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- Wembley Arena, London »
- Green Day »
Punk bands rarely last beyond one album and some pub gigs. Green Day, along with The Offspring, however, are survivors. Although they made their best album years ago (1994's _Dookie_), their ability to work variations around the punk blue print has ensured that new fans keep coming whilst the old ones don't leave. It's no more apparent when, three songs in, they pound through 'Basket Case', only to seemlessly follow up with the quirky Levellers** tinged 'Minority'.
The songs, however, are not the focus of tonight's show. All the hits are played, of course, and everyone sings along. It is the experience that Green Day really excel at. It is official that punk kids are more fun than metal kids. What other crowd would accept the warm up DJs last three tracks, Bikini Kill's** 'Rebel Girl', 'YMCA', and 'Blitzkrieg Bop'? They whoop, they cheer, and they do the YMCA arm dance. Then the band come on, Billie Joe in his regulation black shirt and skinny tie whilst the other two dress like aging antipodean backpackers. We get call and response, we get flames jetting out from the stage, we get three backdrop changes, we get trumpet players dressed as chickens and Mexicans, we even get a glitter fan for the finale. Halfway through Billie climbs up the side of the seated gallery and throws himself off into the crowd after security make a half hearted attempt to stop him.
Next the legendary Green Day event takes place. One by one, the band pick kids from the crowd to play their instruments. Eventually we have three skinny boys thumping through three chords. The boy playing guitar gets to keep the instrument, but only if he stage dives. This being Wembley Arena, it is a daring challenge, the stage being separated from the crowd by some three or four metres. But he's up for it and takes his lemming-like plunge into the crowd as the security flailing around beneath him breathe a sigh of relief.
Closing with a solo strum through 'Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)', the lighters are out and the mission is complete. Green Day's** appeal may be waning in the face of characterless powerpop from the likes of Blink182 and New Found Glory, but provided they ride out the storm they could be doing tours like this for a long time to come.
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