Saturday’s concert was the first time the band had performed together since Hawkins’ death.
According to UK news agency PA Media, Tearful Foo Fighters frontman Dave Grohl told the crowd at Wembley Stadium in London: “Taylor loved to jam and record with anyone and everyone. He loved to play music every day. And there’s not too many people he’s never jammed with. So this collection of friends and family and musicians, all of that is brought together by him and we are all connected here today by this one guy.
The family theme ran throughout the show. Oliver Shane Hawkins, 16, joined his dad’s band for a powerful rendition of the Foo Fighters song “My Hero.”
“Ladies and gentlemen, we have another drummer coming to 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 that person, but beyond that, he’s a member of our family. And he has to be here tonight. with all of us, and I think it makes sense for him to come and play with us tonight.”
Some of the biggest names in music have turned out to grace Hawkins, including Queen’s Roger Taylor and Brian May, Rush, AC/DC vocalist Brian Johnson and Nile Rodgers. The Pretenders’ Chrissie Hynde, pop star Kesha, Eurovision sensation Sam Ryder and The Darkness frontman Justin Hawkins also joined in 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 and honored with.”
“Tonight is about remembering him, honoring him and never forgetting him,” John added, according to PA.
Comedians Dave Chappelle and Jason Sudeikis also took to the stage to share anecdotes about their relationship with Hawkins’ music.
Audiences described the “incredible” atmosphere of the concert, telling CNN everyone was there to honor Hawkins and “it couldn’t have been better.”
“As it was the first concert since his passing, it was really moving, really raw,” said Carolina Madeira. “David [Grohl] almost broke down, and the vibe was just amazing, people were cheering for him, trying to help him keep singing. I was crying like a baby…everyone was crying.”
The 35-year-old said she didn’t know where Hawkins’ son found the strength to play, adding: “He was so good on the drums, and you can see the connection to the band was real, you You can see the energy in him. It’s a tough thing to do, especially at 16, he was amazing.”
Hawkins joined Foo Fighters in 1997, first appearing with the band on the tour supporting their second album, “The Color and the Shape”.
CNN’s Chloe Melas contributed to this story.