15 years ago, I was still in the first year of my Dave Grohl obsession. (You can read about the evolution of my love for him here.) The third Foo Fighters album, There is Nothing Left to Lose, was less than a year old and was my favorite album. It was the first Foo I bought (you can read about that here), and it quickly turned me into a superfan.
When I found out they were coming to a town near me on their latest tour, I immediately bought tickets. None of my friends were really into Foo, but one of my sisters had a few friends who were, so we all went together. The essay below is a long excerpt of a letter I wrote to my best friend at the time about that very first Foo Fighters concert. They were touring with the Red Hot Chili Peppers, another one of those bands I never liked when they were super popular but who I have since grown to appreciate.
While I transcribed this letter from paper into a Word document I was laughing and cringing at my younger self, at how important it was for me to always look fuckable and be the center of attention. There’s a lot of detail about how I decided what to wear to the concert, something I don’t give two shits about anymore. At age 42, I’m most happy when I can be chillaxing on the couch wearing yoga pants and a tank top, comfortably braless and without a stitch of makeup. I don’t really like leaving the house, and as much as I love seeing my favorite musicians in person the idea of being around a bunch of strangers at a concert makes me annoyed. This first Foo concert was my third show in a span of three months, as my sisters and I had seen the Brian Setzer Orchestra the week before, and my youngest sister and I had seen Oasis in April. I do remember it like it was yesterday, how exciting it was for me to be in the same space as Dave Grohl, the very second he burst onto the stage. My excitement has not dwindled a bit, and I am as devoted to all things Grohl in 2015 as I was back then.
Foo Fighters, There is
Nothing Left to Lose
Monday, 10 July 2000
…Fast-forward to Saturday night—FOO FIGHTERS!!!!!!!!!!! I cannot tell you how hard I came!!!!! It was just the coolest fucking thing—I mean, when I met Eric Idle and got to flash him my tattoos and he told me I was sexy, that was extremely cool as well, but I don’t want to marry Eric Idle and have his babies. Dave fucking Grohl is quite another kind of orgasm! (You must be so sick of reading about him, but I just cannot help it—and it’s got to be better than hearing about Jim!) So I went with my sister’s friends E, J, and J’s brother. I had the day off, so I spent the morning and afternoon cleaning out my car and filling it up with gas and getting blankets and shit since we were on the lawn (Blossom). I was, for many days previous, thinking of an ensemble to wear, you know, something practical but still sexy, something I wouldn’t be afraid to get dirty, but that would attract attention, and would, of course, show off my tattoos—and, if I was lucky enough to somehow meet Dave after his set or something, something that wouldn’t scream “groupie”, rather, “hot-girl-I-would-really-like-to-settle-down-with-and-worship.” I decided against shorts, since it was supposed to rain that night, and I was unsure about the shoes; heels might be complicated since we’d be on the lawn, and the lawn is slanted, but I didn’t want to look common and wear flat sandals or—worse yet—tennis shoes!!! I had this fantasy that I was going to find out where he would be hanging out after the show (after their concert in Dayton this past March they went to this karaoke bar, so I figured they would be mingling with the masses at some local pub) and go there, you know, not being obvious or anything, and just get him to notice my tattoos, enticing him to come over and ask what they were. We would, of course, bond over our love of tattoos, laughing, drinking, enjoying each other’s company, and he would ask if I had to be up for work in the morning, did I want to have breakfast with him? I would not jump at the chance, lest I look too eager, but I would, of course, say that would be great, I don’t mind being late for work! Breakfast would be fun with me and the Foos, and, at the end of it all, he would tell me how much fun he had with me, he wants to see me again if that’s okay with me. He would give me his home address and phone number, and I would give him mine, then there would be an innocent hug of thanks and goodbye. I would kiss him on the cheek—lingering—and ask when he had some time off. We would make tentative plans to see each other, then we would part, excited, anxious, sure that this was the start of something wonderful.
That was my plan.
