Two years late, Dave Grohl's Foo Fighters finally get to rock Glastonbury festival to its core

Dave Grohl onstage with Foo Fighters at Glastonbury
Dave Grohl onstage with Foo Fighters at Glastonbury Credit: Paul Grover/Telegraph

It was a classic opening line. “Hey, I'm about two years late. Traffic was a bitch.” Dave Grohl’s laconic remarks acted like a perfect icebreaker for the Foo Fighters overdue headline set. The six piece American rock band were supposed to headline in 2015, before the frontman fell off a stage in Germany and broke a leg. Strumming and chatting, he gently led the crowd into a singalong of Times Like These that absolutely exploded when the band piled in.

Within two songs they had done everything Radiohead refused to do on Friday night: reached out and connected with the audience, formed a bond of trust, raised anticipation and expectation and hit them with roaring committed versions of songs they actually want to hear.

Flares and rockets went off in the crowd as Glastonbury joyously welcomed the band. It was a fantastic set and what's more everyone knew it was going to be from the start and could just surrender and enjoy themselves.

Formed by Grohl after Nirvana ended in 1994 with the suicide of Kurt Cobain, The Foo Fighters might seem a bit ordinary compared to that world shattering grunge band. It's rock n roll not life and death. But the Fighters are a passionate dynamic outfit with a few musical strings to their bow.

They can play heavy riff monsters, swaggering good time rock and roll, moving melodic ballads, chunky classic pop rock, fast punky thrash metal and fists aloft singalong anthems. And sometimes all of the above mashed together into long wild rip roaring jams.

Dave Grohl onstage with Foo Fighters at Glastonbury Credit: Paul Grover/Telegraph

There was little in the way of arty visuals, just the band on big screens clearly enjoying what they're doing. Actually smiling. I don't want to go on about the contrast with Radiohead. The English band’s contrariness has led them to artful, heart bursting, head spinning places most bands will never reach. But Foo Fighters know how to rock a festival. “There ain't no party like a Foo Fighters party,” as Grohl promised. And he was as good as his word.

Grohl kept asking for the bright overhead stage lights to be turned up to revel in the huge audience looking happy and glorious. But when the lights went down and ten's of thousands of phones were turned on at the charismatic rocker’s request, glittering in the night like a field of stars, the sight was breathtaking.

When he asked the crowd if they wanted two more songs, they bayed until he upped his offer to ten. The band rocked on for 20 minutes after the official curfew, even throwing in a bar band Queen cover version of Under Pressure with drummer Taylor Hawkins on vocals and Grohl back on the drums he used to play in Nirvana. Grohl improvised a dirty dittie full of the f-word, just to break Adele’s record for swearing at Glastonbury. They finally ended at 5 past midnight, still rocking full tilt like they were having the time of their lives, spectacular fireworks blasting over the Pyramid stage.

That was some set. Dave Grohl knows what he's doing.