Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Green Day @ Wembley Stadium

Going to Wembley for a concert always brings back memories of past glories. It seems like only yesterday that I sat there for Live Aid. What a day that was; 25 years ago. What a year. I think it was the same year that both Queen and Springsteen played there too. Or maybe that was the previous year… memory plays tricks, especially when recalled through a chemical haze…

I wish I had as happy memories of watching the England football team playing there. But that’s another story (and not for during a disappointing World Cup).

I’ve only ever been to Wembley as a ‘punter’. My mate, Graham, who joined me for this show as actually ‘played’ there. He was with ‘The Beatmasters’ (a dance music band who enjoyed a few late 1980’s hits) on a bill that included Bros. He’d never told me that before though I can’t think why …

It’s a great venue now. The acoustics are good. The facilities first class and even refreshments are reasonably priced.

I have to admit I was surprised that Green Day could sell out a stadium, but with a history stretching back to 1987 and covering some nine albums (65 million sales, 4 Grammies!); they have patently garnered a huge following. I’d not really been exposed to their brand of anthemic post- punk rock other than the recent ‘American Idiot’ album, but following the show I invested in their back catalogue (available for pennies through Zoverstocks) and have been pleasantly surprised.

Maybe I was influenced by singer Billie Joe Armstrong’s crowd-pleasing claim that ‘London is the World’s GREATEST rock n roll city’, (agreed!) and that British rock crowds ‘really get it’.

The problem when you are not familiar with any band’s material, especially when, like Green Day, much of it is formulaic, is that tracks do run into each other. Similarities submerge subtleties. Chopping chords and pounding beat hide melodies.

I couldn’t tell you what they played, I’m afraid, but with the average song running at about 3 minutes and a near 2-hour show, they must have played most of their canon. From the air punching, lip-syncing, shoulder-dipping, pogo-ing and general screams of the crowd, the boys done well as far as the true fans were concerned. If I had one major criticism it’d be that Armstrong overdid the obligatory ‘get-the-crowd-to-sing-alone’ routine. He was good though at bridging the potential stadium gap between fan and act by dragging folk onto the stage at regular intervals.

Graham left well before the end, excusing himself on the grounds that they were ‘not musical enough for me’. I lasted the pace as much because I enjoyed the crown watching as the pyrotechnics of the stage show. It was good to watch a powerful, crowd-pleasing, fluid and professional act at the top of their game. Maybe the England footie team should have been in attendance and learned something …

1 comment:

  1. As a true Green Day (and Billie Joe Armstrong) fan. I would have loved to have been there with you!