About halfway through Run the Jewels’ opening set, Roger Hyde, AT&T’s senior vice president of creative services, stole a few minutes outside the amazing – if temporary – venue adjacent to Atlantic Station.
“Every year, we learn a little more,” he said of the Super Saturday Night concerts produced by DirecTV and staged in built-in-a-minute venues to accommodate a musical party on the eve of the Super Bowl.
“We want to bring someone local if possible,” he added, in a nod to Killer Mike’s presence with Run the Jewels, “but we have to be cognizant of who is playing in town. If Bruno Mars is playing, we want to attract a different audience.”
While Run the Jewels – which also features rapper El-P – bounced across the massive stage with fiery renditions of “Legend Has It,” “Blockbuster Night Part 1” and “Thursday in the Danger Room,” it was the evening’s headliners, the mighty Foo Fighters, who offered counter-programming to the Mars/Cardi B concert taking place a few miles away at State Farm Arena downtown.
Taking the stage at 11:20 p.m. in a swirl of serrated guitars, Dave Grohl and the five musicians behind him burst into “All My Life,” from all the way back in 2002.
Red lighting built into the railing of the expertly designed building – which, yes, sadly, will be dismantled starting Sunday – flickered as Grohl and the band roared through “Learn to Fly” and “The Pretender.”
The show, which was streaming live on DirecTV and Twitter, featured a pair of video screens flanking the stage, with one giant one behind it – the better to showcase those guests who popped up in the latter half of the performance (we’re going to guess – on good authority – that Steven Tyler was expected to show up when “The Pretender” dovetailed into “Train Kept a Rollin’”).
Roger Taylor of Queen arrived to play drums while Foos drummer Taylor Hawkins – the only guy who can rival Grohl’s untamed energy – sang lead on a glorious “Under Pressure,” while Zac Brown returned the favor of Grohl playing his show Thursday night to jam with Tom Morello during Black Sabbath’s “War Pigs.” Perry Farrell joined the fun for “Mountain Song” - and let’s not forget the pop-up of veteran jazz saxophonist Dave Koz – yep, he’s been working with the Foos – during a searing “La Dee Da.”
It all made for an energizing, thrilling night, with the Foos unleashing a predictably sweat-soaked explosion of sound – “Times Like These,” “My Hero” and their patented combination of the lyrics of Van Halen’s “Jump” set to the music of John Lennon’s “Imagine” keeping the sold-out crowd of 8,500 giddily fist-pumping along.
“Never in the past 25 years has someone been ******* crazy enough to build something like this for us to play for two ******* hours and then tear it down!” Grohl proclaimed from the stage.
Hey, DirecTV folks – you listening?
Staff Writer Yvonne Zusel contributed to this story.