The Legendary 11-time Grammy-winning rock band, Foo Fighters went all out in celebration of the band’s ninth studio rock album, Concrete and Gold, by curating their very own Southern California one-day massive rock festival. After a full day of clear skies, radiating sunshine and tens of thousands of avid rock fans in attendance, Cal Jam 17 is officially in the books and was one hell of a record release party.
The live music party took place on Saturday, Oct. 7, hosted by the Glen Helen Regional Park and Amphitheater (the largest outdoor amphitheater in the U.S., with a capacity of 65,000 people) among the rolling foothills of San Bernardino, California.
The brainchild of frontman Dave Grohl, the music fest was conceived in the spirit of the original 1974 California Jam complete with giant rainbow arches adorning the entrance. The original Cal Jam (one of the most successful rock festivals to date) took place at the Ontario Motor Speedway in Ontario, California and was co-headlined by Deep Purple and Emerson, Lake & Palmer. Other featured rock heavyweights — Black Sabbath, Earth, Wind & Fire, Eagles, Seals and Crofts, Black Oak Arkansas, and Rare Earth.
Cal Jam 17, produced by Live Nation, was the first chance for Foo Fighters’ fans in the U.S. to experience some of the songs from Concrete and Gold brought to life. Released on Sept. 15 through Roswell/RCA Records, Concrete and Gold debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart (the second No. 1 album for the Foos). Described by the group in a press release as “the album they've been waiting to make,” the top-selling 11-track LP, recorded and produced by Greg Kurstin (Pink, Adele, and Sia), is the follow-up to the group’s 2014 full-length studio album Sonic Highways. You can purchase Concrete and Gold here.
One of the most significant U.S. headlining shows for the Foo Fighters, the inaugural Cal Jam 17 showcased a total of 19+ top-talent bands on three stages; the main amphitheater stage (CalJam17) and two side stages (Sun Stage and Mountain Stage). With minimal overlap between acts, music fans shifted from stage to stage hearing a variety of rock, and sub-genre rock groups, savoring the cathartic experience of live music, coupled with the face-to-face social community distinctive in today’s multi-generational music festivals.
Topping the rock-focused lineup with Foo Fighters was the Palm Desert rock band, Queens of the Stone Age, who just released their seventh album, Villains, on Aug. 25. Also included on the exclusive guest list were Cage the Elephant, Liam Gallagher, Royal Blood, The Struts, Circa Waves, Pinky Pinky, the Kills, Japandroids, Wolf Alice, White Reaper, Fireball Ministry, Starcrawler, Bob Mould, Babes In Toyland, Bully, The Obsessed, and Adia Victoria.
Foo Fighters drummer Taylor Hawkins said in a recent press release, “This is a pretty flawless bill, if you ask me, I don’t want to sound big-headed and put us in the flawless category, but as far as a great rock ‘n’ roll bill goes – I think this is about as good as it gets,” Hawkins, continued, “What makes Cal Jam 17 stand out is that it’s not trying to be diverse or appeal to every musical taste — it’s a straight-up rock fest.”
In the wake of the tragic Las Vegas shooting and the crushing news of the sudden death of legendary rocker Tom Petty, the long-planned music celebration took on a much-needed life of its own, engendering notable performances throughout the day and night honoring both the Las Vegas victims and the revered Tom Petty.