Foo Fighters hosted the first of two tribute concerts honoring late drummer Taylor Hawkins on Saturday at London’s Wembley Stadium.
The show featured a jaw-dropping lineup of music stars that included one particularly special surprise guest, Paul McCartney, who joined the Foos during their event-closing set.
McCartney was accompanied by The Pretenders‘ Chrissie Hynde — whose own band played a set earlier in the day — and two performed duet version The Beatles‘ “Oh! Darling.” Then, Sir Paul and the Foo Fighters rocked out on the Fab Four’s “Helter Skelter.”
The concert, which ran for a whopping six hours, began with a video montage set to the Foos song “Aurora,” after which frontman Dave Grohl, flanked by bandmates Nate Mendel, Chris Shiflett, Pat Smear and Rami Jaffee, came onstage to deliver his first public remarks since Hawkins unexpectedly died on March 25 at age 50.
“Tonight, we’ve gathered with family, and [Hawkins’] closest friends, his musical heroes and greatest inspirations, to bring you a gigantic f***ing night for a gigantic f***ing person,” Grohl told the cheering crowd.
The concert began with ex-Oasis singer Liam Gallagher, who performed his old band’s songs “Rock ‘n’ Roll Star” and “Live Forever” alongside Foo Fighters, with Grohl on drums.
The first half of the show was mostly a tribute to the music that Hawkins himself loved. Among the highlights: Chic‘s Nile Rodgers was joined by Queens of the Stone Age‘s Joshua Homme and Supergrass‘ Gaz Coombes for David Bowie covers; Wolfgang Van Halen channeled the spirit of his late father Eddie Van Halen with performances of Van Halen‘s “Hot for Teacher” and “On Fire” with Grohl on bass; and the Joe Walsh-fronted band James Gang reunited for their first live set since 2006.
The concert also included performances by Hawkins’ side projects Chevy Metal and Coattail Riders, The Pretenders with Grohl on bass, and reunited supergroup Them Crooked Vultures, featuring Grohl, Homme, Led Zeppelin‘s John Paul Jones and Queens of the Stone Age guitarist Alain Johannes.
In between performances, the Wembley screens showed video tributes sent in by artists including Red Hot Chili Peppers drummer Chad Smith, Slash and Duff McKagan of Guns N’ Roses, and Elton John. Fleetwood Mac‘s Stevie Nicks also sent in an audio message, while comedian Dave Chappelle and actor Jason Sudeikis gave in-person remarks.
The concert then started to channel a Rock & Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony when the Foos returned to the stage with AC/DC‘s Brian Johnson and Metallica‘s Lars Ulrich to play AC/DC’s “Back in Black” and “Let There Be Rock.” Police drummer Stewart Copeland then joined the Foo Fighters for two of his old band’s songs.
Next, Rush‘s Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson rocked out with Grohl on drums on “2112: I. Overture” and “Working Man.” Lee and Lifeson were then joined by former Bowie drummer Omar Hakim for “YYZ.”
A Queen set followed, with Queen guitarist Brian May and drummer Roger Taylor joining the Foos for renditions of “We Will Rock You,” “Somebody to Love,” “I’m In Love with My Car” and “Under Pressure.” May then played a solo rendition of Queen’s “Love of My Life.”
The night closed out with a greatest-hits performance of Foo Fighters songs, with the band joined by several guest drummers, including Hakim, Roger Taylor’s son Rufus and viral kid drummer Nandi Bushell.
After McCartney’s surprise appearance, the Foos closed the night with their classic “My Hero,” with Taylor Hawkins’ son Shane on drums, and a Grohl solo rendition of “Everlong.”
You can watch an archived stream of the entire show via MTV’s YouTube channel. CBS will air a one-hour special version of the concert Saturday at 10 p.m. ET. A two-hour special will air on MTV later in September.
Proceeds from the Wembley concert will be donated to Music Support and MusiCares. The second Hawkins tribute show will take place September 27 in Los Angeles.
