to compose himself, in an understandably emotional performance. Gut wrenching stuff.
Josh Freese stayed on drums for Foo Fighters’ next song ‘All my Life,’ before Travis Barker takes over the kit for ‘The Pretender’ and ‘Monkey Wrench.’
Friend of the band, 12-year-old drummer Nandi Bushell then took over from Barker on the drum kit, and performed alongside Foo Fighters for ‘Learn to Fly.’
The next drummer to join the Foos set is Rufus Taylor, who hopped on for ‘These Days’ and ‘Best of You.’
Paul McCartney then decided to join in on the fun, alongside Pretenders’ Chrissie Hynde for a duet of ‘Oh Darling!’
McCartney stayed on for another Beatles track, ‘Helter Skelter’ with Foo Fighters.
Following Foo Fighters’ performance of ‘Aurora,’ Hawkins’ son Shane hops behind the drums, making him the final drummer of the night, for Foo Fighters’ ‘My Hero.’ He absolutely nailed it.
To close the night, Grohl performed a gripping solo version of ‘Everlong.’
There’s something so incredibly special about a stadium filled with 75,000 fans collectively grieving and celebrating the life of the incredible man and musician that was Taylor Hawkins.
The full performance isn’t on YouTube yet - but we’re hoping it’ll be uploaded in its entirety some time this week.