@ZackTeibloom If you had asked me what my ideal last hurrah of my 20s would have been, I would have said Jack White would have to be involved. Nope. It had to go down like this. With Dave Grohl at the center of it all. We go back a ways, me and Dave. The first time I ever visited Austin with Andy for ACL 2008, we were so blown away by the Foo Fighters’ Sunday night show, I decided I had to move here by SXSW. Two years later we saw Dave doing what he does best, drumming for Them Crooked Vultures, as part of the best rhythm section we’d ever seen. In 2011 we watched them play Lolla together in the pouring rain with my arms around Caitlin, singing along to “Everlong.” In 2013 Caitlin and I came nice and early for his inspiring SXSW keynote speech. But it wasn’t just that it was Dave. Every bit of how tonight went down was so textbook 20’s me, down to the little details.
Everything I did well and struggled with this last decade came together in tonight’s last hurrah. I used my old combination of luck and opportunity to get into the taping. I’ve been subscribed to Waterloo and End of an Ear e-mail blasts ever since I ran Austin Vinyl and my penchant for being extremely quick to respond to e-mail got me on the list. I got to further a connection with a Twitter friend turned real life friend, John. We’d been guessing at when the secret show would be for weeks and when I got on the list and he didn’t, I was thrilled to give him my plus one. I got lost on the way to the show, biking almost all the way to the new ACL studios before flipping around and getting where I had to be. I blame the pre-show sandwich on that one. I had a supremely bizarre interaction that…OK let me explain that one in full from the beginning.
“Hey … Dave?” I say very unsure of myself. I’m a dozen people back in the line at the old ACL Live 6A studio. It’s less than an hour until door are scheduled to open and up walks … Dave Grohl? In a pretty over the top, fake sounding Italian accent he brushes off the Grohl talk and says he just flew in from Italy that day. Huh. So why is someone falling him around taking pictures of him? He sure looks like Dave Grohl. I’m so confused. He’s standing directly behind me in line and talking about how he’s bummed that the concert the next night got canceled because he flew here all the way from Italy. I’m still pretty sure it’s Dave Grohl so I say “maybe he’ll bring out an acoustic guitar…” with a knowing glance, thinking I’m suggesting something to Dave that he may do. John tells me to google how tall Grohl is. It says 6 feet and this guy is shorter than my 5’10 that I tell people is 5’11. And after I take this pic of him, the flash exposes that this really is just an Italian guy. Welp.
They let us into the old studio and before we could grab our front row, middle seats, they gave us free Ziegenbock and popcorn and Tito’s vodka. On my second round of popcorn, I see actual Dave Grohl standing there by the back right emergency exit, taking pictures with a couple fans. I’m just a few feet away so as I’m waiting my turn to take a pic, I say “Dave – there’s an Italian guy here who looks exactly like you.” “I heard about that guy.” “Here, let me show you a pic.” “Whoa, that is close.” “Yeah, but when you see him up close, he doesn’t look as good as you.” “Thanks man.” And as soon as the woman taking a pic of the guy she’s with agrees to take a pic of me and Dave, he ducks out for a smoke break and I head to my seat thrilled I got to meet him, but a little bummed I didn’t get a pic.
Just like he’s been doing for 36 years, Terry Lacona comes out and introduces Dave and before Dave can get more than a few words out, he sees his Italian doppleganger and screams out, “What’s up, dude that fucking looks exactly like me!” and they hug before Dave goes back into his spiel about how much fun he had in Austin that week they recorded here and tells the story of the legendary piano and his history growing up with the ACL TV show. Then Lacona gives the episode the extremely high praise of saying it’s the best show he’s ever seen about Austin music and ACL live and then we settle in for the hour-long show. It’s such a joy to watch. 15 different people and venues get whoops from the audience who eats it all up. The Stevie Ray Vaughn and Willie parts. The Antone’s and Emo’s stuff. The punk scene. The country scene. The psychedelic scene. The Rocky stuff and the Butthole Surfers parts. It’s a love letter to Austin and it’s extremely well done. Watch it when you get a chance. It’s on HBO Go now.
After huge applause as The Foo Fighters end the episode by playing the song inspired by their Austin interviews in the very room we’re watching the show in, Dave comes out for about half hour of more chatting with Terry. Of course it’s all funny and sweet and endearing and Dave keeps downplaying things except to say, “if you thought this album was cool. The concept for the next album will blow your fucking minds.” And then it ends and Dave is signing Foo Fighters cassettes and posters and we walk up and squeeze up to take a couple pics. I don’t have much to say except “This was a beautiful love letter to Austin. Thank you. I’m Zack.” and he says “Hey Zack, great to meet you,” and it was. And he heads off to pee. And I head off to pee. And then I bike home with a smile so wide it hurts. So there went my 20s. But there’s a festival that starts tomorrow I’ve got a pass. I mean, not that I need one. Thanks for being a part of it all. It’s been real.