Paul McCartney is Surprise Guest at Taylor Hawkins Tribute Concert

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Paul McCartney and Chrissie Hynde performing at Wembley Stadium, Sept. 3, 2022

The first of two Taylor Hawkins tribute concerts took place today (Sat., Sept. 3, 2022), at London’s Wembley Stadium, beginning at 4:30 BST / 11:30A EDT. The pair of shows were organized by the Foo Fighters to honor their late drummer who died on March 25, 2022. Well over five hours into the great production, Paul McCartney joined the evening’s lineup at around 9:45 p.m. local time. (McCartney inducted the Foos into the Rock Hall’s Class of 2021, and performed “Get Back” with them on that occasion.) The audience was treated to outstanding mini-sets of two-to-three songs by Pretenders, Wolfgang Van Halen, the newly reunited James Gang, Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson of Rush, Brian May and Roger Taylor of Queen, and many others. Led Zeppelin’s John Paul Jones performed with the supergroup Them Crooked Vultures. Foo Fighters’ Dave Grohl essentially served as a master of ceremonies, while also performing with many of the day’s various lineups including Brian Johnson of AC/DC and Metallica’s Lars Ulrich. The Wembley Stadium concert lasted nearly six hours and spanned 50 songs. It was streamed live on Paramount+ (in the U.S.) and Pluto TV (internationally), as well as on MTV Brand YouTube channels, beginning at 11:30 a.m. ET. CBS Television will broadcast an hour-long edition at 10 p.m. ET on Saturday. The second concert takes place on Sept. 27 at the Kia Forum in Los Angeles.

“We’ve gathered here with his musical heroes to have a gigantic f**king night for a gigantic f**king person,” said Dave Grohl as he introduced the first performer, Liam Gallagher, and the concert began with Oasis’ “Rock ‘N’ Roll Star” and “Live Forever.”

Comedian Dave Chappelle introduced Josh Homme of Queens of the Stone Age, and members of Jane’s Addiction and David Bowie’s band, as well as Nile Rodgers, who were up next to play several Bowie classics, “Let’s Dance” and “Modern Love.” Soon, Jason Sudeikis, who portrays a U.K.-based football coach on TV’s Ted Lasso, introduced the members of Hawkins’ side project, Chevy Metal, who covered the Talking Heads’ “Psycho Killer.”

Soon, Grohl joined Wolfgang Van Halen on guitar to perform “My Hero” and “Hot For Teacher.”

John Paul Jones at Wembley Stadium, Sept. 3, 2022

The “all-star rock and roll shows” were first revealed in a June 8 announcement.  On June 15 and June 17, the first names for the pair of shows were revealed and more than lived up to the billing. Joining Foo Fighters at Wembley: John Paul Jones with the supergroup Them Crooked Vultures, Brian May and Roger Taylor of Queen, Pretenders, Rush’s Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson, Stewart Copeland of The Police, AC/DC’s Johnson with Metallica’s Lars Ulrich, Blink-182’s Travis Barker, James Gang, Liam Gallagher, Nile Rodgers, Mark Ronson, and many more.

Pre-recorded spoken tributes featured such superstars as Elton John and Stevie Nicks.

Watch Them Crooked Vultures featuring John Paul Jones, Homme, and Grohl

At around 6:45 p.m. local time, Chrissie Hynde led Pretenders to the Wembley stage to perform “Precious,” also with Grohl, this time on bass. “Is there any instrument he can’t play?” she joked. They followed it up with “Tattooed Love Boys” and “Brass in Pocket.”

When their mini-set ended, the legendary front woman even coaxed the giant crowd to briefly sing the chorus of Neil Diamond’s “Sweet Caroline.”

Joe Walsh performing “Funk #49” with James Gang at Wembley Stadium

At around 7 p.m., the reunited James Gang led, of course, by Joe Walsh were next, beginning with “Walk Away” and “The Bomber.” Walsh then invited Grohl (naturally) to join them for an electric “Funk #49.” The set marked their first performance in 15 years.

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Shortly after 7:30 local time, Brian Johnson and Lars Ulrich led a lineup (including Grohl) on AC/DC’s “Back in Black” and “Let There Be Rock.” Fellow drummer Stewart Copeland of The Police followed with a mini-set.

