After a video was shown featuring performance and video clips of Hawkins throughout the years, Grohl took to the microphone to kick off the final portion of the night. Tearing up, the musician began a poignant version of Foo Fighters’ 2002 hit ‘Times Like These’ with his bandmates, plus Devo and The Vandals’ drummer Josh Freese.
After a raucous rendition of ‘All My Life’, Grohl explained how the last set of the evening would work. “We’re gonna play some of the Foo Fighters songs with some of Taylor’s friends – his favourite drummers and his good friends – coming up to play with us,” he said. “So there’s gonna be kind of a revolving door of drummers who are gonna come up and celebrate Taylor’s fucking awesome drums.
“If you could only see how many fucking drum sets are back there – it looks like the local music shop, it’s a fucking nightmare. But you gotta do that. When it comes to Taylor Hawkins, you gotta celebrate the drummers, right?”
Grohl then introduced Blink-182’s Travis Barker to the stage, sharing an anecdote about how Barker and Hawkins had first met. “Apparently, Taylor met this guy when this guy was a fucking garbage man in Taylor’s neighbourhood and Taylor started going to see his band play when he was a young kid,” he said. “Taylor would always tell him, ‘You’re gonna be a star, man. You’re gonna be a star’. Years later, we wound up on tour with his band and now, he’s gonna sit in with us to play a couple songs.”
Barker joined Foo Fighters on stage to play the 2007 single ‘The Pretender’ and 1997’s ‘Monkey Wrench’.
Following Barker’s departure from the kit, Grohl told the crowd: “Alright, now we have something very special for you. A person that we’ve known for a while now – one of the most badass drummers I’ve ever met in my entire life. A long, long time ago, someone sent me a little clip from Instagram of this fine young drummer who challenged me to a drum battle. She said, ‘Dave Grohl, I challenge you to a drum battle’. At first, I thought she was kidding – she was not. All of my friends said, ‘No no no, you have to respond’. So I engaged in a drum battle with this person and she proceeded to kick my fucking ass in front of the entire world.
“Ever since then, we’ve been friends. So everybody, you gotta say hi to our friend, the coolest fucking drummer in the world.” The star then invited 12-year-old drummer Nandi Bushell onto the stage. “Let me tell you, she’s the biggest rock star on the bill,” Grohl added. “I know we got Queen and Rush and all that shit, but we got Nandi tonight.”
Bushell accompanied the band for the 1999 single ‘Learn To Fly’, which originally appeared on the album ‘There Is Nothing Left To Lose’. The young musician sang along to the words as she hit the drums and delivered a short solo to close out the song.
Queen drummer Roger Taylor’s son Rufus was the next to take to the drums, who Grohl referred to as “a real member of the Foo Fighters family”. “We’ve known him since he was a little kid because his father’s band was Taylor’s favourite band and his father was, I think, Taylor’s favourite singer and rock star – and maybe favourite person,” he said. Together, Rufus Taylor and Foo Fighters played 2011’s ‘These Days’ and 2005’s ‘Best Of You’.
“Pulling this whole thing together over the last three months, we’ve met some really amazing people,” Grohl said afterwards. “People that I’ve never met before. One of them, I got to stand on stage with tonight and play the bass – Miss Chrissie Hynde from The Pretenders, who I happen to think is the baddest motherfucker in the world. She brought a friend with her tonight, so would everybody please welcome Miss Chrissie Hynde and our good friend, Mr Paul McCartney.”
Hynde and McCartney came to the front of the stage, with The Beatles star carrying a bass. “God bless Taylor,” he said. “Me and Chrissie are gonna do a song here that I haven’t done since we recorded it 100 years ago. I’ve never done it as a duet, but we’re gonna do it tonight for the first time for you.” Aided by Grohl and Foo Fighters, the artists then launched into a version of The Beatles’ ‘Abbey Road’ track ‘Oh! Darling’. Omar Hakim, who played drums for David Bowie, joined the group on drums.
Hynde left the stage after the song was finished, with McCartney remaining on to perform another track, pausing to share an anecdote about Foo Fighters before. “Dave rang me up one day and he said, ‘Taylor’s written this song called ‘Summer Rain’,’ and he said, ‘We’d like you to drum on it,’” the star shared. “There’s this group who’ve got two of the best drummers in the world and they want me to drum on it? So I did. It’s quite a memory.” The band then launched into a version of The Beatles’ ‘Helter Skelter’.
Hakim stayed behind the kit for a performance of ‘Aurora’, taken from Foo Fighters’ 1999 album ‘There Is Nothing Left To Lose’, which Grohl said was Hawkins’ favourite song of the band’s. Afterwards, Hakim made way for Hawkins’ 16-year-old son Shane to get behind the drums for ‘My Hero’.
“Now, we’ve got the little guy,” Grohl said. “Let me tell you, I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone hit the drums as hard as this person. But beyond that, he’s a member of our family and he needs to be here tonight with all of us and I think it makes sense that he’s going to come up and play with us tonight.”
Foo Fighters drummer Taylor Hawkins. Credit: Mauricio Santana/Getty Images
A photo of Shane and his dad was shown on the big screen as the young drummer kicked off the performance of the 1997 single. With Grohl cheering him on, Shane finished the song with a blistering solo.
The final set of the night concluded with Grohl performing one of Foo Fighters’ most famous songs solo. “I hope that you guys felt all the love from all of us and all of the performers, because we felt it from you for Taylor tonight, so thank you everybody,” the frontman said before the end of the set. “I don’t really know what else to say. I’d like to thank the Hawkins family – Shane, Everleigh, Annabelle, Alison – for being here with us tonight.
“This one’s for Taylor,” Grohl added, beginning the final song – 1997’s ‘Everlong’. Watch footage of the whole Foo Fighters set above, starting around the -1.28.04 mark.
Foo Fighters played:
‘Times Like These’
‘All My Life’
‘Learn To Fly’
‘Best Of You’
Earlier in the evening, Grohl and Hawkins’ Foo Fighter bandmates opened the concert with an emotional speech that paid tribute to their late drummer. “For those of you who knew him personally, you know that no one else could make you smile, or laugh, or dance, or sing like he could,” the frontman said.
Comedian Dave Chappelle also recalled spending time with the rock star and his son in New York. “I’ve seen Taylor be a rock star many nights but it was my first time seeing him be a dad, and what a cool fucking dad,” he said. “Taylor Hawkins is a legend of a man, he’s a legend of a musician and he’s a legend of a father.”
Liam Gallagher kicked off the live music today, performing two Oasis songs with the help of the surviving members of Foo Fighters, while Red Hot Chili Peppers’ Chad Smith shared a heartwarming story about Hawkins in a special video message.
Grohl’s 16-year-old daughter Violet also took to the stage to cover two Jeff Buckley songs at the show, and supergroup Them Crooked Vultures reunited for the first time in 12 years. Supergrass also performed, with the trio recalling touring with Foo Fighters and Hawkins in the ’90s.