by John Tarpley
7 p.m., Verizon Arena. $23-$48
Twenty years ago, "Smells Like Teen Spirit" debuted and modern rock radio has been heard through a distortion pedal ever since. Sixteen years ago, in the months following Kurt Cobain's "fade away," Nirvana's drummer released a block of home-recorded punk-poppery under the dashed-off name Foo Fighters. And now, in 2011, Dave Grohl may just be modern rock's elder sage, a Gen-X McCartney for Nirvana's answer to Wings. Now days, every radio rocker rocks like Foo Fighters. But no one does it nearly as well. Sure, the Foo's run of singles is the pudding with the proof, but I suspect that what keeps us all coming back (and what keeps the band relevant long after a reasonable expiration date) is that Grohl & Co. either still love the joy of rock music or do one helluva job faking it. We bet it's the former; these guys keep their ears in the arena and everything between firmly in the rock clubs. Warming up the crowd: Motorhead. Has there ever been a better opener in the history of Verizon/Alltel? Don't get it wrong: we're all excited for Foo Fighters, but we're really going to worship at the altar of St. Lemmy.
Check Foo Fighters out: "Rope" (live at the NME Awards)
Check Motorhead out: entire set from Rock in Rio 2010