Emirates Stadium, London
1 June 2013
Money is always an issue in the modern world we live in, here at the Emirates Stadium fans of the home North London team Arsenal have been screaming at manager Arséne Wenger for not splashing the cash that has left the team to flounder in the Premier league. Cash problems are the same for tonight’s headliners Green Day, be it an over spend. Once on the top of their game in 2004 after introducing the blistering concept album American Idiot, the band have met a steady decline with 2009 follow up 21st Century Breakdown and last year’s three album disaster of ¡Uno!, ¡Dos! And ¡Tre! that had the band beached in the shallows of the charts after this big production attempt.
However Arsenal and Green Day fans are very much alike in this instance, failing to be fazed by big league attempts they come out in force to indulge in the past and lend support to the future. While the football team raises it cannons for their hurrahs, team GD raise their 21 gun salute for the fabled Berkeley trio.
With the sun seeping through the open top stadium the Green Day army swarm towards the stage in their uniform of recently selected merchandise marking the 99 Revolutions tour. The stage that they are crushing towards however looks distinctly minimalist for the big budget headliners. The bands 2010 Wembley Stadium shows were met with gigantic visuals, CO2 cannon blasts and a firework finally – todays Emirates performance features none of this. The stage is but merely guitar cabs, drums and select lighting that flare up as the trio bound onstage to the tour title track 99 Revolutions with the now rabid attendees clambering at their feet.
It is not long however before tedium sets in – if you have seen Green Day before in the last six years then this sadly will be all too familiar, and if not spoiler alert! Only into the second song – the politically charged single Know Your Enemy – frontman Billie Joe Armstrong is up to his old tricks of bringing a lucky fan up on stage to sing a chorus alongside the punk royalty. Although Armstrong may see himself as a skinny jeaned Santa making dreams come true for kids worldwide – for the rest of the 49,991 attendees – by the fifth time we are met by a strung out instrumental verse while the chosen one is elected we get shifty feet as we are left with a big sack of boring coal.
It’s not all doom and gloom however, while the lengthy but mostly captivating two and a half hour set runs through fan favourites such as Holiday and Welcome To Paradise the set is met by select live rarities. The gentle rock roller Missing You – taken from latest album ¡Tre! – get its first ever live debut with the band seeming the most focused and content of the evening. 2000’s Warning and Sassafras Roots from 1994’s Dookie also makes a welcome appearance via crowd request.
Finalising the evening is ¡Tre! ballad Brutal Love which takes the place of Good Riddance. With camera phones swaying to the acoustic chimes of the dimly lit stadium as Armstrong sings “Turn out the lights, close your eyes,” an intimate moment is created but it doesn’t quite pack the same emotive punch as “I hope you had the time of your life.” When the last chord is struck without even a whimper of a single firecracker the band disperse. Like Arsenal look back to 2005 at their last great trophy it seems Green Day fans do the same, with people longing for the golden oldies and American Idiot marking the heyday it looks like the band are destined to continue their predictable greatest hits sets like today for the foreseeable future, a worthy investment but the same returns can always be expected.