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Released back in 2008, Foo Fighters Live at Wembley Stadium takes the best bits from the two shows on the 6th and 7th June 2008. It is neither a best of tour nor was it highlighting the album at that time 'Echoes, Silence...'. What it does do is to demonstrate why this band that has it's roots in some heavy music, is beloved by so many, most of whom would not call themselves hard rock fans.
The 18 tracks contain some of their biggest hits such as 'Learn to Fly', 'My Hero', 'Times Like These' and of course 'Everlong'. Now ordinarily their live gigs have descended into shouty noise which can be a bit disappointing, not so here. In fact the acoustic versions complement the normal tracks perfectly. Even in a home setting, it demands your involvement.
Lasting 120 minutes, it also included a couple of cameos from Led Zeppelin legend John Paul Jones and Jimmy Page performing 'Rock and Roll' and 'Ramble On'. These performances have the effect of elevating this concert into the status of an event, one of those you had to be there and yet this release goes someway to recapturing that feeling.
In terms of the Blu ray itself well the sound and picture quality are as good as you would expect from the format. It comes on 1 disc and is filmed in an aspect ratio of 16:9 and is exempt from classification although do be aware it does have a bit of profanity from Dave Grohl in between songs whilst speaking to the crowd. The sound is in 5.1 Dolby stereo so you are in for a treat if you have a home cinema package. I suggest you clear the floor, hide the breakables and bounce round like a maniac for two hours.
It retails for around £15 on amazon and would be a worthwhile present for any fan at Christmas.
There are certain concerts you go to that will long stick in the mind and it would be fair to say that the one I attended on Saturday 7th June 2008 is certainly one that will stick with me for many years to come. It was in fact the biggest Foo Fighters show to that point and to have managed to get tickets and be there was a bit of a result. The day itself was a bit different to almost every other concert I've been to, the band were amazing, the atmosphere at the gig was one of the best I've ever experienced and the whole day just reminded me why Foo Fighters are my favourite band.
I also remember leaving the gig that night thinking how I had to get a copy of this gig on DVD. Of course thanks to the tendency to release big concerts like this on DVD I was soon able to pick it up, but having recently bought a Blu Ray player I thought I'd like to see a higher quality version of the concert and so put the Blu Ray version on Lovefilm and soon I was rewarded when it popped through my door about a week later.
For those of you who don't know who the band are, they were formed in the mid 90's from the ashes of Nirvana when former Nirvana drummer Dave Grohl branched out with some new material. He recruited friends and musicians and soon a settled line up was decided upon consisting of the following members.
Since the release of the first album Grohl has been joined by former Sunny Day Real Estate band member Nate Mendal on bass guitar. With Grohl himself taking on the responsibility of lead singer and guitarist he needed a drummer and finally settle upon Taylor Hawkins a former drummer with Alanis Morissette. Completing the bands official line up on Bass guitar is Chris Shiflett a very talented and dedicated bass player who slotted neatly into the band. During the course of this live show they are also joined by sometime Nirvana and Foo Fighters band member Pat Smear on additional guitars.
It seems almost fitting that given Grohl's passion for England and the adoration the British public have for both the Foo Fighters and the man himself that the bands biggest concert to date should take place in London at the new Wembley Stadium. The set, although positioned at one end of the stadium consisted of a turntable that during the concert would spin the band through 360 degrees so they could fill all areas of the stadium. The set itself looked amazing and once it started to spin you could really see why Grohl had been as keen on this design as he packed every conceivable area of the stadium.
The set list was made up of the majority of tracks played over the two nights the band played at Wembley but at least 3 from each night are missing from the final set list. That said though the choice of tracks to make the DVD are a good collection of exactly what the band are all about. It combines a good mixture of the tracks from Echoes, Silence, Patience and Grace, the album the band were promoting at the time and a decent selection of the best tracks from a very impressive back catalogue.
Whilst I was a little disappointed with the omission of certain tracks from the Saturday performance there was still a very good selection of the bands best tracks. For instance even seeing the version of Everlong from the gig still makes the hairs stand up on the back of my neck as Grohl performs one of my favourite tracks by the band. The footage of the concert is taken from both the Friday and Saturday, but it is almost impossible to tell which is which unless, I am told, you pay attention to the underwear Grohl is wearing, red for Friday and white for Saturday.
The mixture of tracks on the album is very impressive and they play some of the other fan favourites such as My Hero, Learn To Fly and Times Like These, whilst mixing the new material such as The Pretender and Long Road To Ruin into an already impressive list of songs. The new material worked well alongside the older stuff and that made both the concert itself and this recorded presentation really a memorable occasion and makes this release a very pertinent memento of the evening.
Blu Ray Release
I had already bought the DVD release of this concert almost as soon as it came out but I wanted to see the Blu Ray version for one very important reason, to see just how much better it sounded and looked with the use of a HDMI cable. The difference in picture quality is outstanding with the colours enhanced considerably. The picture is much sharper and when combined with the better sound quality offered by the Blu Ray release it makes the choice of which to go for a bit of a no brainer if you have access to a Blu Ray player. The sound quality throughout the recording is far clearer and the mixture of the guitars, drums and vocals sound a lot sharper and more like the real experience of being at the concert.
This is where I felt that the release really let itself down. The release of the concert itself is a good main feature but the DVD and Blu Ray don't come with any extras. I had expected at the very least an interview with the band talking about the concert and the chosen set list but I'm afraid that whilst the main feature is excellent it is really lacking in extras.
Should I Buy It?
Whilst the lack of extra features knocks one star off my recommendation of this product I still would wholeheartedly recommend buying this Blu Ray release. The difference in the sound and picture quality from the standard DVD release makes it very worthwhile. This is a great presentation of what the band are really about and for those who were there it will make a great reminder of a brilliant night. At £15.99 it is still a little expensive given the lack of extra features but it is a great sample of the bands live performance and an excellent record of an amazing night.