Foo Fighters Blow the Lid off Santa Barbara Bowl

Chris Shiflett, Josh Freese, Nate Mendel, Dave Grohl Rami Jaffee, and Pat Smear of the Foo Fighters at the Santa Barbara Bowl (Photo: Joyce Artman Smith)

The announcement came as a surprise. Less than a week before tickets were to go on sale, the Foo Fighters announced that there would be an added show at the Santa Barbara Bowl.

The stellar rock and roll band, used to playing venues of 45,000 (they sold out Wembley Stadium 86K), was now going to fill our 4500 seat amphitheater.

Tickets went on sale at the Bowl on September 14 for the September 28 show. Ticket sellers went crazy. Prices soared.

Joyce outside the Santa Barbara Bowl sign (courtesy)

My concert-savvy daughter secured pre-sale tickets on the 12th. Fans showed up at the Bowl the night of the 13th. By 11:00 pm, 25 people had camped out; by 6am, there were 500 restless people in line. Locals complained about the price and scarcity of tickets.

I live five blocks from the Bowl, and my kids wanted me in shape, so I practiced walking back-and-forth for two weeks. I not only was going to get to see the Foo Fighters, my faves, but I would be celebrating my 80th birthday at the same time, and my first time at the Bowl.

The night of the concert, I put on my “I HEART FF” shirt, my daughter plasters a piece of tape on it saying  “I AM 80!” and sticks a “BIRTHDAY GIRL” tiara on my head. Fueled by pure adrenaline, I almost sprint to the bowl.

People keep wishing me “Happy Birthday” including the entire tram I ride to top of the Bowl who sing it to me. The staff guides me to the pit. My daughter, being a seasoned venue veteran, deftly shoe-horns us into the second row/person against the pit railing. I am prepared to claw my way through the crowd and climb up on the stage if I have to.

Finally, slightly after 8pm, Dave Grohl appears out of darkness on the stage, his dazzling smile assuring everyone that whatever they’d been through was going to be worth it.

He opens with with the driving rhythm of “All My Life”, as the other members of the band appear, hitting it hard. The crowd goes wild, so do lights, smoke, incredible guitar licks, and fantastic drumming from Josh Freese. Pat Smear, Nate Mendel, and Chris Shiflett, (Santa Barbara High School graduate, who Dave spotlighted as much as he could) are superb.

A proud night for Santa Barbara. Dave addresses the crowd often, once commenting on the intimacy of the venue. The band rips, with mastery, through nineteen of their hits, only three from the latest album, ending with a fan favorite, “Everlong”.

The flying hawk logo, a tribute to Taylor Hawkins, is projected above. At the end, Dave runs to the edge of the stage, snatches up the digital time clock that reads ten o’clock, grinning, “We made it!”

The crowd thunders their approval.


Written by greytfull

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