|Foo Fighters frontman Dave Grohl delivered a ferocious two-hour set. (ARAM BOGHOSIAN FOR THE BOSTON GLOBE)|
WORCESTER - If there was any confusion as to how many Grammy awards the Foo Fighters recently collected, leader Dave Grohl made it crystal clear Monday night at the band's triumphant show at the DCU Center.
During a lengthy acoustic set, Grohl introduced band members by appending the number to their names. Drummer Taylor Hawkins? "Two Grammys." Bassist Nate Mendel? "Two Grammys." "You know who won two Grammys?" he asked. Why, guitarist Chris Shiflett, that's who. Ever magnanimous, Grohl even extended the Grammy love to the quartet of adjunct touring members - including original Foo guitarist Pat Smear - some of whom also played on "Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace." Triangle player Drew Hester? "Two Grammys."
Grohl's reveling in the victories extended to his clear affection for the sold-out crowd as well. During a ferocious and ferociously tuneful two-hour set, Grohl acknowledged the part that the audience has played in transforming the gifted but decidedly less confident sideman of 1995 into the funniest, savviest, and most exciting frontman in rock 'n' roll in 2008.
He acknowledged it, in his normal fashion, with total commitment. Commitment to his own silliness, to his now-deep catalog of songs that have always struck a neat balance between punk energy and pop songcraft, and to the audience with whom he clearly still feels a kinship as a music fan. Grohl knows how much better it feels to be included than held separate, and in concert he makes sure to open his arms wide.
He dashed down center and side-stage ramps whipping about his tangled mane as he dueled with Shiflett on guitar on the insurgent "Stacked Actors" or tossed off the sinister, advancing army riff of "All My Life." He commanded singalongs to hits like "The Pretender," "Breakout," "Learn to Fly," and "Monkey Wrench and grinned maniacally when his instructions were heeded by the 12,000-strong crowd.
Plus, of course, his band killed it. Whether it was violinist/cellist Jessie Green adding sweet harmonies to "Big Me" or Hawkins's perfectly thunderous fills on "This Is a Call," the supporting cast was as jazzed as its fearless leader.
That Grohl occasionally sacrifices tunefulness for screamed exhortations is forgiven by the sheer physicality of his performance style. This is a man for whom headbanging isn't a pose but pure natural reaction.
Also well-acquainted with entertainment value was Serj Tankian. The former System of a Down frontman's middle set was a riot of octaves, time signatures, and concepts, careening from full-tilt prog-rock to psychedelic folk, often in the space of one song.
And apparently the exclamation point in Against Me! is no mere happenstance of punctuation. The black-clad rockers kicked off the night with an excruciatingly loud 30 minutes. Luckily, the decibel level didn't obscure the charms of their politicized yet highly danceable punk rock.