Foo Fighters have finally stepped onto Glastonbury’s Pyramid Stage, two years after they were forced to pull out of the festival.
Days before their headline performance in 2015, Dave Grohl fell off stage and broke his leg in Gothenburg, Sweden.
“I’m about two years late tonight, I’m sorry,” said Grohl on Saturday, blaming bad traffic for the delay.
He then played a solo version of Times Like These, bringing in the band for an explosive climax.
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Grohl explained the song held special significance when it came to their Glastonbury experience.
In 2015, he said, he has watched Florence + The Machine stand in for the Foo Fighters “on my laptop as I was sitting in a wheelchair with a broken leg and it looked beautiful.
“And all of a sudden, she played a Foo Fighters song – way better than we’ve ever played a Foo Fighters song, let me tell you.
“So I thought I’d come out here and start the show tonight singing that song back to Florence.”
Earlier this week, Grohl told BBC Radio 1 that playing Times Like These at Glastonbury would be “part of my recovery in a weird way.”
The band continued their set with All My Life and Learn to Fly – an exhilarating one-two punch of riff-laden rock.
“I think tonight we should just play until they kick us off the stage,” said Grohl. “You know we can do it.”
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Grohl started out as the drummer in Nirvana, but these days it’s hard to imagine a time when he wasn’t a frontman.
Whether thrashing his guitar, strutting around the stage or teasing the crowd, his charisma spills over.
At one point, he sang an improvised song entirely consisting of one repeated swear word, just so he could break Adele’s record for the most obscenities said on stage at Glastonbury.
And after the band played Walk, about “learning to walk again”, he joked: “I’d like to dedicate that last song to my surgeon my plastic surgeon.
“I went to him and I said, ‘I know I have a broken leg – but could you make me look older. And voila.”
As Grohl scrolled through a mini-history of the Foo Fighters’ hits (The Pretender, My Hero, Monkey Wench), it became clear the band have one setting: Supersonic. Even the quiet songs somehow ended up loud.
But their catchy pop-rock choruses and Grohl’s investment in his band kept the crowd on side throughout the two-and-a-quarter hour set.
Spirits didn’t even sag when drummer Taylor Hawkins stepped out from behind his kit to sing a version of Queen and David Bowie’s Under Pressure.
In fact, their bonhomie almost worked too well. During a pause in Best Of You, the audience picked up the song’s “woah-oh” refrain and sang it back to the band for a good three minutes.
“Would you let me finish the song, please?” pleaded Grohl. “Shhh.”
They eventually overran by 20 minutes, finishing their set just after the Pyramid Stage’s midnight curfew with a firework-assisted Everlong.
“I feel like this is the big one,” said Grohl. “I feel it’s the way it’s supposed to be.”
“Thank you so much. It was a beautiful night.”
Stormzy’s touching tribute
Elsewhere on Friday night, Solange played a mellow, subtly choreographed set on the West Holts stage.
Her performance drew heavily on last year’s hit album A Seat At The Table, a soulful, thoughtful portrayal of the struggles faced by black women throughout history.
British grime star Stormzy gave a powerful performance to a packed-out audience at The Other Stage.
Alongside his own hits, including Big For Your Boots and Shut Up, he played Ed Sheeran’s Shape Of You – on which he provided a guest rap at this year’s Brit Awards.
“We’re going to sing for Ed right now,” he said, encouraging the audience to go and see the pop star’s headline set on Sunday night.
“We’re going to let him know we got him tomorrow.”
Stormzy also dedicated the song 100 Bags to his mum, saying she “wouldn’t be able to comprehend” her son playing to 20,000 people at Glastonbury.
“Hey, mumzy, look at your boy now,” he said.
Throughout, the star’s set embraced his mainstream appeal without diluting the fierce and dextrous wordplay that made him special in the first place.
Coming on the day that Dizzee Rascal complained no British rapper had ever headlined Glastonbury’s Pyramid Stage, it marked the rapper out as the artist to break that barrier.