The night's first beers-in-the-air anthem came after four minutes, as Dave Grohl unleashed that stadium-rattling howl of his during the thundering chorus of Something For Nothing.

After 10 minutes, we'd had the first mass singalong, with the rowdy crowd chanting the The Pretender's calling card - "Yeah who are you?" - back at Grohl so loudly they drowned the shaggy-haired front man out.

Dave Grohl performs at Mt Smart Stadium. Photo / Getty
Dave Grohl performs at Mt Smart Stadium. Photo / Getty

At the 15-minute mark, Grohl smiled his devilish grin, unleashed his growl again and tore off down the runway splitting the venue's front section in two during the neck-breaking pace of Breakout.

And after 20, fans erupted with football-style "Fooooo Fiiiiighters" chants as early highlight My Hero rumbled into life, with Taylor Hawkins' opening drum kicks resembling a jet engine reaching top gear.


Yes, Grohl and his Foo Fighters ticked off their boxes in quick succession at Mt Smart last night, their umpteenth appearance here that came on the back of their more mature American road trip album Sonic Highways - a record some have criticised for lacking the Foos' trademark humour.

That wasn't the case live. Grohl remains one of the best front men in the business - someone that can crack up the crowd just by raising an eyebrow.

But even the Foos aren't immune to occasional hiccups, and this show came with a couple. Like the version of Monkey Wrench that was toyed with so much it was virtually unrecognisable, while an acoustic interlude and extended series of covers turned into a slight mid-show slump.

Delivered on a smaller stage in the middle of the moshpit, the Foos gave those songs - including Kiss, Rush and AC/DC covers, as well as David Bowie and Queen's Under Pressure - their all, but that time might have been better spent thrashing through songs from the first Foos album, which this year turns 20.

The only song played from that debut was a tender Big Me, and was dedicated to the truck driver who crashed in Taihape, damaging equipment that forced the cancellation of the Foos' Auckland Town Hall charity show on Friday night.

Dave Grohl and The Foo Fighters perform at Mt Smart Stadium. Photo /Getty Images
Dave Grohl and The Foo Fighters perform at Mt Smart Stadium. Photo /Getty Images

Grohl addressed that elephant in the room during Wheels with heartfelt humour, promising the Foos would return to play the Town Hall if no one sang the song's chorus - an impossible ask of a crowd already in fine, possibly overly lubricated, voice. "I've never asked a crowd not to sing," joked the front man.

And the Foos soon got back to business, delivering a killer and extended closing segment that included Generator, These Days, Best of You and a brilliantly gutsy All My Life, with the stage's excellent visuals and intimate camera work being used to great effect.

It proved the Foos really have gotten quite good at this stadium rock thing, and continued what Grohl called a "passionate love affair" between the Foos and New Zealand - one that seems set to run and run. See you at the Town Hall next time, boys.


Foo Fighters
Where: Mt Smart Stadium, Auckland
When: Saturday, February 21