The punk Gods must’ve been shining down on the Emirates Stadium on Saturday because not only were Green Day in town for their first UK appearance this year and since Billie Joe’s stint in rehab, but they were equipped with two great bands to warm up the crowd and the sun was shining, added bonus! Having secured these tickets sometime last year, it had felt like a huge wait for the day to arrive, but it finally did and it was definitely worth the wait (despite the extortionate prices for food and the unnecessarily long queues for a drink).
With an early start and All Time Low (****) coming out as early as 5.20pm, it was good to see such a strong turn out in the crowd to catch these guys open up what surely must be their biggest show to date, and now despite a few early sound issues, they sounded brilliant up on that stage and you could clearly see this was a dream come true. “Lost in Stereo” and “Time-Bomb” were fantastic crowd movers with bodies jumping from front to back and evident fans old and new having a great time. Mixing in tracks such as “Stella” and “Backseat Serenade” and ending with “Weightless” and “Dear Maria, Count Me In” showed they had thought hard about what set to do today and it worked really well; these guys have been on the up for years and they’re doing everything right. This is certainly one thing to tick off the bucket list.
Following All Time Low were British Indie rock band Kaiser Chiefs (***), now as good as it was to see a British band on this bill, for us personally, it didn’t seem very punk to have them sandwiched between All Time Low and Green Day, however they did put on a pretty good set and the crowd seemed to love them…even if everyone seemed to only be enthusiastic for the main hits! It seemed as if they put the classics beginning, middle and end with the lesser known or newer tracks mixed in to keep the crowd going as best as they could; “Never Miss A Beat”, “Everyday I Love You Less and Less”, and “I Predict a Riot” were of course amongst the favourites tonight and fans were treated to a new track titled “Bows and Arrows”. Ending with a slightly extended version of “Oh My God”, their set was over and everyone was preparing for the main event.
When a band comes on at 8pm, you instantly know it’s going to be a long set with a great show and that is exactly what Green Day (*****) did. Coming out as always after hearing Blitzkrieg Bop and a stadium sing along to Bohemian Rhapsody, which by the way was amazing to hear, they opened with “99 Revolutions” and instantly we could see that Green Day were back. It was nice to see a somewhat more stripped back production; no fireworks, no screen graphics, just Green Day doing what they do best. Now having not long released 3 consecutive albums, picking a set list to cater such a massive back catalogue can’t be easy these days yet they packed in a mammoth 30 songs covering near enough 8 albums. “Know Your Enemy” was the only song featured from ‘21st Century Breakdown’ and was the first track to feature a fan on stage to sing part of the lyrics, the others being an Operation Ivy cover with a girl on guitar and of course “Longview” where the guy sounded brilliant on vocals and was truly revelling in the fact he was fronting Green Day for a minute or so.
We won’t sit here and list off every track that they played live that night because we could be here a while (head to setlist.fm), but we will say that some of our personal favourites included the classic Green Day with “Hitchin’ A Ride”, Welcome to Paradise” and “Basket Case” sounding fantastic as usual. It wouldn’t have been a Green Day show if “King for a Day” wasn’t included with the band being dressed in everything from drag to where’s Wally costumes; newer tracks “Stay the Night” and “Oh Love” were great live and as always “American Idiot” caused chaos amongst the fans and “Jesus of Suburbia” provided a near epic finale. Straying away from what we thought would be the predictable ending of “Time of your Life”; tonight ended with the lesser known “Brutal Love”, which was a somewhat bizarre choice in our opinion, but that didn’t take away from the amazing show we had just been witness to.
Having known what Billie Joe and the band have been going through this past year, it could easily have been forgotten about for the 2 and a half hours that they were on stage because there was no doubt that they were all on top form and put on the show of their lives. Whether they had a point to prove or not, Green Day are back and if you didn’t catch them this time, we suggest you go to Reading or Leeds Festival or wait for them to come back for what we hope will be a more extensive tour.