Taylor Hawkins: Foo Fighters say tearful farewell to drummer at 'gigantic' tribute concert

'We've gathered here to celebrate the life, the music and the love of our dear friend, our bandmate, our brother, Taylor Hawkins': Foo Fighters frontman Dave Grohl addresses an emotional crowd

The Foo Fighters said an emotional farewell to the band's late drummer, Taylor Hawkins, at a "gigantic" tribute concert at London's Wembley Stadium on Saturday.

Frontman Dave Grohl fought back tears as he played the band's first song since Hawkins' death in March, Times Like These.

Grohl introduced the gig by paying tribute to his "dear friend, bandmate and brother."

He said of Hawkins: "no-one else could make you smile or laugh or dance or sing like he could."

"Sing and dance and laugh and cry and scream, and make some noise so he can hear us," Grohl instructed an emotional audience.

Dave Grohl fights to hold back tears as he sings Times Like These

There were tears, cheers and heartfelt tributes from a host of rock legends, including a surprise appearance from Sir Paul McCartney, as thousands of fans gathered in honour of Hawkins.

The drummer was found dead in his hotel room in Colombia in March, while the group was on tour in South America.

Before introducing his daughter, Violet Grohl, and British musician Mark Ronson, Grohl said: “When we first started talking about putting something together for Taylor, we sat down and we said even if it’s his closest friends, that’s like 100 musicians. “Because Taylor loved to jam and record with anybody and everybody. He loved to play music every day. And there aren’t too many people that he’s never jammed with. “So this collection of friends and family and musicians, this is all brought together by him and we’re all connected here today by that one guy."

Taylor Hawkins died in March, age 50. Credit: AP

The crowd went wild for Sir Paul as Grohl introduced him, along with The Pretenders’ Chrissie Hynde. They played The Beatles’ songs Oh! Darling and Helter Skelter. Before performing Helter Skelter, Sir Paul said: “So Dave rang me up one day and he said, Taylor has written this song called Summer Rain and he said ‘we’d like you to drum on it’. “This group has got like two of the best drummers in the world, and they wanted me to drum on it. So I did. “Quite a memory.”

Oasis frontman Liam Gallagher opened the event with a rendition of his band’s hit Rock ‘n’ Roll Star, while Grohl played the drums. Balloons bounced around the crowd as Gallagher immediately followed with Live Forever.

Foo Fighters with their award for Best International Group in the press room during the 2018 Brit Awards at the O2 Arena, London. Credit: PA

Queen’s Roger Taylor and Brian May, Rush, AC/DC singer Brian Johnson, and Nile Rodgers were among the other musicians who performed at the concert. Hawkins’ son Oliver Shane Hawkins, pop star Kesha, Sam Ryder and The Darkness frontman Justin Hawkins also made appearances. Comedians Dave Chappelle and Jason Sudeikis also took to the stage to tell anecdotes about their relationships with Hawkins and his music. In a pre-recorded message, Sir Elton John told fans “don’t ever forget (Hawkins)”. “He loved music," he said. “He loved playing. He loved the Foo Fighters. Tonight we are honouring his memory. “So make a noise because he would love that. The Foo Fighters are one of the bands that always give 150%, they never give less than that and nor did Taylor. He was an incredible drummer. “He played on my last album, which I was so thrilled about and honoured. So tonight is about remembering him, honouring him, and don’t ever forget him.”

Funds from concert tickets and merchandise will go to the Music Support and MusiCares charities, which were selected by the Hawkins family, who have helped organise the event. Hawkins had played in the band fronted by former Nirvana drummer Dave Grohl for more than two decades, alongside Nate Mendel, Pat Smear, Chris Shiflett and Rami Jaffee. The London show will be followed by a second concert on September 27 at The Kia Forum in Los Angeles, with acts such as Alanis Morissette and Chad Smith from Red Hot Chili Peppers on the bill.

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