An evening to remember for the history books as friends, family and rock icons pay their respects to the late Taylor Hawkins at Wembley Stadium.
There’s perhaps no better way to celebrate the life of late Foo Fighters drummer Taylor Hawkins than with performances by his friends, family and rock idols at a sold-out Wembley Stadium. , all in support of charities Musical assistance and Musicares Recording Academy.
Emotions ran high throughout the night as the gig marked the first time the Foo Fighters had performed since the tragic death of Hawkins last March, which led to the band canceling their entire planned tour in 2022.
The members of Foo Fighters came to pay a moving tribute to Taylor Hawkins, led by Dave Grohl.
Grohl said, “For those of you who knew him personally, you know no one else could make you smile, laugh, dance or sing like him.”
“And for those of you who admired him from afar, I’m sure you all felt the same way so tonight we reunited with his closest family and friends, his musical heroes and his biggest inspirations to bring you a gigantic fucking night for a gigantic fucking person.
The “gigantic fucking night” began with none other than Liam Gallagher setting the standards high from the start.
The Oasis frontman opened with the montage ‘Rock and Roll Star’ and ‘Live Forever,’ a song Liam dedicated to Hawkins a day after. his death at the Royal Albert Hall in March.
After Gallagher comes Dave Chapelle, who performed Radiohead’s “Creep” with the Foo Fighters at MSG last year. Yes, it really happened.
He paid a moving tribute to his friend, saying, “Taylor Hawkins is a legend of a man, he’s a legend of a musician and he’s a legend of a father.”
The concert lasted an incredible six hours and the majority honored and celebrated the music Taylor loved, performed by the people he loved and admired. There was everything from a David Bowie section with Nile Rodgers and Josh Homme of Queens of the Stone Age to a Jeff Buckley section with Violet Grohl and even a special The Police section with drummer Stewart Copeland.
Rock Legends Kept Coming Led Zeppelin’s John Paul Jones Into His Band twisted vultures to Joe Walsh of the Eagles with his supergroups The James Gang for the first time in 15 years and the surviving members of Rush with Dave Grohl replacing the late Neil Peart.
One of the first highlights of the show was the unique performance of one of the great supergroups formed in rock history. AC/DC’s Brian Johnson on vocals, Metallica’s Lars Ulrich on drums with the Foo Fighters performing a duet of AC/DC songs ‘Back in Black’ and ‘Let There Be Rock’.
That sums up the beauty of this event, all of these legendary musicians coming together to deliver unforgettable moments in tribute to Hawkins.
Just before Queen took the stage, Taylor Hawkins led the iconic Freddie Mercury “Ay-Oh” which the frontman performed at Live Aid through footage from a live performance. Queen was the first band Taylor saw live and he fell in love with the band, especially Roger Taylor on drums.
One of the most iconic stadium anthems of all time, “We Will Rock You,” opened Queen’s set and pumped up the energy in the crowd before “I’m In Love With My Car” from the drummer Roger Taylor.
After a downright fun performance of “Somebody To Love,” featuring surprise guest Sam Ryder, the rest of the band walked off stage and Brian May sat down for a solo performance of “Love Of My Life,” a song Freddie Mercury interpreted. at Wembley in 1986.
There was barely a dry eye in the stadium as telephone torches lit up Wembley with a picture of Hawkins in the background.
The Foo Fighters then took to the stage for a set that kicked off with “Times Like These.” Grohl held back tears halfway through the song, taking a moment to collect himself before continuing.
Just as Taylor would have liked, the emotions turned into high-octane energy with hits like “All My Life”, “The Pretender”, “Learn To Fly” and “Best Of You”.
The surprise of the evening came when Dave Grohl introduced Chrissie Hynde on stage with one of his friends…that friend was just Sir Paul McCartney.
The Beatles legend performed the classic track ‘Oh darling!’ for the first time while performing a duet with the lead singer of The Pretender.
McCartney then launched into arguably the first heavy metal song, “Helter Skelter” by The Beatles, alongside Foo Fighters.
The Foo Fighters set had a “revolving door” of star drummers, including Blink-182’s Travis Barker Nandi Bushell, Rufus Taylor and Omar Hakim, but the highlight was to be the emotional performance of ‘My Hero’ with Taylor Hawkin’s youngest son Shane Hawkins on drums.
Feeding off the mad energy of the crowd, it felt like Taylor was reborn as his son delivered a powerful performance on drums in what must have been an incredibly emotional and difficult time for him.
At the end of the show all the performers took to the stage and the scale of what the 90,000 people inside Wembley had just witnessed was unveiled, one of the most iconic nights in history rock.
It’s a testament to the character of the late drummer that all those rock icons and fans have come to pay their respects to one of the modern greats.
Words: adam davidson
Photography: scarlet page / Olivier Halfin