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  1. The Foo Fighters and the night that almost wasn’t

    By Robbie Clutton

    I had the fortunate luck of relieving a friend’s VIP pass that they had won to see the Foo Fighers on Tuesday evening as they were leaving SXSW a little early. We arrived at the venue at 8.30 as described by the company who were giving the passes away to find a VIP queue. It wasn’t too bad especially compared to the public line that stretched about three blocks. So we went to the end of the line and was told it wasn’t the right line and we were sent back to the gate. Back at the gate they sent us back where we’d just been but a helpful staff member came with us and got us into the right place. The queue was slow moving, but we had been told that the Foo Fighters would come on stage around midnight, so we wasn’t too worried.

    By the time we’d got halfway down the line a band struck up. No-one in the queue around us had knew the song being played, so we all happily told ourselves it must be the supporting band. When the second song came on, it dawned on me that it was the new Foo Fighters single. There was little we could do apart from listen, but the taco stand serving where we stood cheered us up with Stubbs famous BBQ sauce.

    The line started moving quicker and when we got to the front, the reason for the speed became evident with the many scraps of paper with guest list names on it in no apparent order. As the door staff scrambled through the papers it looked like our names were not on the list. The bouncer seemed to take pity on us when we asked if we could just get through without the VIP pass, and we slipped in.

    Two friends who had queued from 6 were already inside and as we jostled into a decent view of the stage we walked straight into them. Not a band turnout all things considered. Others had conceded defeat to the giant queue and had found an ingenious alternative of standing at the top of a multi-story car park opposite the venue. I’m not sure how much they would have seen, but being an outdoor gig I think they would have heard it quite well.

    As for the gig itself, the Foo Fighters seemed to be really trying to cover as much as possible. There were two bands supposed to play after them and we had heard rumours of a midnight closing. Then Dave Grohl said the first words of the night (that I had heard after missing the first few songs) “That was the new record, now we’re going play some massive hits for a little while” before launching into My Hero. The Foo Fighters played for around 2 hours in total, closing with the track “where it all began”, This is a call. The stand out moment for me was when Dave Grohl, knowing it was the last night of the Interactive festival shouted “Come on you nerds, dance!”

    All in all not bad for a gig in what is effectively a beer garden, but Texas style.

About

Jemima Kiss is a media reporter for the Guardian and Robbie Clutton is a software developer for the Guardian. Find our full coverage of SXSW 2011 at guardian.co.uk/sxsw

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