Here’s the Wembley set list:
Foo Fighters with Liam Gallagher — “Rock ‘n’ Roll Star” (Oasis)
Foo Fighters with Liam Gallagher — “Live Forever” (Oasis)
Joshua Homme, Chris Chaney, Omar Hakim, Nile Rodgers — “Let’s Dance” (David Bowie)
Gaz Coombes, Chris Chaney, Omar Hakim, Nile Rodgers — “Modern Love” (David Bowie)
Chevy Metal — “Psycho Killer” (Talking Heads)
Kesha with Chevy Metal — “Children of the Revolution” (T. Rex)
Justin Hawkins with Coattail Riders — “Louise” (Coattail Riders)
Justin Hawkins with Coattail Riders — “Range Rover B****” (Taylor Hawkins)
Justin Hawkins with Coattail Riders — “It’s Over” (Coattail Riders)
Wolfgang Van Halen, Dave Grohl, Josh Freese, Justin Hawkins — “On Fire” (Van Halen)
Wolfgang Van Halen, Dave Grohl, Josh Freese, Justin Hawkins — “Hot for Teacher” (Van Halen)
Violet Grohl, Dave Grohl, Greg Kurstin, Alain Johannes, Chris Chaney, Jason Falkner — “Last Goodbye” (Jeff Buckley)
Violet Grohl, Dave Grohl, Greg Kurstin, Alain Johannes, Chris Chaney, Jason Falkner — “Grace” (Jeff Buckley)
Supergrass — “Richard III”
Supergrass — “Alright”
Supergrass — “Caught By the Fuzz”
Them Crooked Vultures — “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road” (Elton John)
Them Crooked Vultures — “Gunman”
Them Crooked Vultures — “Long Slow Goodbye” (Queens of the Stone Age)
Pretenders with Dave Grohl — “Precious”
Pretenders with Dave Grohl — “Tattooed Love Boys”
Pretenders with Dave Grohl — “Brass in Pocket”
James Gang — “Walk Away”
James Gang — “The Bomber: Closet Queen/Bolero/Cast Your Fate to the Wind”
James Gang with Dave Grohl — “Funk #49”
Violet Grohl, Mark Ronson, Chris Chaney, Jason Falkner — “Valerie” (The Zutons)
Foo Fighters with Lars Ulrich & Brian Johnson — “Back in Black” (AC/DC)
Foo Fighters with Lars Ulrich & Brian Johnson — “Let There Be Rock” (AC/DC)
Foo Fighters with Stewart Copeland — “Next to You” (The Police)
Foo Fighters with Stewart Copeland & Gaz Coombes — “Everything Little Thing She Does Is Magic” (The Police)
Dave Grohl, Geddy Lee, Alex Lifeson — “2112: I. Overture” (Rush)
Dave Grohl, Geddy Lee, Alex Lifeson — “Working Man” (Rush)
Geddy Lee, Alex Lifeson, Omar Hakim — “YYZ” (Rush)
Foo Fighters with Roger & Rufus Taylor, Brian May, Luke Spiller — “We Will Rock You” (Queen)
Foo Fighters with Roger & Rufus Taylor, Brian May — “I’m in Love with My Car” (Queen)
Foo Fighters with Roger Taylor, Brian May, Justin Hawkins — “Under Pressure” (Queen & David Bowie)
Foo Fighters with Roger Taylor, Brian May, Sam Ryder — “Somebody to Love” (Queen)
Brian May — “Love of My Life” (Queen)
Foo Fighters with Josh Freese — “Times Like These”
Foo Fighters with Josh Freese — “All My Life”
Foo Fighters with Travis Barker — “The Pretender”
Foo Fighters with Travis Barker — “Monkey Wrench”
Foo Fighters with Nandi Bushell — “Learn to Fly”
Foo Fighters with Rufus Taylor — “These Days”
Foo Fighters with Rufus Taylor — “Best of You”
Foo Fighters with Paul McCartney, Chrissie Hynde & Omar Hakim — “Oh! Darling” (The Beatles)
Foo Fighters with Paul McCartney & Omar Hakim — “Helter Skelter” (The Beatles)
Foo Fighters with Omar Hakim — “Aurora”
Foo Fighters with Shane Hawkins — “My Hero”
Dave Grohl — “Everlong”
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