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POP MUSIC REVIEW

Foo Fighters kick it up

October 24, 2005|Natalie Nichols

"I always wanted to be David Lee Roth," joked Foo Fighters leader Dave Grohl before launching into his band's early hit "This Is a Call" on Saturday at Long Beach Arena. "And now I'm this close!"

Taking another step toward arena-rock-god status, the singer-songwriter-guitarist hurtled with gleeful intensity through 90 minutes of music from the Foos' new double album, "In Your Honor," and earlier works. The quartet combined a playful admiration for the majesty of rock with an affability that made such standouts as the thunderous anthem "In Your Honor" and the more vulnerable "Times Like These" irresistible.

Co-headliner Weezer's own melodically forceful tunes provided a sly counterpoint to Grohl's more down-to-earth expressions.Grohl bantered relentlessly, which threatened the momentum but highlighted his Labrador-retriever appeal. Not every tune was instantly memorable, but the players mined gems from the catalog and created variety with fluid dynamics. As usual, Grohl indulged in arena antics, including running into the crowd to ax-duel with guitarist Chris Shiflett during a blues-flecked take on "Stacked Actors." Surprisingly, despite the new album's "acoustic" disc, there was no acoustic interlude.

Still, even at full volume, the songs bled genuine emotion: loss, defiance, conviction. The Foos' rock was shot through with veins of the classics: Passing guitar tones evoked the Who, and the mortality theme of the new "DOA" vaguely recalled Blue Oyster Cult's "Don't Fear the Reaper." But their own take on universal ideas was more than enough to set them apart.

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