Festival Showdown!


When Green Day and Foo Fighters played together in ireland, the stage was set for an epic battle between two of the biggest rock bands on the planet.

Backstage at Oxegen 3:45pm As Audioslave hit the main stage, a few hundred metres away FOO FIGHTERS are arriving on site in a flurry of camera clicks, bellowed instructions and walkie talkie static. On top of the usual army of tour managers, sound men, techs and lighting crew, both Dave Grohl and Taylor Hawkins have their partners in tow. Each member of the entourage wears an identical 'All Access' pass with 'Foo Fighters Family' hand-written on the back.
  They head into the dressing rooms - more usually, this is where the jockeys prepare themselves for races. A few booths down are FEEDER, just returning from their early afternoon slot. First out are Grohl and his wife Jordyn. "Hi, I'm Dave... big grin, big handshake. "How's it going? Damn, it's hot." He's instantly the centre of attention - naturally energetic and charismatic. The rest of the band comes through one by one. Chris Shiflett in shorts, as if he's just come from the beach. Then bassist Nate Mendel, quieter and less 'alpha male' than the others.
  Last is drummer Taylor Hawkins - a complete whirlwind. He sees everyone and makes sure they see him, like an eager puppy running round the room, sniffing everyone to size them up. Just watching him is exhausting as he hugs, high fives and laughs his way around the jockey club.

5pm Heading back to the bar for some much-needed shade, Kerrangl comes across Tom Linton, mild-mannered guitarist with .JIMMY EAT WORLD. He's in high spirits, since today will be the band's last show of the tour. He's looking forward to watching Foo Fighters tonight but doubts if they can overshadow the brilliance of Green Day. "We've been on tour with Green Day for about a month now and they're such a great live band. So good at getting the crowd going. It's a tough act for anyone to follow."

6:45pm "It's hard to talk to everyone that wants to speak to you," sighs Dave Grohl as a queue of expectant DJs and journalists snakes along the corridor outside his dressing room. "I don't mind the interviews, though. I was expecting to be doing a lot. It's only when I'm at home and doing phone interviews that it bugs me, because I'm not expecting it and I'd rather be doing other things. It's bad, but when I want to wrap them up, I just start going, 'Hello... hello... the line's cracking up... hello...', then I'm gone!"

7pm Just as Grohl ends his final interview of the day, THE KILLERS take the stage. "Man, that band gets the loudest singalongs," he says. "Our dressing room was right behind the stage last night (at T In The Park) and all you could hear was the crowd singing along to every word - not just the choruses, they even shout out the verses. I'm glad we don't have to go on after them. Luckily, we're on after Keane. Their crowd are a bit more sensible than ours. They all stand towards the back and sway while all the grimy kids who are down the front get twitchy for guitars. That's when we come on and nail them!"

8:30pm The calm before the storm. As the hangers- on disappear, Grohl wanders out onto one of the balconies with his wife, Taylor Hawkins and his fiancee. They sit in the cool shade and chat, taking a moment away from the madness of the festival over the other side of the building. Meanwhile, out front, the excitement is building. "We'd take the Foo Fighters over Green Day any day," reckon teenagers Luke McNally and Laura Halligan. "Green Day weren't that good - there was too much banter and not enough songs. If there was a fight between the Foos and Green Day, the Foos would kick arse!"
  It's a sentiment shared by Jesse from scuzz-rock duo DEATH FROM ABOVE 1979. "Green Day have become too contrived for me," says the drummer. His bandmate Sebastian is more forthright. "I think when a band retires and comes back dressed as Good Charlotte, there's something wrong."
  Predictably, Grohl himself is much more diplomatic. "We haven't got a chance of blowing Green Day off the stage," he says, as he hops in a minibus bound for the main stage. "They're the kings. It would be an impossible task."

Onstage at Oxegen 9:40pm "This is the last show of the tour, we want it to be fucking amazing!" screams Dave Grohl as 70,000 fans bellow their approval. After a shaky start - they sound uncertain during 'limes Like These'- FOO FIGHTERS are majestic tonight. Grohl's rapport with the crowd is flawless, transforming every chance occurrence into a moment of rock 'n' roll theatre.
  "The bands of the day are Audioslave, The Killers..." He grins cheekily, knowing that no-one will be expecting him to say this, "...and Keane!"

10:20pm At the side of the stage his wife sits with the roadies. All of them are banging their heads, singing along to every word. They're enjoying it so much that they don't notice two twins sprint out from the wings. The girls run up to Grohl and demand a kiss. Everyone looks bewildered, not sure what to do.
  "Sorry, honey, I don't kiss strangers on the lips," is the frontman's reply as he gives them a peck on the check. "Now get the FUCK off my stage! My wife's watching, you're gonna get me in trouble." Then he turns to his wife and says, "Honestly, honey, I swear I wasn't going to touch them. Honestly, you're the best..." He forces her out in front of the crowd and makes her wave - something she's not entirely comfortable with. Then he launches into 'This Is A Call', breaking it down so he can sing her a verse, 'This is a call to Mrs Grohl/AII she wants is a vaca- tion/But this is the last night of the tour/Then we can go home/Have lots of fun and make a baby'. It would be a touching moment - had she not walked offstage moments earlier to talk to the tour manager. It's that kind of night.

10:45pm As Grohl sings 'Everlong' alone, Shiflett stands backstage with the roadies. Out front, Grohl is isolated in a spotlight, an entire crowd singing back to him, lighters aloft, lost in the moment. Shiflett takes one look, cracks a joke and the entire crew wet themselves laughing.
  Then Taylor Hawkins steps out with a guitar to sing 'Cold Day In The Sun', while Grohl goes, he tells Hawkins, to "fuck with your kit". Hawkins clearly loves it, warming up his voice with Freddie Mercury-style falsettos which the entire crowd, to a man, sing back to him. Grohl is also loving it, back where he started, pounding the shit out of Hawkins' kit. There's a certain irony too. Grohl, the drummer who turned frontman, is now letting his own drummer do exactly the same back to him.

11pm A song later and they're out. The buzz is enormous. Chris Shiflett is enraptured, telling every- one that, "This is the perfect end to a tour. It was amazing, the sun was going down, the crowd were beautiful and the waft of shit from the porta-potties just topped it off perfectly!"
  That buzz isn't even dented when everyone realises that there there's only one 10-seater minibus left to take 30 people back to the dressing room. Everyone piles in, the band sitting on the laps of everyone else who's crammed in, dripping sweat and shaking their hair out. Grohl, on the other hand, takes one look at the cramped van, grabs his wife and hijacks a golf cart, zooming off at top speed and yee-hawing all the way back. His maniacal laugh scythes through the summer night as he disappears out of view. It's a triumphant sound. One that says, 'Beat that, Billie Joe Armstrong.

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