Dave Grohl had just taken the stage at Crescent Ballroom in downtown Phoenix, an impossibly intimate setting for an invitation-only solo gig by someone known for selling out arenas at the helm of Foo Fighters, his post-Nirvana project that’s become one of the most successful rock acts to emerge from the alternative-rock explosion of the ’90s. He was in town for an exclusive show in advance of Super Bowl 2023 at State Farm Stadium in Glendale.
“If you’re wondering why I’m here,” he said with a grin, “I’ve had a long and fruitful relationship with Crown Royal.”
Grohl partnered with the whiskey brand on an invitation-only concert designed to celebrate the hospitality and military communities while working with two of Crown Royal’s long-standing charity partners, CreatiVets and Packages from Home.
Dave Grohl kicks off Super Bowl weekend with an exclusive acoustic performance for veterans and local hospitality personnel at Crown Royal’s pre-game party experience on Feb. 10.
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Grohl played Foo Fighters hits ‘Everlong’ and ‘My Hero’
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And Grohl had clearly come to out-rock any expectations one might have of unplugged concerts, shredding vocal cords at full intensity backed only by the power-strumming of his own guitar as he made his way through “Times Like These,” “My Hero,” “Best of You” and “Everlong.”
There was a loose-limbed, spontaneous charm to the entire set, Grohl joking with the audience and thriving on the interplay such an intimate setting allows.
When Scotty Hasting, the veteran from Nashville who opened the show with a set of heartfelt Southern rock and country songs, introduced him as one of the greatest, Grohl stepped to the mic and joked, “I kind of feel like he oversold it a bit.”
When someone shouted about someone loving Foo Fighters “a lot,” he sheepishly replied, “Thank God somebody does.”
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He told stories about hanging out with Pantera (“If you’ve ever had a night with Pantera, you won’t remember it”), gave a heartfelt dedication of “My Hero” to the veterans and acknowledged the timing of finding himself in Phoenix on Super Bowl weekend with “I don’t know nothin’ about football.”
When someone shouted, “What’s your favorite sport?,” he didn’t miss a beat before responding “rock ‘n’ roll.”
Of course it is.
That came through loud and clear in his performance, which brought those songs to life in all their ragged glory.
I don’t think I’ve ever seen a more intense acoustic show. And I’ve seen hundreds of acoustic shows.
The crowd was in his corner from the time he walked on stage, shouting along with nearly word and feeding him material for more inspired banter.
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Scotty Hasting warmed the crowd up with songs inspired by his military service
As for Hasting, he certainly rose to the challenge of warming up that crowd.
Before finger-picking his opening song, he explained that he’d been shot 10 times in Afghanistan and suffered nerve damage that should make what he was about to do impossible.
But he got through it fine, setting up songs about the stories veterans tell (“about going through hell”) and visiting an Army buddy’s graves with deeply personal accounts of the experiences that inspired him.
Then he ended the night with a spirited cover of “Friends in Low Places,” inspiring a boozy singalong.
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Dave Grohl setlist
“Times Like These”
“Best of You”
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