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Foo Fighters fan upstages Dave Grohl with epic ‘Tom Sawyer’ cover

If you're going to perform with the Foo Fighters, you have to bring it big.


Josh Katzowitz


Posted on Aug 14, 2015   Updated on May 28, 2021, 4:04 am CDT

One lucky Foo Fighters fan just got the highest possible praise.

As most bands likely would tell you, bringing up an audience member to either play an instrument or sing a song during a massive arena show is a risk. If that audience member turns out to be a bust, the band has just wasted everybody’s time. Riots have started over less.

But sometimes, the unknown performer is so special, so talented, and puts out such a winning performance that the rock gods howl in triumph while the angels of metal weep with joy.

At Wednesday’s Foo Fighters show in Edmonton, singer/guitarist Dave Grohl invited a man named Brian Roberts—who, according to the CBC, is a field service technician for a construction company—to the stage to sing the iconic Rush song “Tom Sawyer.”

Grohl knew the risk he was taking, especially since as Robert climbed on the stage, Grohl laughed and said, “You’re trying to tell me that your big ass can sing those high notes? You can do it, right? … Don’t fuck it up.”

To the crowd, Grohl declared, “Welcome to my nightmare.”

Then, Roberts proceeded to dominate.

Look, Roberts can hit those high notes, even if it’s not quite as melodic as Geddy Lee during his prime. But Roberts did himself, his country, and his country’s favorite band quite proud. Just look at Grohl’s face when he discovered that Roberts could hit those Geddy-ian levels of vocalization.

As Roberts recalled to the CBC, the band had been hinting for much of the concert that it would play a Rush song, and when Grohl asked for a volunteer to sing “Tom Sawyer,” Roberts remembered thinking, “Well, I’ve sung that song in karaoke so many frickin’ times that I just jumped up and said ‘I do, I do!’

“It was a very epic experience,” Roberts said. “I was nervous pretty much the whole time. ‘Don’t screw the song up, don’t screw the song up.’ I think I mixed some of the lyrics up there but I just about nailed ’er bang on.”

Here’s a thought for Roberts’ next step as a musician: Combine forces with this dude who once played drums for Foo Fighters and travel to Italy to join this 1,000-member Foo Fighters fan club and tour the world as the greatest Foo Fighters/Rush cover band we’ve ever seen.

Screengrab via Roxann Therres/YouTube

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*First Published: Aug 14, 2015, 2:16 pm CDT