Green Day bring Reading Festival to a standstill with surprise set

The band play a 13-song, hour-long set, but air only two new songs during their last minute appearance

Green Day brought Reading Festival to a standstill today (August 25) as they played a surprise set on the NME/Radio 1 Stage.

The band had been rumoured to perform at 12pm and were thought to be playing their 1994 album ‘Dookie’ from start to finish. However, their set actually began at 11am and was only confirmed when frontman Billie Joe Armstrong took to Twitter to say so, writing: “Green day – READING FESTIVAL CONFIRMED!! On stage in 45 minutes! In the NME / RADIO 1 tent. 11am!! Be there!”

Such was the demand to get in that the organisers were forced to seal off access to the stage, leaving most of the crowd to watch the band on the Main Stage, where the set was being shown on a big screen.


Although they delivered five tracks from ‘Dookie’, the band actually played a career-spanning set similar to their show at London’s O2 Shepherds Bush Empire on Thursday (August 23). However, they aired only two new songs from their forthcoming album trilogy ‘¡Uno!, ¡Dos!, ¡Tré!’, which were titled ‘Oh Love’ and ‘Stay The Night’. Instead of this, the band chose to play fan favourites ‘Letterbomb’, ‘Hitchin’ A Ride’ and ‘St Jimmy’. Scroll down to watch fan footage from the band’s set.

At numerous times during the set, Armstrong heightened the atmosphere by pretending to be dragged off-stage by organisers. After curtailing the band’s 2004 single ‘Boulevard Of Broken Dreams’, he told the crowd: “We’re having a little fucking problem with time.”

Yet even when the coverage ended on the Main Stage, the band still ploughed on, leaving a large group of fans to watch a distant screen from behind a security cordon. In the end, the set clocked in at just over an hour and included 14 songs, with classics ‘Basket Case’, ‘Minority’ and ‘Brain Stew’ all in the setlist. They ended with ‘Dookie’ track ‘She’.

During the set, Armstrong praised the Reading crowd, telling them that he rated them more highly than US audiences. He said after the crowd’s rabid response to ‘Hitchin’ A Ride’: “That’s why I fucking love England, the Americans just don’t get that shit.”


The band’s new album trilogy, ‘¡Uno!, ¡Dos!, ¡Tré!’, will be released in three stages. The first album, ‘¡Uno!’, comes out on September 24, with the second LP, ‘¡Dos!’, coming out on November 12 and ‘¡Tré!’ on January 14, 2013.

To coincide with the release of ‘¡Uno!, ¡Dos!, ¡Tré!’, the band are also putting out a pair of documentaries. One is being made by Tim Lynch, a producer of the band’s recent DVD Green Day: Bullet In A Bible, and Tim Wheeler, a co-producer and editor of The White Stripes: Under Great White Northern Lights. It will focus on the making of the band’s three new albums. A second documentary is being created from vintage footage shot during the band’s pre-‘Dookie’ days.

Green Day played:

‘Welcome To Paradise’
‘Murder City’
‘Stay The Night’
‘Oh Love’
‘Hitchin’ A Ride’
‘Brain Stew’
‘St Jimmy’
‘Basket Case’
‘American Idiot’

Reading Festival continues today with sets from Kasabian, Florence And The Machine, The Vaccines and At The Drive-In.

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