Dan Hadley, Lighting Designer, Foo Fighters

Welcoming TPiMEA to Foo Fighters’ headline show at the Yasalam After-Race Concerts for the Formula 1 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, the band’s long-serving Lighting Designer discusses his design inspirations and looks ahead to the 2024 stadium run…

As anyone who has seen a Foo Fighters show will know, Dave Grohl has two catchphrases that tend to crop up multiple times during every performance. While one includes an expletive that we couldn’t possibly print in TPiMEA, the other is a callout to the band’s long-time Lighting Designer, Dan Hadley. “It’s important to Dave that he can see the audience throughout the show and that means that ‘light ’em up, Dan’ is a common call throughout the night,” Hadley commented, joking that despite this callout being such a regular feature of the shows, the band’s touring rig doesn’t currently have any blinders. “We’re going to add some for 2024,” he added.

With a total of 15 GRAMMY Awards including five for Best Rock Album since their 1995 debut, Foo Fighters are established rock ’n’ roll royalty. In March 2022, they suffered the tragic loss of drummer and beloved band member Taylor Hawkins, forcing them to cancel all performances for the remainder of the year. Following the surprise release of their new album But Here We Are in June 2023, the band returned to the road with tour dates in North America and festival appearances all around the world, including a headline performance at the Yasalam After-Race Concerts for the Formula 1 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

Speaking to TPiMEA as doors opened in Abu Dhabi, Hadley – who has been with the band since 2010 – shared his inspirations and process behind the latest show design. “For this latest tour, Dave was keen to go with a more content-driven, cinematic style,” he revealed, going on to explain his views on video content. “I don’t like to force a narrative on people, because people take different meanings from songs, and it’s personal to them. I also don’t want to see stuff like fire, water, skulls, or generic raindrops on a windshield on a lonely road – that’s boring!”

Photos: Martin Professional, TPiMEA