Foo Fighters pay tribute to drummer Taylor Hawkins at emotional London concert
Taylor Hawkins & The Coattail Riders perform at Guitar Center's 27th Annual Drum-Off at Club Nokia on January 16, 2016 in Los Angeles, California. (Ashley Beliveau/Getty Images)
Eleanor Pickston and Lauren Said-Moorhouse, CNN
Published Sunday, September 4, 2022 10:02AM EDT
(CNN) -- A star-studded line-up, including Paul McCartney and Liam Gallagher, joined the Foo Fighters for an emotional tribute to the band's drummer Taylor Hawkins at a concert in London on Saturday night.
Hawkins, 50, died in March in Bogotá, Colombia, hours before the Foo Fighters were set to take the stage at the Festival Estereo Picnic. The band immediately canceled its remaining tour dates.
Saturday's concert was the first time the band had performed together since Hawkins' death.
According to the UK's PA Media news agency, a tearful Foo Fighters frontman Dave Grohl told the crowd at London's Wembley Stadium: "Taylor loved to jam and record with anybody and everybody. He loved to play music every day. And there aren't too many people that he's never jammed with. So this collection of friends and family and musicians, this is all brought together by him and we're all connected here today by that one guy."
The theme of family was ever-present throughout the show. Sixteen-year-old Oliver Shane Hawkins joined his father's band for a powerful rendition of Foo Fighters song "My Hero."
"Ladies and gentlemen, we have one more drummer that's going to come up and play with us," Grohl said as he welcomed Hawkins' son to the stage. "And let me tell you I don't think I've ever seen anyone hit the drums as hard as this person, but beyond that, he's a member of our family. And he needs to be here tonight with all of us, and I think it makes sense that he's going to come up and play with us tonight."
Some of music's biggest names turned out to honor Hawkins including Queen's Roger Taylor and Brian May, Rush, AC/DC singer Brian Johnson and Nile Rodgers. The Pretenders' Chrissie Hynde, pop star Kesha, Eurovision sensation Sam Ryder and The Darkness frontman Justin Hawkins also joined the celebration.
In a pre-recorded message, Elton John called Hawkins "an incredible drummer" and recalled him "playing on my last album, which I was so thrilled about and honored."
"Tonight is about remembering him, honoring him and don't ever forget him," John added, according to PA.
Comedians Dave Chappelle and Jason Sudeikis also took to the stage to tell anecdotes about their relationship to Hawkins' music.
Saturday's concert was the first of two celebratory events honoring Hawkins. A second tribute concert will be held on September 27 in Los Angeles. Funds from the events will go to the Music Support and MusiCares charities, both of which were chosen by the Hawkins family.
Hawkins joined Foo Fighters in 1997, first appearing with the band on the tour supporting their sophomore album, "The Colour and the Shape."