Green Day became one of the biggest rock bands on the planet with their brilliant album American Idiot. This year’s follow up, 21st Century Breakdown was a flawed attempt to recreate the magic (but they get points for effort). Unfortunately their mega-success over the last decade has led to the all-too-familiar story of rock bands becoming too big for their own boots and losing sight of their original ideals. Green Day sing about political and social upheaval and climate change, meanwhile the carbon footprint for their over sized arena shows is massive. Hypocrisy in its purest form.
Opening with a rather bland Song Of The Century set the tone for a big, dumb, loud rock show, appealing to the lowest common denominator – always a winning formula. Green Day appear to be now taking their fans for granted, and that’s never cool. They need to remove their heads from their arses and get back to playing powerful punk rock shows (they’ve certainly got loads of great material).
Of course it wasn’t all bad at all – there was 90 minutes of fantastic rock in the 2 ½ – 3 hour show. Holiday and St. Jimmy were just fucking marvelous, Hitchin’ A Ride was particularly brutal, and Boulevard Of Broken Dreams was exquisite. The Dookie-era classics Longview and Basket Case got some of the biggest roars of the night, and rightly so – they were a lot of fun. The downside of all the songs performed was that Green Day could not play a single song straight though without stopping for a “yeah Sydney” or “oi oi” or some other mindless chant. There was simply no flow to the show; it was a consistent stop-start effort song after song. Finishing off the main set with a cracking Minority was fantastic, except for the extended dull ending. Why oh why Green Day must you ruin your songs with this excessive self-indulgent wankery?
The double shot of American Idiot and Jesus Of Suburbia for the first encore was one of the strongest points of the show, and an ideal way to finish it off. But no, we need to make room for Billie Joe’s ego and a second (acoustic) encore of Last Night On Earth, Wake Me Up When September Ends, and Good Riddance. This was the only time songs were played uninterrupted – the only problem was they were played at the end of the show when they would have been far more effective in the middle of the show, or at maybe as a first encore. It was a weak ending to a sometimes spectacular night of rock. If Green Day can trim the fat from their live shows, it really would make for something extra special but judging by the reaction of many of the fans, they just don’t give a fuck.