This is the longest I’ve ever waited to post a review, usually I post them the night I attend a show, but Thursday’s show at the Hollywood Palladium didn’t end until 1AM. At 3 and a half hours, the Sound City Players show was the longest headlining performance I’ve ever seen. I arrived in Hollywood at 5PM (narrowly beating LA traffic) and after a 3 hour wait I entered the venue. The age demographic was varied, there were people in their 20’s like me but also some in their 30’s and 40’s. Saw several Nirvana shirts (I was wearing one as well), one guy said that he saw the band several times back in the day.
The show kicked off at 9:30PM with a set featuring Eleven’s Alain Johannes after a clip of him speaking in the Sound City documentary was played. Clips aired throughout the night from the Sound City film to introduce performers. Johannes should be a familiar name to GrungeReport.net readers, he used to be in Queens of the Stone Age and has also worked with Them Crooked Vultures, Chris Cornell, and Mark Lanegan. Grohl and Johannes did their best to fill in vocally for Mark Lanegan in a high octane performance of Queens of the Stone Age’s 2002 classic “Hangin Tree.” The Johannes set featured Dave Grohl playing bass, something I never thought I’d see live. Chris Goss and Rage Against The Machine drummer Brad Wilk’s performance with Grohl and company gave me a new appreciation for Wilk’s drumming. Pat Smear and Fear frontman Lee Ving came on stage to infuse some punk rock into the show. The energy level really picked up here, it was great to see Pat Smear in his punk rock element. Dave Grohl also played a set with Black Rebel Motorcycle Club.
One of the highlight’s of the night was the surviving members of Nirvana performing with Cheap Trick guitarist Rick Nielsen and Slipknot singer Corey Taylor. They performed some Cheap Trick songs and a new track from the Sound City soundtrack. I was right in front of Krist Novoselic and Pat Smear for the performance, and it was a dream come true to see the surviving members of Nirvana perform together. You could sense that the musical connection between Grohl and Novoselic was still as dynamic as ever, it was truly surreal and something I never thought I’d get to see. Novoselic is a very charismatic bass player live, he did some slight dancing before one song and moved around quite a bit. While I was mostly focused on the Nirvana guys, Rick Nielsen was great as usual and even Corey Taylor surprised me. “Surrender” was one of my favorite performances of the night, and it was a great way to cap off the Corey Taylor/Rick Nielsen/Nirvana set.
Rick Springfield performed next with Foo Fighters as his backing band. This was great, I had not really listened to too much Rick Springfield outside of his hits tonight but he definitely won me over. Dave Grohl seemed to have the most fun during this performance. Springfield brought tons of energy, even throwing his guitar in the air a few times. Former Creedence Clearwater Revival frontman John Fogerty also brought it live performing several of his hits, he introduced “Fortunate Son” as a new track they had recorded for the Sound City film. Fogerty praised Grohl, saying that everybody performing had Sound City in common but the other thing they had in common was that they all loved Dave.
Fleetwood Mac singer Stevie Nicks was the final performer of the night. What a voice, “Landslide” was right up there with “Surrender” as the highlight of the night for me. For “Landslide” it was just Dave on acoustic guitar and Stevie singing. Dave just seemed awestruck during the performance. “Gold Dust Woman” closed the show after 3 and a half hours, with Grohl and Nicks embracing before exiting the stage. This was one of the most enjoyable and unique concerts I’ve ever been to, it’s not too often that you get to see such a wide array of rock legends performing together.
A few of the photos of the Nirvana guys showed up sideways, so here they are.