Something magical happened on Thursday night. A beautiful, heartwarming relationship that sparked during the worst days of the pandemic so far led to a real-life meet-up and an epic performance in front of thousands of people.
Yup, Dave Grohl finally played with Nandi Bushell.
It started in mid-August of 2020, as a pandemic-weary, pre-vaccine world looked anxiously toward the end of summer and the expected spike in COVID-19 cases the fall season would bring. Then, all of a sudden, people across the internet were captivated by the drumming skills of Bushell, a then-10-year-old girl in England. She absolutely destroyed a version of the Foo Fighters hit “Everlong” in a video, but not before challenging Grohl himself to a “drum-off.”
A couple weeks later, Grohl gamely responded with an on-camera performance of his own, and the drum-off was underway. In the weeks that followed, the two traded increasingly impressively displays of drumming talent. All of us were winners, for getting to witness this beautifully pure and wholesome blossoming of an against-all-odds friendship.
Which brings us to Aug. 26. At a Foo Fighters performance in California, a group of stage techs rolled out a temporary riser adorned with a pint-sized pink drum kit as Grohl addressed the crowd. He talked about 2020 and the unlikely friendship that formed online, across a physical distance spanning thousands of miles. He laid out the whole story of his back-and-forth with Bushell, detailing how she “whoop[ed] my fucking ass” multiple times.
“But of course, this person inspired me last year so much, and I’ll tell you why,” he added. “Because in a time when you would pick up your phone or turn on a computer all you had was bad news. For that one day, you could pick up your phone and see this connection between two people that have never met making music together and spreading joy and love all across the world.”
“So ladies and gentlemen, would you please welcome the most badass drummer in the world, my new friend, Nandi.”
Cue the music. A killer performance of “Everlong,” captured above by a fan in the audience. Grohl didn’t dare test his mettle against Bushell, now 11, this time. He just played right along with her as she brought the house down.