Home Lifestyle COLUMN: Bands perform cover songs at Epicenter

COLUMN: Bands perform cover songs at Epicenter

Foo Fighters performed several cover songs in whole or in part during their two-hour set Sunday night at Epicenter Festival.
Photos by Wally Reeves - For the Richmond Observer

Most people go to concerts to hear original music from the bands they love — unless they’re going to see a local cover band.

But even bands with 20-plus years of material will even perform covers.

Take the Rolling Stones for example.

Although they’ve been around since the early ‘60s, every now and then they’ll slip a cover song into their set list.

It was the same at this weekend’s inaugural Epicenter Festival at Rockingham Dragway.

Aside from the AC/DC and Guns n’ Roses tribute bands that performed for campers, there were several familiar songs being belted from the stages.

I didn’t get to see every band perform their full sets, so the following is just the list I compiled from what I heard.

Tom Morello played on Sunday, but the first song from Rage Against the Machine I heard was a cover of “Bulls on Parade” by Machine Gun Kelly.

Rob Zombie paid tribute to influential shock rocker Alice Cooper with the first verse and chorus of “School’s Out.”

Earlier in the set, guitarist John 5 laid down the solo from Led Zeppelin’s “Heartbreaker” at the end of his solo before launching into the White Zombie hit “Thunder Kiss ‘65,” and Zombie and band also launched into the Ramones’ “Blitzkrieg Bop,” which would be covered again later in the weekend.

Rob Zombie guitarist John 5 played the solo from Led Zeppelin’s “Heartbreaker” at the end of his solo the first night of Epicenter Festival.


Crowd-favorite Korn also took a break from their own songs with a cover of Metallica’s “One.” Korn played with Metallica at the dragway during the Summer Sanitarium Tour in 2000.


Fast-forward to Sunday.

As I was making my way across the festival grounds heading to see Morello, I stopped to catch the end of the set from Canadian power trio The Dirty Nil, who ended their show with Van Halen’s “Unchained.”

But it was Foo Fighters who set the record for the number of covers during their two-hour set — most of which were during the band member introductions. 

After introducing bassist Nate Mendel, the band played a bit “Another One Bites the Dust,” one of its three tributes to Queen, recently featured in the band biopic “Bohemian Rhapsody.”

Drummer Taylor Hawkins also mimicked late Queen frontman Freddie Mercury’s iconic call and response with the crowd before trading places on the riser with Dave Grohl for the Queen/David Bowie collaboration “Under Pressure.”

Other covers during the band introductions included “Blitzkrieg Bop” and a mix of two classic rock tunes: Van Halen’s “Jump” to the tune of John Lennon’s “Imagine.”

Also mixed in with originals, including “Learn to Fly,” Monkey Wrench” and “Hero” — which Grohl dedicated to his mom for Mother’s Day and during which I spoke to my own mother — Foo Fighters also performed a cover of the late Tom Petty’s “Breakdown” and “Stay With Me” by The Faces, a ‘70s group featuring Ron Wood on guitar and Rod Stewart on vocals. During the breakdown of the latter, there was even a riff of Van Halen’s “Ain’t Talkin’ ‘Bout Love.”

Grohl, acknowledging the previous day’s cancellation due to severe weather, said that his band would not be performing any Tool covers because of the complexity of the music.


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Managing Editor William R. Toler is an award-winning writer and photographer with experience in print, television and online media.