Live Report: Green Day – Wembley Stadium, London

Punk heroes roll back the years...

Celebrating 30 years of ‘Dookie’ and 20 years of ‘American Idiot’, Green Day continue to prove that punk rock has no sell by date. The American trio take to Wembley on a Saturday night and light up the sold-out stadium with fireworks, bombs and energy that transports us to 1994.

Coming on to Ramones’ ‘Blitzkrieg Bop’, Green Day seems genuinely overwhelmed by the fans’ adoration tonight. Formed in 1987, the trio have been at the forefront of the American punk scene since their start. The energy and passion displayed coupled with their exceptional tightness, are clearly the result of four decades of love for their craft. Tonight, they celebrate these anniversaries by playing both albums in full, with a few surprises along the way.

The band kicks things off with Dookie, their legendary punk album that has shaped the lives of many of their fans. Keeping a vigilant eye on the crowd, vocalist Billie Joe Armstrong pauses during ‘F.O.D.’ to check on fans who have fallen, shouting, “Does someone need help? Help each other if someone falls down, I should know!”. Throughout the set, he is chewing gum, his unblinking eyes scanning the audience leaving every person in the stadium seen. For She, he brings up his son, Jakob Danger from Ultra Q, on guitar as bassist Mike Dirnt energetically runs around leaving no part of the stage untouched. However, the real star of the night is drummer, Tré Cool. During the break between ‘Dookie’ and ‘American Idiot’, he steals the spotlight, donning a leopard print gown and singing ‘All By Myself’. His lively performance keeps the energy high while the others prepare for the next inning.

The rest of the band return after a short break for ‘Know Your Enemy’ and bring a lucky fan on stage. She then throws herself off and into the pit leaving the band stunned at her boldness. “Bring her back!” laughs Billie. They then crash into ‘Look Ma, No Brains!’, ‘One Eyed Bastard’, ‘Dilemma’ and ‘Minority’. Giving their fans the validation to be themselves, everyone screams “I wanna be the minority, I don’t need your authority, Down with the moral majority, ’Cause I wanna be the minority” with passion and solidarity. They then begin the highlight of the night where they smash their way through the entirety of American Idiot. There is a small moment of rest bite once again during ‘Boulevard of Broken Dreams’ whilst Billie gets security over to another fan who’s gone down before the album play continues. 

There’s a final moment of euphoria during ‘Wake Me Up When September Ends’. Starting the song with a cover of The Beatles’ ‘In My Life’, the stadium fills with lights and harmony- surely to leave the magic of this moment engrained in everyones memories. The band then wrap the night up with ‘Whatsername’ and ‘Bobby Sox’ (my two favourite songs- so special thanks from me) before closing with ‘Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)’. 

Two and a half hours after they started the show, the stadium still remains packed with fans until the very last second. With 90% of the audience sporting a Dookie or American Idiot t-shirt, it’s obvious how much these albums have resonated with us all. As Billie sings the final lyric, “I hope you had the time of your life” fireworks fill the sky as confetti rains down. I think it’s obvious that all Green Day fans lucky enough to attend the closing night of their tour tonight have indeed just had ‘the time of their life…’

Setlist:

The American Dream Is Killing Me 
Burnout 
Having a Blast 
Chump 
Longview
Welcome to Paradise 
Pulling Teeth 
Basket Case 
She (with Jakob Danger) 
Sassafras Roots 
When I Come Around 
Coming Clean 
Emenius Sleepus 
In the End 
F.O.D.
All by Myself 
Know Your Enemy
Look Ma, No Brains! 
One Eyed Bastard 
Dilemma 
Minority 
Brain Stew 
American Idiot 
Jesus of Suburbia 
Holiday 
Boulevard of Broken Dreams 
Are We the Waiting 
St. Jimmy
Give Me Novacaine 
She’s A Rebel
Extraordinary Girl 
Letterbomb 
Wake Me Up When September Ends (with “In My Life” by The Beatles snippet in intro) 
Homecoming
Whatsername 
Bobby Sox 
Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)

Photo Credit: Greg Schneider (@paranoidtrooper)

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