Green Day : London Brixton Academy

...in the light of what’s happened in the last year, it feels like we’re at church...

Green Day  :  London Brixton Academy

Right, so we’ve already established that over the last year Green Day have turned out their best work, helped galvanise a generation and been rewarded with the plinth marked ‘World’s most important band’. Happy? Because to be honest, if you still think Green Day are nothing more than a sideshow wank stunt then you may as well just fuck off now. No, the interesting thing about tonight is how these seasoned MTV vets, for so long regarded as a highly paid joke, can cope with the seriousness bestowed upon them.



Looking at the pack of devotees out in force tonight, it’s only a matter of time before rock biographies start referring to “the ‘American Idiot’ effect”. Bringing the old and new together on one stage could have been disastrous, but live Green Day are still reliably stoopid. From the off they’re also incendiary, tearing through the first few chapters of ‘American Idiot’ and never taking their foot off the flux capacitor. “This house is miiiiiiiine!” declares a wild-eyed, athletic Billie Joe Armstrong, before proving it by dragging two kids out of the crowd to shower the front rows with water cannons (one of whom thanks him by puking – “Sid Vicious would be proud!”) and doing the now-traditional audience participation bit, creating a band out of fans in the crowd to play during ‘Brain Stew’. They might be leading rock’s ideological fightback, but they haven’t forgotten what they’re supposed to be, which is, well, Green Day. It’s this gleeful commitment to the cause which makes the new seriousness ring true – newies like ‘Holiday’ and ‘St Jimmy’ hanging together with ‘Longview’ and ‘Basket Case’ as part of one whole, storming rock show. This is masterpiece theatre and tonight’s proceedings elevate themselves from the merely magnificent to the historical with the encore. ‘Boulevard Of Broken Dreams’, a standard enough slice of radio-friendly rock on paper which grows into something fearsome and gigantic while still tempting out real tears among the raised lighters. It’s so moving that when it bottoms out into a nostalgic ‘When I Come Around’ it prompts pure, celebratory relief.



And that itself would be enough for most bands. But Green Day aren’t most bands and so they do exactly what you’d least expect them to do next. Which is a straight-faced reading of Queen’s ‘We Are The Champions’. Nobody, from Electric Six to G4, covers Queen with their tongue outside their cheek any more. But



Right, so we’ve already established that over the last year Green Day have turned out their best work, helped galvanise a generation and been rewarded with the plinth marked ‘World’s most important band’. Happy? Because to be honest, if you still think Green Day are nothing more than a sideshow wank stunt then you may as well just fuck off now. No, the interesting thing about tonight is how these seasoned MTV vets, for so long regarded as a highly paid joke, can cope with the seriousness bestowed upon them.



Looking at the pack of devotees out in force tonight, it’s only a matter of time before rock biographies start referring to “the ‘American Idiot’ effect”. Bringing the old and new together on one stage could have been disastrous, but live Green Day are still reliably stoopid. From the off they’re also incendiary, tearing through the first few chapters of ‘American Idiot’ and never taking their foot off the flux capacitor. “This house is miiiiiiiine!” declares a wild-eyed, athletic Billie Joe Armstrong, before proving it by dragging two kids out of the crowd to shower the front rows with water cannons (one of whom thanks him by puking – “Sid Vicious would be proud!”) and doing the now-traditional audience participation bit, creating a band out of fans in the crowd to play during ‘Brain Stew’. They might be leading rock’s ideological fightback, but they haven’t forgotten what they’re supposed to be, which is, well, Green Day. It’s this gleeful commitment to the cause which makes the new seriousness ring true – newies like ‘Holiday’ and ‘St Jimmy’ hanging together with ‘Longview’ and ‘Basket Case’ as part of one whole, storming rock show. This is masterpiece theatre and tonight’s proceedings elevate themselves from the merely magnificent to the historical with the encore. ‘Boulevard Of Broken Dreams’, a standard enough slice of radio-friendly rock on paper which grows into something fearsome and gigantic while still tempting out real tears among the raised lighters. It’s so moving that when it bottoms out into a nostalgic ‘When I Come Around’ it prompts pure, celebratory relief.



And that itself would be enough for most bands. But Green Day aren’t most bands and so they do exactly what you’d least expect them to do next. Which is a straight-faced reading of Queen’s ‘We Are The Champions’. Nobody, from Electric Six to G4, covers Queen with their tongue outside their cheek any more. But in the light of what’s happened in the last year, it feels like we’re at church. See, the brilliant consequence of the ‘American Idiot’ effect is that the punka hordes leave Brixton angry, and this thunderous call-to-arms makes you feel part of history. Even more so than the actual finale, when a solitary Billie Joe etches out ‘Time Of Your Life (Good Riddance)’ and all of a sudden steps up to the top table of Great American Songwriters. No, what we’ll keep forever from tonight is the pink tickertape raining down as Billie Joe roared, “No time for losers…” Because for those few moments, it felt like we won.



Dan Martin

ch. See, the brilliant consequence of the ‘American Idiot’ effect is that the punka hordes leave Brixton angry, and this thunderous call-to-arms makes you feel part of history. Even more so than the actual finale, when a solitary Billie Joe etches out ‘Time Of Your Life (Good Riddance)’ and all of a sudden steps up to the top table of Great American Songwriters. No, what we’ll keep forever from tonight is the pink tickertape raining down as Billie Joe roared, “No time for losers…” Because for those few moments, it felt like we won.



Dan Martin

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