Foos at The ForumWay, way back in the day, The Fabulous Forum in Los Angeles became one of the first venues to sell out to corporate sponsorship. The now-defunct financial institution, Great Western, paid what at the time seemed to be an exorbitant amount of money to rename the Forum, "The Great Western Forum" (or GW Forum, as it came to be known) and paint its famous exterior from red to blue. This is back when the Lakers were "threepeating," Gretzky played for the Kings, and the biggest acts in music were selling it out for multiple-night runs.
Cut to years later, and the hallowed walls of the Forum are now hollowed walls. Literally.
The Lakers and Kings moved out when Staples Center opened, and the musical acts quickly followed suit. The only thing going on at the Forum these days is a weekly church service on Sundays.
So it was with a combination of interest and nostalgia that I returned to The Forum last night for the first time in years to see the Foo Fighters with special guest, Serj Tankian (Dave Grohl and Serj are pictured).
The Forum is still GW blue on the exterior, but I noticed that parking is no longer $5... it's $22 (limos $66), which is hysterical because that's a couple bucks more than Dodger Stadium charges. The turnstiles are gone, but otherwise, nothing has changed as you enter the lobby. I told my sister to keep her eye open for Trevor Rabin because he's known to hang out at the Forum. (The back story to that is that once, we literally ran into him in the lobby probably 20 years ago at a Laker game.) We decided to hit up the ladies' room which is still subterranean, still sporting Lakers' purple stalls, and still poorly-ventilated. Bottled water has gone up to $4, but that's what it costs at the movies, so no surprise there.
Walking into the stadium really took me back. Between concerts and sporting events, I've been there countless times. But after we took our seats and had a minute to look around, I noticed that there wasn't a single piece of signage in the entire arena. No corporate sponsorships, no Lakers jerseys or pennants or posters, no "coming attractions." Nothing. The walls were completely barren.
The show was great. Serj played for 45 minutes, and I made the argument to my sister that he's always reminded me of Stevie Nicks. She wasn't buying it at first, but when he came out in this outfit and started twirling, she started to see my point. Seriously, though, he does remind me of Stevie. They are both very intense, passionate, and dramatic vocalists. Maybe it's tiny gestures or the way they sell it, or maybe the quality they share is intangible, but it's something I noticed a very long time ago, back when I saw System of a Down play Spiders on one of the late night shows when their first album came out.
As for the Foos, what can I say. You MUST see this band if you love music. Here's a review of the Wednesday night show (I went on Thursday). Stewart Copeland didn't take the stage at the show I saw, but Chili Pepper's drummer, Chad Smith, did. So did Lemmy from Motorhead. There were too many highlights to list, but as the review points out, the thing Dave Grohl does that is so special is he connects with the audience. He's someone you can imagine inviting over to your house and hanging out with over pizza and beer. There's no rock star pose, and the music is full of life. During the encore, he said something like, "here's a song we don't play very often, we usually only play it in Los Angeles." I turned to my sister and said, "I hope to God it's Darling Nicky." She concurred, and when Grohl hit that first weird but unmistakable chord (thank you, Prince), we both went insane.