This is what happened. I wore a tight blue tank top—the one I wore on Sunday with that cute striped skirt—and some bellbottoms with the waist cut off (I am just so hip—and those pants sure did show off my hips!); my Hindu tattoo was perfectly displayed, especially when I sat down—there was nothing left to the imagination! I wore some white strappy high heels with a beige platform and heel (which, of course, my mother criticized, because how could I possibly be able to walk around the lawn in heels like that, it’s just not practical; “Well, you’re not going, so you don’t have to be practical—goodbye,” I responded). My hair was down, I had very little makeup on, body spray, of course, but not too much so as to not attract the bugs, my nails were this two-toned gold/silver shade—I was pretty tasty! It wasn’t particularly crowded when we got there—I don’t think it was sold out, except the pavilion seats—and I said I needed to shop, so we headed for the souvenir tent. Most of the stuff was Red Hot Chili Peppers shit, since they were the headliners, so I bought everything Foo—a black t-shirt, a white t-shirt, a hat, two sets of stickers (one to use, one to save), and a program, which, it turned out was only for the Chili Peppers, but, whatever. So that was a hundred bucks right there. I literally brought all my money, including the two credit cards I actually have available credit on, so I could buy everything they had, and, of course, in case we went out with them afterwards. So we go find a place on the lawn, pretty much in the front by the sidewalk, kind of left of center. I was so incredibly excited to be on the same premises as Dave Grohl, it was so ridiculous. I tried to be cool about it, tried to keep my composure and not act like some 10-year-old girl at an ‘N Sync concert—but that is exactly how I felt!!!!! Blah blah blah, the opening band, Blonde Redhead, sucked, there was a small intermission, and I saw them setting up the Foo Fighters’ instruments. I saw Taylor, the drummer, checking his shit out, and I started feeling really anxious. I cannot properly express my anticipation, my nervousness, my complete expectation to be blown away by this band! It was an incredible feeling, waiting to see the man I am now in love with (as I said, I have a greater chance of ending up with Dave Grohl than I ever did of ending up with Jim!), in person, doing his thing for thousands of people! I just have to have this man! It’s just gotta happen!!! Suddenly, this music starts, something I recognized, something classical, and then they came out onto the stage, and opened with “Monkey Wrench”, the second song from their second album, which I had just listened to, like, five or six times in a row earlier in the day (and which is on right now). Everyone is standing and clapping and I am seeing Dave, just this small figure on the stage, dressed all in black (I think he only has three outfits), wailing away, and am not believing he is so close to me! It was a dream come true. So he does—rather, the whole band does—another song or two, and Dave starts yelling at the people in the pavilion to get to their seats, because there’s five thousand people on the lawn who would love to be in the pavilion, and he wouldn’t want them all made at him. So he’s singing “For All the Cows”—a truly fucking awesome song from their first album—and he jumps down into the audience to get people to their seats. I was telling E how not fair that was that those people get to be right there with “my boyfriend,” as I called him. He sang the entire song in the audience, then I think he got back on stage, then he left again and was walking around the pavilion. So I told E that maybe he’ll come up the aisle that was facing us, and she doubted that would happen—well, he came up the side aisle, by the first seats in the rows, and all the way to the back of the pavilion by the gate—he jumped on top of this garbage can, and everyone on the lawn swarmed up to the gate, it was like the tide coming in!!! She screamed “Get your camera!” (I smuggled in my disposable camera) and I pulled it out of my purse. I wasn’t sure how it worked but I was trying to look at Dave—who was about six feet from me—my heart still pounds extra hard when I think about close I was to him!!!—and trying to figure out this goddamn camera. Does it have an on-off switch, how does it start, all that—I finally started taking pictures as he was talking to some guy about a tattoo on the guy’s arm (that’s what I surmised). Then he turned to his right and everyone freaked out again and I kept taking pictures and didn’t even think about trying to yell to him to get him to notice me—it was a bizarre experience. Then he left to walk around some more, and E said she was going to go see if our stuff was still at our spot (J and her brother stayed behind when we all rushed forward). Then I could not find them when I tried going back. E told me some guy tried to cut in front of me when I was up at the gate, so she pushed him out of the way, and then some other guy like totally bashed her in the head with his arm. I got like five or six pictures while I was up there—I saved the rest of the film in case, of course, we got to hang out with them after the show. So, the show was awesome, they sang for not quite an hour—I sang along to every single song, of course—and when it was over, I was still reeling from seeing him so up close and personal. He is just so goddamn cute, just such a regular guy, so wonderful and funny and perfect! He has got the cutest smile!!!
So E and I walked around a bit before the Chili Peppers came on, and we plotted how we would try to meet the Foos. We walked by some of the concession stands and I am pretty sure I saw them sitting at a picnic table next to the backstage area. I saw a guy in all black (Dave), a guy in a red shirt (Taylor), and two other guys, so I was convinced it was the band. I wanted to try to sneak backstage—I told E that I would flash whomever I had to to get back there—she just thinks it’s so cool when I say stuff like that. I didn’t want to get kicked out though, so we just walked around a bit more “to show me off”, as I explained, and then we went to the bathroom. It must be a tradition to sign the stalls at Blossom, because every inch of the bathroom was covered in graffiti, mostly about who saw what band on what date. So, in a heart, I wrote “Dana loves Dave Grohl 8 July 00”.
Now, there were several attempted mosh pits during then Foos, all of which were promptly broken up by security, and I was certain things were going to get quite ugly when the Chili Peppers came on. There was a lot of weed in the air, let me tell you, and when the Chili Peppers came on, the lawn looked like Woodstock, just a sea of people—you couldn’t see any grass, but you sure could smell it (ha ha)! It was a good show, even though I’m really not a fan. There were a few mosh pits, there was crowd surfing, there were people standing on the sidewalk, right up at the gate—I think security was afraid to tell people to stay on the lawn! There were several times I was sure of violence, but it didn’t happen. All in all, it was a very cool experience, and the thing I was most concerned about was that my pictures come out.
Which they did not. I took them in today and they did not show up at all. I used the rest of the film on my sisters and my car, now plastered with Foo Fighters stickers, and taking pictures of my Foo memorabilia. The only ones that came out were the ones of my car, one of the FF on my ankle, one of my TV with Dave Grohl onscreen, and I think that’s it. I looked on the negatives, and you can barely make out any of the others. The ones of Dave, well, you can see a lot of arms reaching for him, you can see the security guy, and I can tell that the dark smudge is Dave. At least I got to breathe the same air as Dave Grohl, that’s really the most important thing.
So after work yesterday all I did was watch every piece of video tape I have of the Foos, listened to all three of their albums, and fantasize about Dave before I went to sleep. The nigh of the concert I could not go to sleep, I was far too excited. Today I watched the making of their “Break Out: video for like the 20th time, and their concert from Australia from January for like the 10th time….
Happily, nothing has changed for me Foo-wise all these years later.