Foo Fighters Live

Foo Fighters Live setlists – An empirical analysis (part 2)

By Simon Kilmore

We continue the analysis of which songs are played and which are forgotten, focusing on the final four studio albums, B-Sides and covers.

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Part one of this analysis can be found here.

So, continuing on where we left of we arrive at the fourth record, ‘One By One’.

One By One (2002)

For the first three albums there was a good range of plays for every track on each album, the only exception being ‘Live-In Skin’. Of course some songs were and are played more often than others but the spread was fairly good.

Starting with One By One however we start to see a large imbalance, large portions of this and future records being largely forgotten or ignored entirely live. So, let’s take a look at the table first.

Song,First Played,Last Played,Total Plays

Times Like These,12th July 2002,21st June 2014,480

All My Life,7th February 2002,5th May 2014,450

Low,12th July 2002,4th November 2009,122

Tired Of You,7th February 2002,8th September 2005,120

Have It All,19th August 2002,29th January 2006,118

Disenchanted Lullaby,19th August 2002,5th November 2007,21

Overdrive,7th February 2002,27th November 2002,9

Lonely As You,19th August 2002,16th November 2002,4

Come Back,7th February 2002,7th February 2002,1


Burn Away,-,-,0

ight away we can see a huge gap between two tracks and the rest. The album is well known for causing serious issues between the band members whilst recording and despite initial positive comments from Grohl in interviews he soon began to reveal his true feelings.“Four of the songs were good, and the other seven I never played again in my life” – Dave Grohl, speaking to Rolling Stone in April 2005.

He never specified which four songs he believed were good but one might assume he was referring to the four tracks released as singles from the album. Indeed, those four tracks are make up four of the top five played tracks, the fourth single ‘Have It All’ narrowly beaten in overall plays by ‘Disenchanted Lullaby’. Getting back to the top of the list and we can see two songs, ‘All My Life’ and ‘Times Like These’ have been played several hundred times more than anything else. Indeed today these two tracks remain the only regular features of the setlist from this record. If you’re seeing the band in the future these are another two that can be all but guaranteed to be played.

The other two singles ‘Low’ & ‘Have It All’ as well as ‘Tired Of You’ were all played around 120 times since release but all three have become rarities in recent years. Since the end of touring in support of the record ‘Low’ has been on the setlists 6 times, ‘Have It All’ 11 times and ‘Tired Of You’ 13 times. The most recent performance of the trio was 2009, ‘Low’ played at a secret club show in Germany. ‘Have It All’ and ‘Tired Of You’ were last played in 2006 and 2005 respectively. The chances of any of these tracks being performed live in future seem slim, if not completely out of the question.

So, those are the ‘popular’ five, four of which Dave claimed were good. So what of the others? Well as Dave stated in that interview most were dropped like a stone, others never played at all. From the 120 plays for the above three tracks we see a huge drop off again to the next track, ‘Disenchanted Lullaby’. This one is interesting in that it was played at nearly every pre-release show in 2002 but once the record was release in October of that year it quickly disappeared entirely. Did the many negative reviews of the record impact what went on the setlists? We’ll probably never know but except for a few performances in 2003 and one surprising reprise in 2007 it’s not been seen since, 21 plays overall.

Next we come to two tracks even further left behind. ‘Overdrive’ and ‘Lonely As You’ were rolled out a few time in the months after release in 2002, never to be seen again. It’s highly unlikely either of these will be seen in the future.

‘Come Back’ in another interesting track. As readers are probably aware One By One was essentially recorded twice, the first versions all scrapped after the band and management decided they could do better. Many of the re-recorded tracks were structurally very similar to the originals but Come Back was one that changed. The first version was a simple, straight forward four minute rock track in a verse-chorus-verse structure. This version of the song was performed live in February 2002, just days after the first version of the album was completed and long before it was scrapped. When the album was released in October 2002 the song had been morphed with another song idea to create a 7+ minute version of the song, the addition being a long instrumental section. Unfortunately this version has to date NEVER been performed and if a comment by Dave during their 2009 Studio 606 internet performance, likely never will be.

During this special event fans were able to write comments for the band to read as they were playing, potentially throwing out song ideas they might perform. The suggestion of ‘Come Back’ was met with a “Yeah right!” from Grohl.

That leaves us with two songs, ‘Halo’ and ‘Burn Away’. They join ‘Live-In Skin’ (and the final album form of Come Back) on the ‘Never played live’ list. The reason for these two never being played might be more obvious than those for Live-In Skin however. The band just flat out didn’t like them.