Black Keys, Foo Fighters Rock Central Park

When you get your hands on free tickets to a live show, the headliner is probably an unknown or unpopular performer.  A lucky circumstance would place you in a cramped, suburban venue seeing an up-and-coming indie band.

On Saturday, Sept. 29,  the names were more acclaimed.  The crowd was larger.  The voices were louder.  And, somehow, the density of our wallets remained the same.

A collection from the world’s best rock bands congregated in Manhattan on Saturday at the Global Citizen Music Festival.  An estimated 60,000 crazed fans filled Central Park’s Great Lawn to see the Black Keys, Foo Fighters, Neil Young with Crazy Horse, Band of Horses and K’Naan perform in contribution to the eradication of worldwide poverty.

To obtain a free ticket to the festival, fans had to register on Global Citizen’s website and choose from a variety of ways to raise awareness about fighting poverty.

After short sets by Somali instrumentalist and rapper K’Naan and Band of Horses, musician John Legend made a surprise appearance on stage.  He shared his own opinions and advocated for action to fight extreme poverty, while capping off with a rendition of John Lennon’s “Imagine.” Shortly after, the Black Keys took the stage.

In the midst of their tour promoting last winter’s album El Camino, Dan Auerbach and Patrick Carney serenaded New York with a combination of old favorites and new tunes. Auerbach and Carney performed the expected hits. “Lonely Boy” and “Gold on the Ceiling,” along with a few cuts from its superb 2010 album Brothers. While the Keys did break out three tracks from Attack & Release, they didn’t play anything from their first four studio albums.

Led by former Nirvana drummer Dave Grohl, the Foo Fighters followed the Keys with a career-spanning set of greatest hits and newly-released songs.
Grohl began by himself with an acoustic guitar, singing the 10-yearold, yet ever-catchy, “Times Like These.” Once the rest of the band hit the stage, the
screeching and long-haired Grohl was let of out his cage.

After three consecutive cuts from Wasting Light, surprisingly including “Arlandria” and leaving out “Rope” and “Dear Rosemary,” Grohl’s group rocked Central Park by concluding with the widely popular “Best of You” and “Everlong.” A few minutes before 9:00 pm, about four hours after K’Naan kicked off the festival, the headlining act stepped under the lights.  Neil Young reunited with Crazy Horse, a band that he had made albums with in the 1960’s and again in the 90’s.

Young and Crazy Horse provided the crowd with over an hour of the familiar and long-lasting guitar riffs that have defined their heralded careers that have endured almost half a century. The end of the show saw Auerbach and Grohl joining Young on stage to perform Young’s 1989 hit “Rockin’ in the Free World,” symbolizing the need to come together to end poverty.

And by the end of the show, that goal seemed closer than ever.