The Red Hot Chili Peppers paid tribute to late Foo Fighters drummer Taylor Hawkins at Jazz Fest in New Orleans on Sunday while frontman Dave Grohl, Hawkins’ widow Alison, and other members of the Foo Fighters looked on from the wings, according to reports in nola.com and on social media.
Chili Peppers drummer Chad Smith, a close friend of Hawkins’, had “Taylor” spelled out on his bass drum, surrounded by a hawk silhouette, similar to one on Hawkins’ arm.
Foo Fighters were originally scheduled to headline Jazz Fest but canceled all tour dates in the wake of Hawkins’ death on March 25. Grohl’s presence in town over the weekend sparked unfounded rumors that he might perform. That did not take place, but toward the end of the group’s 90-minute set, Smith walked to the front of the stage, took the microphone and said, “We love the Foo Fighters and we love our brother Taylor Hawkins. It’s meant a lot to us to be able to play for them.”
He then led the crowd in a chant of, “We love you, Taylor!”
During the set directly before the Peppers’, Ivan Neville’s band Dumpstaphunk played the Foo Fighters hit “Best of You” as a tribute.
Grohl also was at the city’s Preservation Hall Saturday for the late-night “Midnight Preserves” show, during which the Who’s Pete Townshend played several songs.
Several days before the performance, the Peppers called their set a celebration of Hawkins’ life. Smith posted a touching video tribute of their time together a few days after Hawkins’ death.
“We’re taking Alison, his wife, with us and it’s going to be a celebration,” Smith told Billboard. “That’s what she wants. She doesn’t want it to be anything other than, ‘Let’s celebrate music, let’s celebrate our friends, let’s celebrate Taylor. This is what he would want and he would be very happy that you guys are playing and he would want it be nothing but a positive experience.’ So we’re going to do all that and she’s going to be part of that and I’m very honored that we can do that with her. … We’re going to play our hearts out.”
Hawkins’ cause of death has not been officially determined, although medical officials in Colombia, where he died before the group was to perform at a festival, said there were multiple drugs in his system at the time of his death.