It’s time for the next entry in our live show spotlight series, where we highlight a live show from the Foo Fighters history which we think doesn’t have the recognition and popularity it deserves. For more details about the series, check out the first entry here.
October 18th, 2002 – First Avenue, Minneapolis, MN
Our first highlighted show was a pre-tour show and our second choice happens to be another, this time from 2002. It’s well documented the issues and complications that surrounded the recording of their fourth album, One By One, but eventually a record was finished and released on On October 22nd 2002.
During that release week the band played a series of smaller shows for fans, including the Metro in Chicago and The Wiltern in Los Angeles. First up though, on the 18th, was a show in Minneapolis. Minnesota.
Foo Fighters had previously played the First Avenue nightclub back in 1995, twice in fact. The first in May 1995 as they supported Mike Watt, they then returned to the venue in August for their own headline show. Footage of the band driving to the venue for the Mike Watt show briefly appears in the ‘Back And Forth’ documentary.
By the time they returned for this 2002 show the band were significantly more popular, demand for the 1500 or so tickets was therefore understandably high. Those lucky enough to get tickets were unsure of what to expect, and as it turned out, they were in for an absolute treat.
The show started out with what is now a very common way to kick off a show – All My Life – then a brand new single. As it still does now, the song instantly got the crowd energised which the band fed off of.
The set continued at a ferocious pace, the singles ‘Breakout’, ‘My Hero’ and ‘Generator’ played without pause. ‘The One’ quickly followed but 30 seconds into the song Dave breaks things down and says hello to the crowd.
After the song the band take another short breather and Dave asks the crowd what they think of his new Dale Earnhardt Jr. Custom Gibson guitar. Earnhardt Jr. had personally given him the guitar in 2001, not long before the shock death of his namesake father. He walks them through the guitar, explaining how each part is modelled on parts of a NASCAR stock car.
Learn To Fly’ is next up, followed by ‘Have It All’, which was the first time the song was performed in the US, and only the 6th time ever up to this point. Then came ‘Stacked Actors’ which by 2002 the band had started having a lot of fun with, adding in jams whilst Dave went walkabout and toured the venue. On this occasion he also decided to briefly sing the lyrics to ‘Darling Nikki’ over the song.
Dave next tells the crowd about recording of the new record ‘One By One’ and tells them it turned out “pretty good”. Of course we now know he was perhaps not being totally honest with statements like this, but it’s not like he would say what he really thought just days before it was released. Irrespective of that, next up was ‘Times Like These’ from said new record, one of the songs which he did enjoy, and evidently still does.
The band then visited the first album with performances of ‘For All The Cows’ and ‘This Is A Call’, adding in an interesting instrumental jam section to the middle of the latter.
A special surprise for the local crowd followed. Dave announces that he’s “going to do a little ditty” on his own before telling the fans about his love of the Minnesota band Hüsker Dü, and that the song he would play is ‘Never Talking To You Again’, from their 1984 album ‘Zen Arcade’.
It’s unclear what was pre-planned but as Dave begins the song he asks several times if Grant Hart from the band is in the building. Despite seeing some activity at the back of the club he begins the song alone.
He continues to stall, seemingly still expecting Hart’s arrival, and starts telling another story relating to the time he was in the band Mission Impossible, and they went to a Hüsker Dü show. As he ends the story Hart finally arrives on stage, getting behind the drum kit. The pair then finish the song, trading vocals with Hart pounding the kit.
Hart leaves the stage and the rest of Foo Fighters return to play a very rare performance of the One By One song ‘Overdrive’. The song was only performed 10 times in total, the last in November 2002, just two months after the release of the album.
This particular performance was played at a noticeably faster tempo than the album version, perhaps already showing indication they weren’t happy with the song as-is on the final album.
The main part of the set is closed out by the trio of ‘Hey, Johnny Park!, the first performance in the United States of ‘Low’ and ‘Monkey Wrench’.
The band predictably return for an encore, starting with fan favourite ‘Aurora’. On the stage setlist another One By One song, ‘Lonely As You’, was printed next, but it was sadly skipped. Instead, Dave told the crowd about Taylor’s cover band, Chevy Metal, and as he was doing so, headed behind the drum kit. The band then gave a performance of The Police song ‘Next To You’, with Hawkins on lead vocals.
One final song from One By One is played, ‘Tired Of You’, and the almost 2 hour set is then rounded off, again as is now common, with ‘Everlong’.
A recording was known to exist for this show for many years but it wasn’t until January 2009 that it widely circulated thanks to pjp sharing copy straight from the master. For an audience recording it starts out a little rough, but as adjustments are made, the quality ends up being very nice.
Whilst not packed to the rafters with rarities and deep cuts, the performances of ‘Overdrive’, ‘Next To You’ and Grant Hart’s (eventual) cameo still make this a relatively significant note in Foo Fighters extensive live history.