Foo Fighters surprise Glastonbury with an hour of pure rock bliss

We all knew what was coming, but it didn’t make 'The Churnups' Glastonbury set any less of a celebratory, cathartic triumph

Foo Fighters hail Glastonbury crowd at end of secret show
(Image: © Harry Durrant/Getty Images)

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Either The Churnups are the most popular new rock band we’ve never heard of, or 100,000 people have all got the memo that’s been doing the rounds for weeks: Foo Fighters are about to make an unannounced return to Glasto, and it feels like most of the festival is here to greet them as the sun beams down over the Pyramid stage. Even though by now everyone knows what’s about to happen, the roar that goes up as the ‘FF’ logo bursts onto the stage’s huge screens is deafening, equal parts elation and disbelief at the fact we’re about to see one of the world’s biggest rock bands cram in an hour long set in the late afternoon on an already stacked lineup.

Sure enough, Dave Grohl and his merry men, now comprised of Chris Shiflett, Pat Smear, Nate Mendel, Rami Jaffee and recently added drummer Josh Freese, replacing the dearly missed Taylor Hawkins, all bounce out on stage, rip straight into a thumping All My Life and get Glasto bouncing so hard it feels like the earth itself is shaking.

What follows is a compact but ecstatically received nine-song set of Foos bangers, including timeless hits (Learn To Fly, The Pretender, My Hero, Everlong) and two well-received newies, Rescued and Show Me How (the latter featuring a lovely guest appearance from Dave Grohl’s daughter, Violet).

It’s an hour of jubilation, celebration and catharsis; the Foos’ legacy will forever be tinged with sadness following the shocking loss of Hawkins last year, but moments like these are evidently as healing for the band themselves as they are vital for Foo Fighters’ army of fans.

“I’ll make it short: they gave us one hour so we’ve got to fucking pack it in” says Grohl to laughter before introducing a run through My Hero that draws the kind of full-hearted singalongs festivals are made for. Indeed, so short is the band’s set that some of their biggest hits miss out today (no Times Like These or Monkey Wrench); Grohl, clearly enjoying the hell out of himself, promises Foos will be back soon, however, thanking the crowd for “being with us these 28 years.”

A dedication to Taylor Hawkins before Everlong draws the longest, most emotional cheers of the afternoon, and tears can be seen flowing freely around the ground as the song kicks into its increasingly poignant chorus. “If everything could ever be this real forever,” sings a similarly emotional Grohl. They may have only had an hour, but have no doubt about it: Foo Fighters just stole the show at Glastonbury.

Merlin Alderslade
Executive Editor, Louder

Merlin moved into his role as Executive Editor of Louder in early 2022, following over ten years working at Metal Hammer. While there, he served as Online Editor and Deputy Editor, before being promoted to Editor in 2016. Before joining Metal Hammer, Merlin worked as Associate Editor at Terrorizer Magazine and has previously written for the likes of Classic Rock, Rock Sound, eFestivals and others. Across his career he has interviewed legends including Ozzy Osbourne, Lemmy, Metallica, Iron Maiden (including getting a trip on Ed Force One courtesy of Bruce Dickinson), Guns N' Roses, KISS, Slipknot, System Of A Down and Meat Loaf. He has also presented and produced the Metal Hammer Podcast, presented the Metal Hammer Radio Show and is probably responsible for 90% of all nu metal-related content making it onto the site.