Rush’s Lee and Lifeson played three Rush favorites including “Working Man” and the popular instrumental, “YYZ.”

Brian May and Roger Taylor Queen were joined for their set by the Struts’ vocalist Luke Spiller for “We Will Rock You.” Taylor then sang “I’m in Love With My Car” as his son, Rufus Taylor, got behind the drum kit. Justin Hawkins joined the lineup to sing lead on “Under Pressure.” They continued their set with “Somebody to Love,” led by singer Sam Ryder.

May then took center stage along to sing Queen’s “Love of My Life,” written by Freddie Mercury. At one point, he urged the audience to use their phones to “light up Wembley Stadium.”

“Let’s light up Wembley Stadium!”

Nandi Bushell joined the Foo Fighters for “Learn To Fly”

The Wembley concert’s final set was, of course, reserved for the evening’s hosts. Foo Fighters began with “Times Like These” and “All My Life.” Then, Grohl announced that the band’s set would continue with some of the drummers who had performed earlier. First up was Travis Barker of Blink-182 on “The Pretender” and “Monkey Wrench.”

Next up was 12-year-old drummer sensation, Nandi Bushell, on “Learn To Fly.” Rufus Taylor followed with two songs.

Watch Bushell’s performance

The biggest star in the music galaxy, Paul McCartney, then arrived on stage with Chrissie Hynde. The pair performed a duet with a cover of The Beatles’ “Oh! Darling” before exploding into “Helter Skelter.”

Watch “Oh! Darling”

And here’s “Helter Skelter”…

Hawkins’s teenaged son, Shane Hawkins, joined his father’s bandmates to perform “My Hero.”

Grohl finished the Foo Fighters’ 12-song set by performing “Everlong” alone.

In Los Angeles, Hawkins’ “brothers” Grohl, Nate Mendel, Chris Shiflett, Pat Smear and Rami Jaffee will again be joined by Jones, Lee and Lifeson, May and Taylor, Copeland, Barker, Violet Grohl, and Wolfgang Van Halen. Others announced are Collen, Elliott, Butler, Joan Jett, Nancy Wilson, Miley Cyrus, Krist Novoselic, Alanis Morissette, Gene Simmons, Pink, Nikki Sixx, and Sebastian Bach.

Related: Listings for 100s of classic rock tours

The concerts are “in celebration of Taylor’s memory and his legacy as a global rock icon—his bandmates and his inspirations playing the songs that he fell in love with, and the ones he brought to life.”

The Taylor Hawkins Tribute Concerts ticket and merchandise sales will benefit charities chosen by the Hawkins family: Music Support and MusiCares.

In a statement also released on June 8, Hawkins’ wife, Alison, sent a message to his fans. “Your kindness has been an invaluable comfort my family and me during this time of unimaginable grief. I want to share how much you meant to him and how dedicated he was to ‘knocking your socks off’ during every performance.”

In a brief statement released on March 29, Foo Fighters wrote, “It is with great sadness that Foo Fighters confirm the cancellation of all upcoming tour dates in light of the staggering loss of our brother Taylor Hawkins. We’re sorry for and share in the disappointment that we won’t be seeing one another as planned. Instead, let’s take this time to grieve, to heal, to pull our loved ones close, and to appreciate all the music and memories we’ve made together.

With Love, Foo Fighters”

Hawkins joined Foo Fighters in 1997, first appearing with the band on the tour supporting sophomore album The Colour & The Shape. He made his recorded debut with Foo Fighters with 1999’s There Is Nothing Left To Lose, playing on every subsequent FF album, including One By One, In Your Honor (the first FF album to feature him assuming lead vocal duties on his song “Cold Day In The Sun”), Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace, Wasting Light, Sonic Highways, Concrete & Gold (also featuring him as lead singer on “Sunday Rain”) and Medicine at Midnight. As a member of Foo Fighters, Hawkins was a 15-time GRAMMY Award winner and member of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.

Hawkins died while the band was on tour and in the wake of his passing, the group had cancelled the remaining dates.

The band announced his death at age 50 late on March 25. The group was scheduled to perform that evening at the Estereo Picnic Festival in Bogotá, Colombia, when they shared the news of “the tragic and untimely loss” of their beloved drummer.

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  1. David
    #1 David 26 March, 2022, 13:22

    Too young to pass on!

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