Taking over the spacious San Manuel Amphitheater, Foo Fighters transformed the San Bernardino grounds with a little something for everyone with Cal Jam 17 this past weekend. To be clear, CalJam wasn’t just 12 hours of celebrating Foo Fighters, but it was a fan’s dream. When Foo Fighters were thinking of how to debut their eighth album, “Concrete and Gold,” they wanted it to be the loudest and biggest way possible. The result of that idea was a one-day fest at the Glen Helen Regional Park in scorching San Bernardino, Calif., with Queens of the Stone Age, Cage the Elephant, Liam Gallagher, Royal Blood, the Kills, Wolf Alice, Japandroids, Bob Mould, Bully and more.
A crashed UFO was the first item viewed upon entering the venue, and out in the fields fans were treated to a water slide (which Grohl himself partook in early in the day), carnival rides, skateboarding exhibitions, tasty treats and the very well done Foo Fighters museum. The latter allowed fans to get their photo ops inside a Foo Fighters “white limo” or on a Foo Fighters throne modeled after the one Grohl used onstage after his broken leg. Other items included band instruments, paintings, photos, Grohl’s actual cast, a white board from previous tracking sessions, the group’s Grammy awards and a wealth of other memorabilia from throughout their career.”
Cage the Elephant delivered one of the more electrifying sets of the day. Opening with a tribute to Tom Petty singing “Mary Jane’s Last Dance,” a suit and tie-sporting Matt Shultz bounded around the stage with his unlimited energy and live wire moves. A scan of the crowd showed a sea of hands clapping along with “In One Ear” as Shultz shaky-leg danced across the stage.
Queens of the Stone Age delivered a monster set that included new and old music. The group opened with “If I Had a Tail” and rocked through “You Think I Ain’t Worth a Dollar, but I Feel Like a Millionaire.” Before it played its blistering new track, “Feet Don’t Fail Me Now,” vocalist Josh Homme noticed a sign in the crowd that read “Vegas Strong” with the names of all the victims at the Route 91 Harvest festival. He had the sign passed up to the stage and he placed it near the drum kit, noting “We are nothing when we’re apart, we are everything when we’re together.”
Foo Fighters offered their own Petty tribute, singing “My Hero” and then popping up Petty’s photo on the screen behind them as Grohl implored the crowd to “sing it for Tom.” “New best friend” Rick Astley joined the Foos onstage for their mashup version of “Never Gonna Give You Up” with Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit.” They blasted through “Best of You” and then brought out Aerosmith guitarist Joe Perry for a cover of “Draw the Line” and the Beatles “Come Together,” which also featured Liam Gallagher on vocals.
Thanks Cal Jam for an amazing event!