“Ladies and gentlemen, tonight we gather here to celebrate the life, music and love of our dear friend, bandmate, brother Taylor Hawkins,” Grohl said in an opening speech. “For those of you who knew him personally, you know that no one else could make you smile, laugh, dance or sing like him. And for those of you who admired him from afar, I I’m sure you all felt the same.
Hawkins died at age 50 on March 25 in Bogotá, Colombia, hours before the rock band was due to perform at the Estéreo Picnic Festival as part of their South American tour. He joined the Foo Fighters in 1997 during the group’s tour for “The Color and The Shape” and has contributed to the 15 Grammys the group has won since its inception. The group, known for songs such as “Best of You” and “Learn To Fly,” were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame last year.
Grohl, 53, developed a close relationship with Hawkins over the years they played together, and the former Nirvana drummer wrote that Hawkins was “a man I would take a bullet for” in his autobiography published on last year. The Foo Fighters frontman was overcome with emotion as he sang the band’s classic song “Times Like These” during the tribute concert. He took a moment to wipe the tears from his face as fans cheered.
Oliver Shane Hawkins, the late drummer’s 16-year-old son, took his father’s place to play drums at the “My Hero” tribute concert. Grohl’s 16-year-old daughter, Purplecovered Jeff Buckley’s “Last Goodbye” and “Grace” to honor Hawkins, who she says introduced her to Buckley’s album.
The Grohls and Oliver were complemented by a circle of musical legends who came to pay their respects to the drummer. Among them were Queen’s Roger Taylor and Brian May, AC/DC singer Brian Johnson and producer/musician Nile Rodgers. Alternative rock band Them Crooked Vultures, which included Grohl, and rock band James Gang both reunited for the gig after more than a decade apart. And Hawkins’ other bands, Chevy Metal and the Coattail Riders, brought in pop star Kesha and the Darkness’ Justin Hawkins, who is unrelated to Taylor Hawkins, to perform with them during the show.
British DJ Mark Ronson and Blink-182’s Travis Barker were also part of the star-studded lineup, with comedians Dave Chappelle and Chris Rock making special appearances.
The Foo Fighters will hold another tribute concert, this time in Los Angeles on September 27.