“You realize you’re the guinea pigs, right?” Dave Grohl asked the crowd at the intimate Foo Fighters show last night at the Fillmore New York at Irving Plaza. With a new album out next week and a tour inevitably to follow, the band treated the gig as a spring training of sorts, working out the new songs and revisiting some older ones as well. The result? Pretty damn great. The blistering two-hour set introduced new tracks like "Long Road to Ruin" and "The Pretender" that are likely to be a staples in future sets, while surprises like "Aurora" and "Marigold" (which is so old it’s technically a Nirvana song) sounded as tight as muscle-memory hits like "Everlong" and "Monkey Wrench." Grohl himself was in mid-season form too, screaming, climbing things, and changing the set list last minute as though he’d been touring for months.
A mid-gig acoustic set added four additional musicians to the stage (including former guitarist Pat Smear) and provided a bit of a respite from the otherwise loud guitars. A note to fans, though: If you’re going to wait until a quiet moment to shout out that hilarious, witty comment you’ve been working on all week, don’t blow it and shout out, "Fuck Courteney Cox!" A band at the top of its game at least deserves fans that can keep their Courtneys straight. —Joe DeLessio