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See Dave Grohl Perform Extended Rendition of Prog-Rock Epic ‘Play’ at 2018 Christmas Jam

Five years after Dave Grohl performed his prog-rock epic “Play” live for the first (and only) time, a video of the complete and extended performance of the song has been revealed.

In December 2018, Grohl recruited an all-star lineup including Alain Johannes, Greg Kurstin, Chris Chaney, Barrett Jones, and more to give “Play” a one-night-only airing at the annual Christmas Jam benefit concert in Asheville thrown by Gov’t Mule’s Warren Haynes.

The “Play” performance — which saw the track grow from 23 minutes in the studio to 36 minutes onstage — is the centerpiece of The Benefit Concert Volume 20, which collects standout recordings from the two-night Christmas Jam in 2018.

In addition to Grohl — who also guested alongside Haynes to perform Foo Fighters’ “Times Like These,” as well as a solo “Everlong” — The Benefit Concert Volume 20 also boasts performances by Eric Church, Jamey Johnson, Phish’s Mike Gordon, Jim James, and a whole lot of Gov’t Mule.

“Although Christmas Jam, the main event, is traditionally a one-night event, there have been three occasions where we felt the need to make it two nights — the 20th, 25th, and 30th Anniversaries, each of which featured extraordinary line-ups,” Haynes said in a statement. 

“The performances being represented in this package are culled from the 30th Anniversary in 2018, which was in itself a milestone for ‘the Jam.’ However, its importance is amplified by the fact that the next year we would take a well-deserved break with every intention of resuming business as usual in 2020, not knowing that 2020 would bring about the COVID-19 pandemic which affected not just the music business, but the entire world. Thankfully, we were able to bring it back in 2022 with a stellar lineup and will continue on this year with another memorable event. It feels great to be back.”


The Benefit Concert Volume 20 — available to preorder on vinyl and CD/DVD — will arrive on December 8.

Back when Grohl released his “Play” in 2018, he explained the project, “To any musician, young or old, a beautiful studio full of instruments like a playground. To me, I’m like a kid in a candy store. Most musicians are always chasing the next challenge; you never feel satisfied, and you never feel like you’ve completely mastered the instrument you’re playing. It’s always going to be a puzzle; it’s always going to be a challenge. It’s a beautiful mystery. But once it gets its hooks in you, that’s when the obsession and the drive really kick in.”

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