Dave Grohl might have some guilt issues. You should've heard his mouth groveling in front of a sold-out MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre on Wednesday night.
"Lemme tell you something. It's been a long ass time," the 49-year-old Foo Fighters frontman said as sweat dripped down his face. He went on to ramble about the nearly 13-year wait since his band's last Tampa show (a September 2015 affair at the St. Pete Times Forum) and expressed gratitude to the fans that've allowed his band to enjoy a 24-year run that's watched Foo Fighters become one of the most-respected bands in alternative rock.
"Ladies and gentlemen we got some making up to do," he exclaimed. He wasn't lying.
Foo Fighters immediately dove into its 1997 hit, "My Hero," before 19,500 fans followed suit. It's funny how the meaning of a chorus can change over the course of 20 years. When you're 12 years old, words like these are just fun to sing. They don't really mean a ton.
Kudos, my hero, leavin' all the best
You know my hero, the one that's one
There goes my hero
Watch him as he goes
There goes my hero
Thinking about your heroes feels much different when you're 33. Winning a few personal battles, losing some and losing friends and family has that effect. Grohl, for his part, doesn't seem to feel any of the age he's accumulated over the years. For nearly three hours, he stalked both sides of the old Gary amp's huge stage and chugged champagne in between turns churning out the chugging cords from albums like 2011's Wasting Light ("Rope," "Walk" and a subdued walk through "These Days"), 2007's Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace ("The Pretender") and 1999's There Is Nothing Left ("Breakout" and an early-in-the-set run with "Learn To Fly").
Ghrol's endurance was almost impossible to match. Unless you're name was Taylor Hawkins. The 46-year-old drummer took over in 1997 after Sunny Day Real Estate's William Goldsmith left and can go step-for-step with Grohl. Hawkins — who at one point played drums on a riser about 60 feet in the air — even stepped out from behind the kit (with Grohl taking his place) to sing a cover of "Under Pressure" with Luke Spiller of opening band The Struts (a band Grohl called the "best fucking band we've ever toured with"). A medley of covers was utilized in introducing band members (Alice Cooper, Grease, Van Halen and The Ramones all got a nod) during the kitschy-est part of the set, but it's hard to put Grohl himself in the kitschy category.
After "Breakout," Grohl managed to pluck some fan art out of the crowd, give it a good look over and exclaim, "You fucking made that?" Grohl brought the fan from Colorado onstage and mentioned how the art looked like a back piece.
"Like, I should get that tattooed on my fucking back," he screamed before Danny Argote told him he was a tattoo artist. "Get the fuck outta here," Grohl laughed before pretending to kick the fan off the stage.
"Wait a minute," Grohl said before his new friend could jump back into the crowd. "Beers are like $10 out there, but up here they're free. It's your choice." The two proceeded to hit a champagne bottle before another fan in the crowd gifted Grohl with a signed copy of Edgar Winter Group's 1972 album They Only Come Out at Night .
"No fucking way," Grohl said. "It's signed, and it says 'To Dave,' 'Frankenstein' was a song that got me into this rock and roll thing."
All of it felt very surreal, and the set did feel like a fantasy when considering the more than a decade-long wait between performances. Grohl, however, was happy to live in the moment. Looking like a rock and roll Jesus underneath a mane of black hair, Grohl's eyes lit up every time the house lights illuminated the sea of bodies packed into the venue.
A cover of Mose Allison's "Young Man Blues" even managed to magically elevate the band as it accelerated into "Best Of You" to begin a set-closing fury of songs. Grohl, admittedly buzzed, growled through the anthem like his life depended on it — because it did.
"Thanks you for the last 24 fucking years of our lives," he said before closing the night out with "Everlong," adding that it wouldn't be another 10 years between shows.
"It might be at the shitty bar down the street from your house, not at the Blockbuster dome or wherever the fuck we are right now," he joked. "I'll be 50 and singing 'Everlong' in a different key."
Grohl had a lot to say on Wednesday night, and there was a lot to catch up on, but it was what he said next meant the most.
"But I don't day goodbye."
See more photos, the setlist and listen to a playlist featuring songs from the set below.
Setlist (Foo Fighters at MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheater — 04.25.18)
All My Life
Learn To Fly
The Sky Is A Neighborhood
Under My Wheels (Alice Cooper)/You're the One That I want(John Travolta & Olivia Newton-John)/Imagine (John Lennon)/Jump (Van Halen)/Blitzkrieg Bop (The Ramones)/Under Pressure (Queen & David Bowie)
Times Like These
Young Man Blues (Mose Allison)
Best Of You
This Is Is A Call