Sunday, 27 June 2010

Green Day, Wembley Stadium

Well, it took a whole 24 hours to sink in. At times I could hardly believe that since buying my tickets in November, the time was finally here, and this wonderful band were standing in front of me, doing their thing which they do so amazingly well. The Idiot Club members were posting their arrival times to the site and checking in with each other, saying how close to the front they were and happily chatting about having their tickets to the golden circle. Knowing that I can't stand for that long, we arrived in the queue at about 2pm (for a 4.30 door opening) and were easily able to choose front row seats instead.

Support was provided from Frank Turner, who was clearly having an amazing time on stage, giving it the full 'Hello, Wembley!!!' treatment and rocking out with his band.
Main support was Joan Jett and the Blackhearts, who I was only familiar with for two of her songs, 'I Love Rock n Roll' and the fabulous 'Bad Reputation'. I thought she was absolutely brilliant, clearly the band had been doing this for a long time, they were incredibly tight, and as the stadium filled out, she got the audience prepped for the main act. I'm not sure GD could have picked a better support.

Rolling on to a couple of minutes to 8, out came the drunken bunny and the whole of the stadium got on their feet and joined in with YMCA. At bang on 8, the bunny wandered off, the intro to 21st Century Breakdown started, and Tre Cool came storming down the runway to huge cheers before launching his drumsticks back towards his kit. Billie Joe Armstrong didn't need to tell everyone to get up, we already were, although he did anyway. And so started a fantastic, storming, almost 3 hour long set, played at super speed and covering a huge amount of songs from the very early to the most recent. Fans were brought up on stage to join in with songs, super soakers and to stage dive. And you couldn't help but feel that for the band, this might just be a little bit special too... Billie Joe describing it as the 'Biggest show of our F***ing lives'.

Favourite parts for me was the whole audience singing along to Hey Jude, and even better, a whole verse of Boulevard of Broken Dreams - this being my first time at Wembley Stadium, this just made the whole evening amazing, the sound of that many voices, all beautifully clear and reverberating around the stadium. Billie Joe got to his knees, head to the floor and arms behind his back, Tre came out from behind the drums to listen and Mike held his fist to his heart. It sounded amazing from my seats, I can't even imagine how it was from the stage.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3rh0fQxZVK8
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7P9cAD3QO54

Tre Cool swapped places with Billie Joe to sing Dominated Love Slave, and both Tre and Mike had fun with Shout, kicking their legs up in the air and having a whale of a time - this is a band who knows how to make their shows fun, there are plenty of pyrotechnics - I could feel the heat from halfway back in the stadium, and couldn't help but squeal like a big wussy girl every time one of the big bangs happened, even when I remembered there was one coming. There was also plenty of funky camera stuff on the big screens. They are masters at totally engaging with the audience, although I always have the feeling that a huge amount of planning is there in the background as the various changeovers are so smooth. There wasn't a huge amount of change to the setlist from the October show last year, but that was to be expected really, these guys always seem to be on the road doing what they love. Their voices are as perfect live as they are on the studio recording.

Being fairly new to the whole Green Day experience, I'd had time to go back to the older songs and get familiar with them, and I enjoyed the gig a lot more for this. I loved that whole families seemed to have turned out for the event, the kids and their parents enjoying it in equal amounts, and you can't help but feel that Green Day actually give a stuff about their fans - the tickets aren't ridiculously expensive as for many shows these days, there are many benefits for the true fans - golden circle for those arriving early, plus early entry giveaways for fan club members, t-shirts fired into the crowd through the gig...these guys make an effort to engage with people as much as possible and the audience get to sing along and join in at many points in the gig. This time, '21 Guns' got an amazing reception, and as part of the encore, we also got to hear the new song 'When It's Time', which was spine tingling.

It's impossible to describe how amazing it was, but here are some of my favourite videos of the show from youtube:
American Idiot (look out for the wall of death!)
Second Encore - Billie Joe signing off / When it's Time / Wake Me Up When September Ends / Good Riddance
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zGgqsbKA1pA

As my friends who were in the mosh pit commented - Green Day set the bar so high for all other gigs, especially with the Wembley show. I just hope there's a DVD of the show in the pipeline. It's going to take a lot to beat these guys, they sure know how to Rock and Roll.

See the setlist on NME here.

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