The all-star Taylor Hawkins Tribute Concert went on for more than five hours Saturday, closing the night out with an emotional, enthralling Foo Fighters set at London’s Wembley Stadium.
The show was a special tribute to the late drummer, with an impressive number of special guests throughout the evening. The Foo Fighters’ headlining moment featured many of the band’s greatest hits, assisted by friends and family on the drums in Taylor Hawkins’ place.
Dave Grohl told the crowd that they’d see a “revolving door of drummers” honoring Hawkins on stage with them and noted (to cheers all around), “When it comes to Taylor Hawkins, you gotta celebrate the drummers, right?”
Josh Freese joined the group on “Times Like These” and “All My Life,” while Travis Barker — who Grohl recalled was in a band but also “a fucking garbage man in Taylor’s neighborhood” when the two first met — commanded the stage for “The Pretender” and “Monkey Wrench.”
Next up was someone that Grohl described as “one of the most badass drummers I’ve ever met in my entire life” and “the biggest rock star on the bill”: young drummer Nandi Bushell, who joined the Foo Fighters on “Learn to Fly”. “This fine young drummer challenged me to a drum battle… at first I thought she was kidding. She was not,” he said. “I engaged in a drum battle and she proceeded to kick my ass in front of the entire fucking world.”
Rufus Taylor took the drums for “These Days” and “Best of You.” Grohl said, “We’ve known him since he was a little kid because of his father’s band [Rush] is Taylor’s favorite band, and his father was I think Taylor’s favorite singer.”
Before the Foo Fighters continued with their own best-of set, Grohl — teasing, “We got another little surprise for you” — let a couple other superstars take the spotlight: Paul McCartney and Chrissie Hynde, who united for an unexpected duet of the The Beatles’ “Oh! Darling,” trading off vocals on the verses, before McCartney segued into “Helter Skelter.” McCartney revealed he’d never done “Oh! Darling” as a duet before Saturday night, and really hadn’t performed the song “since we recorded it 100 years ago.” He also said, “God bless Taylor.”
Omar Hakim had assisted McCartney on drums, and he remained on stage as the Foo Fighters launched back into their own hits. Of “Aurora,” Grohl said, “I think this next song was Taylor’s favorite Foo Fighters song.”
A touching highlight of the night came next. “Let me tell you,” said Grohl, introducing a very special drummer to the crowd. “I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone hit the drums as hard as this person… He’s a member of our family, and he needs to be here tonight with all of us.” A photo of Hawkins with his son Shane was shown on a big screen, and the teen joined the group on drums for a moving “My Hero.”
“I hope that you guys felt all the love from all of us and all of the performers because we felt it from you, for Taylor, tonight,” Grohl said as the night came to an end. “I don’t really know what else to say.”
“This one’s for Taylor,” he said, concluding a great night of music with “Everlong.”
“Let’s hear it big and loud for Taylor fucking Hawkins right now,” said Grohl.
Watch the full show below.
This story first appeared on Billboard.com.
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