Foo Fighters’ Taylor Hawkins Tribute Concert in London: Here’s What Happened

Foo Fighters’ Taylor Hawkins Tribute Concert in London: Here’s What Happened

Featuring Paul McCartney, a Them Crooked Vultures reunion, Nandi Bushell, Hawkins’ son, and more

Taylor Hawkins

Taylor Hawkins, photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images

Foo Fighters honored their late drummer Taylor Hawkins with an all-star tribute concert today (September 3) at London’s Wembley Stadium. The Taylor Hawkins Tribute Concert kicked off at 11:30 a.m. EST and aired live on TV and online. The concert will also be available on-demand via Paramount+ starting September 3, with streaming options available on Pluto TV and MTV on-demand beginning the week of September 5.

Foo Fighters opened the show with a cover of Oasis’ “Rock ‘N’ Roll Star” with Liam Gallagher on lead vocals and Dave Grohl on drums. Immediately preceding that, Grohl gave a speech in Hawkins’ honor: 

“Tonight we’ve gathered here to celebrate the life, the music, and the love of our dear friend, our bandmate, our brother Taylor Hawkins. For those of you who knew him personally, you knew that nobody else could make you smile or laugh or dance or sing like he could. For those of you who admired him from afar, I’m sure you’ve all felt the same thing. So tonight we’ve gathered with family and his closest friends, his musical heroes and greatest inspirations to bring you a gigantic fucking night for a gigantic fucking person. So sing and dance and laugh and cry and fucking scream and make some fucking noise so he can hear us right now. Cause you know what? It’s going to be a long fucking night, right?”

Dozens of artists performed at the Taylor Hawkins Tribute Concert, some as standalone acts and others joining forces to form live supergroups. Most notably, Them Crooked Vultures reunited for the first time in 12 years to play tonight, as did Cleveland classic rock band James Gang for the first time in 16 years. Nile Rodgers, Omar Hakim, and Jane’s Addiction’s Chris Chaney covered David Bowie’s “Let’s Dance” with Josh Homme and “Modern Love” with Gaz Coombes of Supergrass. Kesha joined Hawkins’ cover band Chevy Metal for T. Rex’s “Children of the Revolution.” AC/DC’s Brian Johnson led “Back in Black” and “Let There Be Rock” covers with Metallica’s Lars Ulrich and Foo Fighters. 

Queen’s Brian May and Roger Taylor, along with the latter’s son, Rufus Taylor, played five Queen songs with Foo Fighters: “We Will Rock You” with the Struts’ Luke Spiller,” “I’m in Love With My Car,” “Under Pressure” with Justin Hawkins, “Somebody to Love” with Sam Ryder, and “Love of My Life.” There were also notable performances by the Police’s Stewart Copeland, the Pretenders, Rush’s Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson, Supergrass, and Wolfgang Van Halen. Grohl’s daughter Violet also led a few Jeff Buckley covers in addition to “Valerie,” as made famous by Amy Winehouse, with help from Mark Ronson. Dave Chappelle and Jason Sudeikis gave introductions onstage as well. 

The Taylor Hawkins Tribute Concert ended with Foo Fighters performing their own songs with help from, as Grohl put it, “a revolving door of drummers.” After opening with an emotional rendition of “Times Like These” in which Grohl had to pause from crying, Foo Fighters played “All My Life” with Josh Freese, “Pretender” and “Monkeywrench” with Travis Barker, and “Learn to Fly” with viral child drummer Nandi Bushell. They also invited Rufus Taylor back to the stage for “These Days” and “Best of You.” Paul McCartney made a surprise appearance with Chrissie Hynde to play “Oh! Darling,” which the Beatles bassist said marked his first time performing the song as a duet, and “Helter Skelter.” Foo Fighters then closed out the event by playing “Aurora” with Hakim, “My Hero” with Shane Hawkins, Taylor’s son, and a solo version of “Everlong” from Grohl.

Proceeds from today’s concert will be split between charities Music Support and MusiCares, both of which were chosen by the Hawkins family. The London concert will be followed by another tribute concert at Los Angeles’ Kia Forum on September 27.

Hawkins died this March while touring with Foo Fighters in Bogotá, Colombia. His official cause of death has not been revealed. He was 50 years old. In the days following his death, Hawkins’ friends Chad Smith (of Red Hot Chili Peppers) and Matt Cameron (of Pearl Jam) discussed his final days. Both friends later apologized for the quotes they gave in an interview.

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