Video & Photo Cannapolitan
It’s just another Sunday afternoon in Los Angeles… or is it? For those super Foo Fighter fans that were paying attention, we hit the jackpot! True fans know that Dave and his guys are crafty and have ways of surprising their hard-core fans. The press release I received ten days prior said that it would be a pop-up for ticket sales and merch for CalJam 18 without the pesky fees that come with ticket sales, sponsored by Harley Davidson. It also mentioned that Taylor Hawkins’ band Chevy Metal would be performing along with a performance by “The Holy Shits.” For the most part, not many were aware of who “The Holy Shits” were, unless you are a FF fan then you knew it was in fact the Foo Fighters (or you googled it.)
The treat of a rare and FREE Foo Fighters concert was about to go down in the center of Hollywood at the Hollywood Palladium! Is there anything that the world-famous Foo Fighters can’t pull off? After witnessing this show myself, there is nothing that this band can’t make happen! As I approached the backside of the Palladium I could see the crowd (only a 1/3 full of capacity of the parking lot it seemed) and the stage was set up behind the Palladium outside. Food Trucks, merch booth, ticket sales for CalJam and the Foo Fighters white limo parked in the lot for fans to take pictures with. This was about to become an epic afternoon!
The audience was sparse, you could tell not many people knew what was about to go down.
Chevy Metal came on stage around 5pm with Taylor Hawkins (Foo Fighters drummer) coming out on stage to get behind the drum kit, the crowd roared. They kicked it off with Thin Lizzy’s Jail Break. Taylor Hawkins is a huge Queen fan and he shocked us all when he introduced Roger Taylor (Queen’s drummer) on to the stage to get behind the drum kit and play Under Pressure! Outstanding! If that wasn’t enough each song that Chevy Metal played a Foo Fighter would show up to play along. Rami Jaffee, Foo Fighter’s latest addition on keyboards was on stage, then it was Nate Mendel on bass, Chris Shiflett on lead guitar, Pat Smear on rhythm guitar. One by one as each song started another Foo emerged on stage and the crowd surged. They began playing Face’s Stay with Me and then Taylor announces in a menacing tone “it’s him…it’s him! What’s him doing here?” Dave walks on stage and looks at Taylor and Taylor asks “so, you want to play a couple?” The audience went bananas with screaming and applause.
“We’re going to morph our way through this set until finally; we’re gonna give the hardcore fans what they always wanted, but we got to jam a little first right?!” -Dave Grohl
For those that knew about this pop-up and didn’t go, I’m so sorry you missed a show that no one has seen before or will probably ever see! In true form Dave and the guys gave the super fans an opportunity to see and hear them perform songs that they have only played once live or haven’t been played in over a decade. The set list was as follows but not in order:
White Limo off of the Wasting Light album
Wattershed, Weenie Beenie, Alone +Easy Target, from the first self-titled album
Congregation from Sonic Highways album
Hey Johnny Park, New Way Home from The Colour and Shape album
Low from the One by One album
Gimmie Stitches from There is Nothing Left to Lose album
The final encore of Everlong echoed in the air for all the fans in the parking lot and anyone within an earshot of the show was beyond thrilled to have the opportunity to be part of something truly special.
Here’s a taste of some footage we shot:
Foo Fighters set the new rock festival bar this past year in October with the help of Live Nation. The mission to revive the concept of CalJam, a concert festival that had on a long hiatus and slumber since the original CalJam in April of 1974. This is a big deal to attempt to birth a new generation’s rock festival among a time when some festivals are calling it quits or being cancelled all together.
The return of CalJam this past fall headlined obviously the Foo Fighters, who were also promoting a brand-new album called Concrete and Gold. The festival included FF own museum of memorabilia, stage and video props, precious Grammy’s on display inside a large tent. The famous Foo Fighters White Limo was outside of the museum tent along with Dave’s throne of guitars that he used to finish the tour after breaking his leg falling off stage during tour. This is a rock fan’s dream, especially for FF nerds like myself.
There was a Ferris wheel and a few small carnival rides and a smaller stage set on the other side of the grounds of the park. Bands performed throughout the day leading up to Foo Fighters set were top acts; Queens of the Stone Age, Cage the Elephant, The Kills and more. CalJam 17 had the ingredients to start a serial rock festival that could continue for years to come, especially if CalJam has the power of the Foo Fighters behind it. The almighty Dave Grohl curated the festival to include bands that he and the guys want to hear and perhaps have an opportunity to jam with.
The festival was a great time, once you learned how to navigate around the property. The Glen Helen Regional Park is generally blazing in San Bernardino in October and the weather could have been hotter, but it was hot enough. Security was tight and was a bit overly intimate with searches and what was being allowed to be brought inside. This was a major hurdle of a walk from the parking lot to the front gate if you were told to either throw something away or take it back to the car. I was told that I could not bring in any unopened pack of cigarettes (at the time I smoked, no judging) and cannabis was also flagged if it was found, so plan accordingly. Another big hang up was the bottled water was $4! That’s steep for an all-day event in the hot dry heat of San Bernardino. Just so we can give perspective; the cost of admission of the original CalJam was $10, so yes inflation is a bitch, but water isn’t gold… or is it? Let’s work on that before this year’s CalJam so I can report back that more resources for water are offered at a fair rate and more fountains.
If you watch this fantastic vintage short video below about the original CalJam, you will see it was held at the Ontario Speedway in Ontario, CA in 1974 on a unseasonably warm April day. It is seriously incredible to watch what went into the making of such a huge show! A whopping 200,000+ music fans showed up for Deep Purple, Emerson, Lake & Palmer, Black Sabbath, Eagles, Seals and Crofts, Earth, Wind & Fire, and more! The concert set a record for the largest paid attendance on record. Another record established in 1974 was the largest sound system assembled with every system for each band tied together. Deep Purple made sure that everyone would know they were “the loudest band in the world” according to The Guinness Book of World Records. Even the Goodyear Blimp was in action above this epically massive crowd. The sound had to travel over a mile! CalJam 1974 was in fact a very successful show, over 8 hours of non-stop music and without much incidence at all; other than Deep Purple behaving badly at the end of their performance, but that’s another story for another time.
This year’s triumphant return of CalJam cleverly named CalJam 18 has an opportunity to grow off of last year’s electricity and improvements can always be made to make it a better experience for every fan to enjoy. This year the festival is expanding to two days at Glen Helen Amphitheater & regional park starting on Friday October 5th with top act Billy Idol headlining that night and opening bands named so far include Bridget Everett, Mexrrissey and more. With a festival that kicks off with Billy Idol, it’s gonna be “lit!”
Foo Fighters headline on Saturday with legendary performances by Iggy Pop with Post Pop Depression, Tenacious D, Garbage and introducing audiences to some fresh and talented bands such as Greta Van Fleet, Silversun Pickups, Manchester Orchestra, The Front Bottoms, Black Mountain, Deer Tick, Gang of Youths, Slaves UK, Giants in the Trees, Metz, Yungblud, Thunderpussy, Anna Von Hausswolff and Fea Kingfish. Many of these bands I’ve not heard before, CalJam opens the doors for these bands to grow their fan base. It’s a full weekend (if you count Friday) of music and good times. There is camping also offered at the park, so you can park, pitch a tent or park the RV and make no plans to leave until Sunday if you so desire.
All tickets and reservations are available through CalJam’s website: www.Caljamfest.com
To get your all your Foo on, please visit www.foofighters.com for always a good time.