Hyde Park, London
Last night Green Day delivered two hours of upbeat commercial punky rock’n’roll that set the standard for summer park festivals.
As someone who’s watched bands in halls, tents, parks, stadiums and arenas for 30 years it’s always a pleasure to watch musicians who, even after two decades on the road, still project the kind of boyish enthusiasm you’d find in a bunch of teenagers bashing out Ramones numbers in a suburban garage.
Green Day have an impressive back catalogue of catchy three minute post punk singalongs on a dozen albums going back to the early nineties. Last night’s show revolved around their latest release, Revolution Radio, and their massive sellers American Idiot (title track, Boulevard of Broken Dreams, Letterbomb, Holiday, St Jimmy and Jesus of Suburbia) and Dookie (Basket Case, Longview, She, When I Come Around and Welcome to Paradise), as well as a few songs from the early 90s albums and later releases Warning (Minority) and 21st Century Breakdown (Know Your Enemy). I had hoped to hear a handful of my favourite tracks from the band’s enjoyable album trilogy Uno Dos & Tre but this didn’t spoil an otherwise well-paced and fun-filled live show.
Billie Joe Armstrong is an energetic front man, running about the stage, rousing the kids to chant “Eeeooww” every other song and at times inviting their active participation. Two lucky young ladies had their shot at fame on a couple of numbers mid-show – one taking lead vocals and the other strumming a chord sequence on Billie’s guitar – to all round applause. The band were musically tight and disciplined. Of course, it helps to have Mike Durnt on bass and the aptly named Tre Cool on drums, the latter’s mastery of his kit is a pleasure to watch on its own.
I was also quite impressed with the sound. It was a bit louder than previous Hyde Park gigs I’ve attended involving big arena rock bands and well equalised between vocals and instruments. I watched the show from a couple of spots well behind the mixing desk towards the centre of the park.
Well, it was Hyde Park so all ages, nationalities, shapes and sizes. Plenty of old punks proudly sporting their Exploited T-shirts, the usual well scrubbed and plastered teenagers, chin stroking cider drinking vintage rock fans like me, and happy families embarrassed about their dancing Dads. I also spotted the youngest Green Day fan, a few weeks old in Mum’s arms taking an evening milk bottle, while the boys on stage ripped through Basket Case.
It made me think..
I had seen Green Day before about 10 years ago but I’d certainly go see them again on their next UK tour. They make a great noise.