Dave Grohl: The Storyteller review – rock’n’roll storyteller riffs with profanity and positivity | Dave Grohl
Aside from Springsteen on Broadway, few musicians would stray from their group cocoon to deliver a comprehensive, self-written onstage monologue about their lives and careers. Dave Grohl is one of the few who can still win. The former Nirvana drummer and singer of the Foo Fighters used the lockdown to write his impending memoir, The Storyteller. Tonight, dressed all in black, gangly and gangly, he sits on a high stool and riffs on his themes via a flood of self-deprecating rock anecdotes, interspersed with individual interpretations of his greatest hits.
Known for his personality, Grohl is an endearing storyteller, despite having a spectacularly clean mouth. His ability to swear into any conversation arguably reaches its peak when he remembers a poor childhood eating “fucking scrambled egg sandwiches”. His enthusiasm wins when he describes a youth in the grip of American music and punk rock. As he walks around the stage, he shows how he performed to Beatles songs and learned to drum on sofa cushions, before joining a local hardcore punk band from Virginia, Scream.
Grohl is at his most poignant describing his time at Nirvana. Wide-eyed, he remembers moving at breakneck speed from sleeping on a couch in the Seattle slum he shared with Kurt Cobain and a Mad Turtle, to see their homemade band knock Michael Jackson down on top of the US charts in 1992. “We were the kids, man! How do you deal with that?” he wonders, even now. It’s thrilling to see him sit down to spray his drums again on a recording of Smells Like Teen Spirit, but the crack in his voice as he describes Cobain’s death betrays how devastated he was at the loss of his singer and friend.
Still, angst isn’t Grohl’s business, and he’s back in perky, positivist fashion for the second half of the show. He straps on a guitar for a few acts of Foo Fighters, including My Hero, then turns into a stand-up comedian as he admits a health-threatening coffee addiction. Much like his book or a Foo Fighters concert, this show lasts a bit and could be trimmed. But it’s impossible not to love Grohl, a rock ‘n’ roll survivor who endured unspeakable tragedy and walked out the other side smiling.