Foo Fighters remind everyone what it is to be rock gods with first night at Emirates Old Trafford

You don't forget gigs like that.

Danny Jones Danny Jones - 14th June 2024

It’s not often you get to see genuine music royalty on the big stage just a few minutes down the road, but let it be known that the Foo Fighters’ first gig in Manchester for six years was one we’ll remember for the rest of our lives.

We’re also going to go ahead and confess that this isn’t even a review, not really: consider it an ode to one of the greatest bands to ever do it and it’s only after seeing them live that we truly appreciated their status as the rock gods they’ve been for decades now.

For a long time, the Foos have felt somewhat otherworldly, almost as if they were too big for us to ever believe we were actually seeing them in person.

But pinches of disbelief aside, we did – though not before two extremely impressive support acts.

Getting to catch a glimpse of Manchester post-punk with a hint of funk band Loose Articles as we finally made our way through the queues and crowds was a delight and we’re always buzzing to see local artists being given a platform by bigger acts – and it doesn’t get much bigger than Foo Fighters.


We didn’t hear much of their live set, we’ll admit, but they’ve been on our radar for a little while now and we’re certainly going to be watching them closely as they fly the flag for our city like so many before.

Wet Leg lead singer Rhian Teasdale was also full of praise for the warm-ups. The BRITs Best New Artist and Group of the Year for 2023 had just as much of a job on their hands to keep the thousands of Mancs dancing in the slight but steady rain, but they certainly lived up to the task.


It might not necessarily have been their crowd but moments like the scream in ‘Ur Mum’ and the undeniably catchy bop that is ‘Chaise Longue’ are never going to miss, managing to ramp up the energy a notch just in time for the Foos to take their places.

Seeing Dave Grohl walk out on stage in front of you in the flesh is a feeling we don’t think we’ll ever be quite able to describe but all we’ll say is that it was like the entire crowd inside the Emirates Old Trafford were simply welcoming home an old friend whilst simultaneously losing their minds.

Then the buggers had the audacity to start with ‘Monkey Wrench’ of all tracks, immediately getting everyone moving and rolling back the years as they slipped straight into a personal favourite, ‘Learn to Fly’ and then proceeded to play at least one track from every single album. They have 11, for context.


lt didn’t matter what era they drew from for the setlist and it’s no exaggeration when we say banger after banger. You don’t stay around for this long without putting out quality consistently.

Hearing cult favourite tunes like ‘Generator’, ‘Statues’ and even ‘Under You’, which Grohl was left stunned by as Manchester sang it back to him word for word – despite this being only one of the few occasions he’s played it live and just the first he’s played it entirely acoustic – it was all just so special.

We were also glad to see that Foo Fighters’ first night in Manchester had all the staples of an old-school rock show too, from long guitar solos and each band member getting a nice little intro/breakout moment, and even a 10-minute long jam in the form of ‘The Teacher’.

New drummer Josh Freese was a real standout too, showcasing exactly why the band picked him to follow in such big footsteps, but we can’t lie, there was any moment more emotional than the dedication to the late Taylor Hawkins.

Insisting that all they “ever do is tell Taylor” stories and that “he loved this place”, you could see faces welling up as they proceeded to play his song, ‘Aurora’, as a giant hawk motif appeared on the back of the stage and the applause felt like it would never end.


Emotional, for sure, but a core memory.

A fitting tribute to a legend.

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Another highlight was hearing the chorus of ‘ohs’ as they tried to play ‘The Best Of You’ and Dave simply said, “You win motherf***ers”, having already joked that he’d like to at least try and join in with us.

Manchester crowds hearing one note and running with it as they proceed to start the singalong themselves, voices in full, will simply never get old. It was the first night of the UK tour too; we set an example for everyone else – try following that.

After a truly memorable night, we can categorically confirm that Foo Fighters are as amazing live as you think they are – probably even better. Decades into their career and even with the loss of such a key driving force in the band, it’s incredible to see their stamina and talent haven’t wavered one bit.

These are the gigs you cross off your bucket list and if you’re going along on Saturday, you won’t be disappointed; plus you can still find all the important information you need in our Foo Fighters gig guide. Trust us, you’re going to have an absolute blast.


Long live the Foos.

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Featured Images — The Manc Group/Foo Fighters (via IG)