Austin is one of America’s music destination cities. One of the most special activities in the city is attending a live taping of the Austin City Limits show for PBS at the Moody Theater in downtown. It has become one of my favorite things to do when I travel to Texas to cover Austin City Limits Festival each year.
In 2022, I was able to catch Olivia Rodrigo in one of her first live performances for an audience just as her career was skyrocketing as well as an intimate performance with 80’s icons Duran Duran.
This year I came down a day early to see one of my favorite rock bands, the Foo Fighters, take the stage in a one of a kind performance for a taping of the 49th season of the famed show. This was the third time the band had taken the stage with their last appearance taking place nine years earlier in 2014.
The night always starts with Austin City Limits executive producer Terry Lickona stepping onstage to welcome the audience and introduce the night’s performers.
Dave Grohl and crew took over the stage with “Times Like These” as the first song of their performance. I have seen Foo Fighters perform four times this summer at music festivals across North America and this performance felt different from the start. This intimate setting allowed the band to perform more hits from their deep cuts as well as Grohl tell more personal stories.
The core band members, including Chris Shiflett, Nate Mendel, Rami Jaffee and Pat Smear, delivered a stellar performance as they played crowd favorites such as “Under You” and “Rescued” from their most recent album release. The Austin audience warmly embraced the newest addition to the group, drummer Josh Freese.
Grohl took time in the middle of the set to introduce the band with a medley of songs to highlight each band member. Songs included everything from “Sabotage” from the Beastie Boys to “Whip It” by Devo, one of the many bands that Freese has brought his drum skills. Dave also gave a special shout out to Freese during the band introductions saying that he is the only reason the band is standing there today performing for the sold-out crowd.
In an emotional moment of the show Dave Grohl dedicated the song “The Glass” to his later mother Virginia who passed away in late summer 2022. He spoke about how he had to visit his mother in an assisted living facility during the pandemic and how hard it was. This hit me hard because this was the same situation I faced with my own mother during the pandemic before her death and so I am sure this was emotional for many people who faced this pandemic reality.
Grohl also dedicated “Aurora” to drummer, Taylor Hawkins, as it was his favorite Foos song to play. You can tell that Taylor’s passing is still on the minds of the whole band as they come back to play music for the first tour without the original drummer.
Following the frontman’s solo rendition of “Everlong” to conclude the set, the Foo Fighters made a triumphant return to the stage for an encore, concluding with a gracious bow and concluding one of the most exciting nights at the Moody Theater all year.
The broadcast of the Foo Fighters performance on PBS will air November 18.