Dave Grohl Falls Offstage & Breaks His Leg, Then Continues the Show as The Foo Fighters Play Queen’s “Under Pressure” (2015)

How do you make the show go on after a bro­ken leg?

The bless­ing we give per­form­ers before they go onstage isn’t some­thing we actu­al­ly want to see hap­pen. Nonethe­less, stage injuries occur fre­quent­ly, and in some cas­es, severe­ly, as when Pat­ti Smith fell 15 feet into a con­crete orches­tra pit in 1977 and broke sev­er­al ver­te­brae in her back. “I felt like an ass­hole,” she told Cir­cus mag­a­zine, “but my doc­tor told me not to wor­ry, it hap­pens to every­body.”

Maybe not every­body, but when the Foo Fight­ers played Gothen­burg, Swe­den in 2015, Dave Grohl took a major spill from the front of the stage, break­ing his leg, while a crowd of 52,000 peo­ple watched. They also watched as, sev­er­al min­utes lat­er, his crew car­ried him back onstage while the rest of the band fit­ting­ly played Queen’s “Under Pres­sure.”

The fall hap­pened dur­ing the sec­ond song of the show, and Grohl returned to play the entire 26-song set, his doc­tor kneel­ing next to him, hold­ing his leg togeth­er.

It didn’t hurt until I wound up on my couch in my hotel room, with a beer in my hand. They gave me some real­ly strong painkillers—I nev­er take pills, but with­in half an hour I was like, “Get me the f—ing Oxys right now, man!” It was pret­ty painful. And then I thought I could just get up and do a show a week lat­er after surgery, but I lit­er­al­ly could not get out of bed for about six or sev­en days. It was so f—ing painful. I had nev­er expe­ri­enced any­thing like that in my life. 

With his leg in a cast, he deter­mined that the band would make their Fourth of July show in Wash­ing­ton, DC, a return to Grohl’s home­town. “I start­ed think­ing… ‘I might not be able to get onstage next week,’” he told Enter­tain­ment Week­ly, “‘but I’m not miss­ing that Fourth of July show, and if that goes OK then we’re just going to keep going.’” The gig went so well the band kept tour­ing, Grohl perched in a spe­cial­ly-designed stage throne.

“I love my job,” Grohl said, “I mean, f–, I’m out there with a bro­ken leg and a plate and pins in a bone and I can’t even stand up, but I still want to get on stage and play, with my fam­i­ly. We’re not break­ing up any­time soon, that would be like your grand­par­ents get­ting a divorce.” There’s no shame in tak­ing it easy after an injury, but if you’re a ded­i­cat­ed per­former who lives onstage, you might heal even faster if you don’t. At the time, Grohl epit­o­mized anoth­er old cliche — if you love what you do, you won’t have to work a day in your life, even when you have to work with a bro­ken leg. Watch the fall just above and the tri­umphant return min­utes lat­er at the top of the post. Below you can see the reunion with the doc­tor who held his leg togeth­er.

Grohl’s fall, and oth­er moments, get revis­it­ed in his new mem­oir, The Sto­ry­teller: Tales of Life and Music.

Relat­ed Con­tent: 

Watch 1,000 Musi­cians Play the Foo Fight­ers’ “Learn to Fly,” Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spir­it,” Queen’s “We Will Rock You,” Bowie’s “Rebel Rebel,” and The Who’s “Won’t Get Fooled Again”

Foo Fight­ers Per­form “Back in Black” with AC/DC’s Bri­an John­son: When Live Music Returns

Hear Dave Grohl’s First Foo Fight­ers Demo Record­ings, As Kurt Cobain Did in 1992

Josh Jones is a writer and musi­cian based in Durham, NC. Fol­low him at @jdmagness

by | Permalink | Comments (13) |

Sup­port Open Cul­ture

We’re hop­ing to rely on our loy­al read­ers rather than errat­ic ads. To sup­port Open Cul­ture’s edu­ca­tion­al mis­sion, please con­sid­er mak­ing a dona­tion. We accept Pay­Pal, Ven­mo (@openculture), Patre­on and Cryp­to! Please find all options here. We thank you!

Comments (13)
You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.
  • Gregory Markle says:

    The one Jethro Tull show I attend­ed at The Elec­tric Fac­to­ry in Philadel­phia back in the 90s fea­tured Ian Ander­son per­form­ing the entire show from a wheel­chair due to break­ing his leg dur­ing pre-tour prac­tice per­for­mances. I recall him say­ing some­thing about being a rapid­ly aging mid­dle aged man who for a few moments tried to pre­tend he was still 18. Wheeled him­self around like a mad­man though and put on a great show.

  • Jake says:

    Why did you feel the need to write about this?

  • Neanja says:

    Much bet­ter ques­tion is why did you feel a need to ask him that ques­tion?

  • Bill Byham says:

    As jour­nal­ist , we write what/who we chose to write about . It’s not for YOU to ques­tion ,

  • Vance McCaskill says:


    • OC says:

      Just curi­ous, it seems like there’s a wave of vis­i­tors to this post today. Any idea where every­one’s com­ing from?


  • Burt says:

    Did this get clogged in the inter­net tubes a few years ago and some­how work itself free this week?

  • Marc says:

    Don’t know where to begin..is it click­bait or just a poor­ly writ­ten arti­cle. Then I get to the last line of the arti­cle to find out its about Dave Grohl’s new mem­oir…
    Mis­lead­ing head­line talk­ing about some­thing that hap­pened 6 years ago with zero expla­na­tion as to why a reporter is talk­ing about old news as if it was some­thing new…

  • Remy says:

    Dave Grohl Once Fell Off­stage & Broke His Leg, Then Con­tin­ued the Show as The Foo Fight­ers Played Queen’s “Under Pres­sure” (2015)

    Fixed it.

  • Alan says:

    So frus­trat­ing when jour­nal­ists frame a past event as cur­rent news so they can get their click

  • Anonymous says:

    This gives a whole new mean­ing to “break a leg”

Leave a Reply

Open Culture was founded by Dan Colman.