“Murder!” shouts Billie Joe Armstrong. “Desperation!…It’s like bullets…coming at you!” Maybe the illustrious frontman should actually be vocalising the infamous lyrics “I think I’m cracking up/ Am I just paranoid? Am I just stoned!” in lieu of spouting odd stoner sequences towards the beginning of the punk rockers’ set. “They’re getting in your head, man!” cries Armstrong before ‘Holiday‘ makes its play. Erm, what? Dressed as what appears to be Dennis the Menace (wonder if he knows?), there’s an unusually deranged quality to Green Day tonight that leaves the world’s most famous ‘punks’ somewhat lacking compared to previous tours. ‘Boulevard of Broken Dreams‘ is short, acoustic and frankly boring, but at least their popular, love-to-hate-it rock opera is markedly better than anything that spills out of the hatch of the ‘¡Uno!’, ‘¡Dos!’, and ‘¡Tré!’ albums.
Luckily, fortunately, bloody fantastically, Green Day have a trick to turn after the awfulness of ‘Let Yourself Go‘. To mark the 20th anniversary of ‘Dookie’– the band’s most bloody piss ‘n’ vinegar filled album- they are playing it in full. Oh yes. ‘Burnout‘, ‘Having A Blast‘ and ‘Chump‘ follow in quick, awe inspiring succession, to pockets of success. ‘Longview‘ with its jaunty bassline is a treat, while one lucky fan is pulled up on stage to sing the end and the start of ‘Welcome to Paradise‘. Many acts could not pull off such smooth crowd interaction, but Green Day are one of the few who do.
Two and a half hours is a long time for a festival headliner to cruise along for, but as soon as the Californian oldies move away from new material, it becomes not enough. ‘American Idiot‘ and then ‘Jesus of Suburbia‘ begin the encore, the latter in its full 9 minute or so glory showing all who thought they forgot the lyrics that they were still rattling round their brain. It’s a pity that ‘Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)‘ is the closer; who gives a damn once ‘Dookie’ has already been played in its entirety? With mixed success, Green Day manage to pull it back, proving they haven’t yet lost their status as a pro live band. Though with every new album and advancing of years, they move further away from being so.