Dave Grohl is a funny dude. In backstage footage of Nirvana, Cobain was sullen, Novoselic was weird and Grohl was the one narrating the contents of the deli tray in a horrible French accent.
His quick wit and Butthead-ian humor went over huge July 17 at the San Diego Civic Theatre, where the Foo Fighters performed a show billed as "Afoostic." It wasn't unplugged-with three guitarists, a bassist, organist, percussionist and violinist among the eight-piece set-up. But Grohl sat down with an acoustic guitar to lead the night, mostly a showcase of the acoustic side of their 2005 double album, In Your Honor.
Grohl recalled phoning his mother to ask if he should quit his job "laying tile" in Costa Mesa and move to Aberdeen to join Nirvana-after which he convinced Mom, seated in about the seventh row, to stand up and take a bow. He told the story of writing songs as quietly as possible in his bedroom at Nirvana's tiny, disgusting apartment so as to not wake Cobain. He explained that Aberdeen smelled like "broccoli that someone had farted on," and how he wished the "two old Muppets" were up in the balcony so they could yap about how much the band sucked.
Only, they didn't suck. Grohl's got a fine voice whether screaming or singing. The nine songs from In Your Honor were met with a subdued respect from the sold-out crowd. But the whole theater sang along to mellowed-out versions of Foo hits like "My Hero," "See You" and "Walking After You," and superfans went nuts when Grohl struck the first chords of his Nirvana b-side, "Marigold."
For the final song of the encore, two hippies in the 10th row begged Grohl to play "Everlong." He resisted, contending "that's for a rock show, maaaannn" and that he'd "need lasers and shit" to do it justice.
Finally, with the defeated chuckle of a conscientious host, he obliged-and about 2,600 backup singers joined in.
It was a surprisingly good show, proving Grohl's talent isn't dependent on maxing out Marshall stacks. As a musician, he deserves every platinum record. But it was as a funny dude willing to tell revealing stories that won the night.