Just three hours beforehand, it looked like the end of the world. One of those summer storms that Madrid enjoys from time to time, which come accompanied by torrential downpours. The rain looked set to sink the first day of Mad Cool, the Madrileño music festival that is back for a second time this year, with tickets sold out months ago. But sometimes, the darkest clouds bring with them a perfect storm, unrepeatable moments, forces of nature. Foo Fighters, who were headlining the festival on Thursday night, offered the soggy crowd a concert that swept the crowd – as well as the bad omens – away.
At 10.15pm, with the skies finally clear, the band from Seattle took to the huge main stage at Mad Cool. Dressed in black, singer and songwriter Dave Grohl literally jumped onto the stage, old-school style, as if the performance had already been in full swing for two hours rather than two minutes.
The crowd responded in kind, with the thronged masses pogoing up and down, over-excited female fans dropping their still-warm cheesy nachos to the floor, and equally excited guys downing their beers in one. The aim was the same: to enter into communion with this Foo Fighters’ moment.
This band is the symbol of a past era when everything had a meaning. Attitude, guts, and a healthy dose of rebellion and fun
And it’s not just any moment. Foo Fighters are more than just a rock group. Since their inception, after the disappearance of Nirvana, this band created by Grohl – the drummer in Kurt Cobain’s band – is the symbol of a past era when everything had a meaning. Attitude, guts, and a healthy dose of rebellion and fun.
But in our super-connected, hyper-stimulated, oversaturated and – why deny it? – simplified times, the band has mutated. To talk about Foo Fighters is to talk about a concept, one that could see them playing on a busy line up at a benefit gig, or indeed at the launch event for the iPhone 5. But wherever they are, they always manage to achieve something that is incredibly difficult: making a connection with an international crowd. In Madrid on Thursday night they managed that admirably, and much of that is thanks to the guitar playing of Grohl, Pat Smear and Chris Shiflett, as well as the nervy drums of Taylor Hawkins.
It may have looked like the world was ending last night at the Caja Mágica tennis stadium, where the festival is held, but it wasn’t. If it had have been, one thing was clear watching Foo Fighters: that when Judgment Day comes, it would be better for us to be in such a crowd, pogoing, screaming and dancing. There is no better biblical flood than to be swept away by the relentless chords of rock songs…
English version by Simon Hunter.