- 04 Jun 19
Edwin McFee remembers Foo Fighters’ out-of-this-world performance at Slane 2015.
There are certain shows that change the career of a band. Foo Fighters’ headline slot at Slane ‘15 was one of them. Joining the likes of transformative performances like Oasis at Knebworth ‘96, Pulp at Glastonbury ‘95, and Iron Maiden at Castle Donington ‘88, that soggy summer night was surely the moment when the Foos ditched forever the condescending tag as “the band Dave Grohl started when Nirvana ended.” For sure, their now iconic debut at the Reading Festival 24 years ago had been a real game-changer, and they’d dpne other great gigs too. However, for me, their star turn at Lord Henry’s gaff was when they went from much-loved, arena-sized “special guests” to bona fide headlining heavyweights.
Perhaps the magic of this near-mythic venue rubbed off on them, as they blasted out a bucketload of hits. Or maybe Dave Grohl and co. felt they had a point to prove in Co. Meath in the wake of their no-show in 2001 (due to drummer Taylor Hawkins’ illness)? Were they fired up to make it a night to remember? We’re not quite sure, but what we do know is that the band kicked more ass than the Mountain from Game Of Thrones.
Dave Grohl was like a plaid shirt-wearing Mr Motivator, the consummate rock frontman. The band’s cover of Thin Lizzy’s ‘Jailbreak’ was a nice touch, and a welcome acknowledgement of the legacy of the venue. Elsewhere, the likes of ‘All My Life’, ‘This Is A Call’ and ‘Best Of You’ sent 60,000 or so soaking wet punters home with beaming smiles and ringing ears.
Out of all of the Irish festivals, Slane is the one that will always hold a special place in my heart. Just 40 minutes from my native Newry, it’s a rite of passage for most music fans from the Mournes. Grohl himself put it best when speaking to our deputy editor Stuart Clark. “One of my favourite photos of us playing live is from Slane,” he said, “The crowd spilling down that hill is like a scene out of The Lord Of The Rings. It’s such a beautiful skyline. Location and atmosphere has so much to do with how a show works out.”
Foo Fighters’ all-conquering set was as epic as Tolkein’s saga, and for this Slane diehard, a spellbinding, never-to-be-forgotten night.