The Foo Fighters helped bring New York back to life on Sunday night as they performed at Madison Square Garden to a crowd of more than 20,000 fully-vaccinated fans.
The band raised the roof at what was the venue’s first show in more than 460 days – with anti-vaxxers photographed outside to protest the rule stipulating that only concertgoers who’d had their vaccines could attend.
‘We’ve been waiting for this day for over a year,’ Dave Grohl said in a statement ahead of the gig. ‘And Madison Square Garden is going to feel that HARD.’
He kicked off the three-hour set with an emotional performance of ‘Times Like These’ and at times seemed in awe of the crowd singing along with him.
At one point he brought out comedian Dave Chappelle to sing a cover of Radiohead’s ‘Creep’ complete with the lyrics ‘I don’t belong here’.
The show was dedicated to Andy Pollard, the rock bands late stage manager, who passed away on June 18 after 12 years with the Foo Fighters.
James Dolan, executive chairman and CEO of MSG Entertainment, said in a statement: ‘The Garden is ready to rock. We’ve been waiting for this moment for 15 months and are excited to finally welcome a packed house of roaring, fully-vaccinated Foo Fighters fans to Madison Square Garden.’
The show came as venues across New York begin to open their doors following Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s announcement that pandemic restrictions had been lifted.
On Saturday night, New York’s Radio City Music Hall opened for the Tribeca Festival premiere of a new Dave Chappelle documentary for a full-capacity, fully-vaccinated audience.
The debut of ‘Dave Chappelle: This Time This Place’, marked the first time the hallowed midtown hall was yet again packed since closing in March 2020 – a shutdown that put a year-plus’ worth of concerts on ice for easily the longest spell since the Art Deco venue first opened in 1932.
The premiere Saturday evening, the closing night gala for the 20th Tribeca Festival, was seen as a symbolic reawakening of the arts in New York, where many of the world’s most famous stages – Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, Broadway theaters – remain dark.
The delight on music fans’ faces was plain to see as 20,000 people packed into New York’s Madison Square Garden on Sunday to see the Foo Fighters – NYC’s first concert since lifting its COVID-19 restrictions
Foo Fighters’ front man Dave Grohl (center) and guitarists Nade Mendel (left) and Pat Smear (right) were greeted by rapturous applause
The rock band played to a sold-out crowd, with everyone in attendance required to show proof of vaccination to enter
The vaccinated guests-only rule meant that concertgoers did not have to wear masks at Sunday’s concert
Masks weren’t required inside Radio City but proof of vaccination was.
In announcing the event in May, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said it would ‘go a long way towards bringing back this state, overall.’
Foo Fighters first headlined a sold-out Garden in February 2008 on their ‘Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace’ tour, returning to rock the venue for another sell-out show in November 2011 on the ‘Wasting Light’ tour.
Most recently, the band sold-out two nights at the arena in July 2018, on their ‘Concrete and Gold’ tour.
The announcement of the June 20 MSG show follows the news of Foo Fighters’ first six U.S. dates on their ’26th Anniversary’ tour taking place later this summer.
The Foo Fighters’ globally anticipated 10th album, Medicine at Midnight, was released February 5, 2021.
The Foo Fighters are pictured ahead of their landmark NYC gig. Pictured left to right are Taylor Hawkins, Rami Jaffee, Dave Grohl, Pat Smear, Chris Shiflett and Nate Mendel
An anti-vaxxer in green is pictured yelling at a Dave Grohl lookalike outside MSG ahead of Sunday’s Foo Fighters concert
Anti-vaxxers picketed the event beforehand with placards decrying NYC’s Excelsior Pass vaccine passport
This counter-protester had her own message for concert-goers, and was seen brandishing a heart saying ‘Welcome bacl’
One anti-vaxxer was seen hectoring an NYPD officer while toting a placard about COVID-19 recovery rates
These guests showed their official CDC cards with the dates of their vaccinations to gain entry to Madison Square Garden
The small gathering of anti-vaxxers was vastly outnumbered by the 20,000 concert goers who gladly showed their proof of vaccine to get in to Sunday night’s concert