Green Day rock the Brixton Academy and play Dookie in full
A Green Day concert is always a big rock party (ok, sometimes a bit of a circus too – Billie Joe is an American showman to the core and at times he sarcastically shows it off as much as he can) but tonight there’s the feeling that something special is going to happen in Brixton.
The band is getting closer to the 20th anniversary of their bestselling (over 20 million units) and most celebrated album, Dookie, and after some live testing back in May they’ve decided to play it in its entirety to their most hardcore fans. Yes, from Burnout to F.O.D., they play every single track of the record that changed modern punk music, going through the anthems Longview, Basket Case, She and When I Come Around.
Billie Joe loves Britain, and when he watches Brixton the crowd of 3,000 his eyes shine as if he is dreaming. “Will you be in Reading this weekend?” he asks, “I think here is better.”
It isn’t an all-Dookie evening though. The band kicks off with 99 Problems, the song from their latest release ¡Tré! that gives its name to their tour. Maybe on record it isn’t strong enough for a single, but live it’s the perfect opener to represent what Green Day are today. It’s followed by their last smash-hit Know Your Enemy that immediately sets the crowd on fire with a stage invasion from a young fan who even sings some lyrics before they let him stage dive.
Billie Joe seems to have two voices: an authentic punk-rock one and the cleaner, metallic timbre we all know him for. When he does the latter, it’s unbelievable, and we hear it for the first time on Stay the Night.
Jumping from one side of the stage to the other, Armstrong interacts with fans as he plays solo or sings without pausing for breath. He is a natural, the perfect frontman for this band and the music that they have defined. He might not be classy or have legendary moves but it’s hard to imagine someone with more energy for an entire two-hour set.
The concert goes on smoothly with hits off American Idiot such as Holiday, Boulevard of Broken Dreams and Wake Me Up When September Ends. It’s then that we are catapulted back to 1994 with the complete performance of Dookie – the ultimate gift for punk-rock aficionados.
However, the best is saved for last. After a transitory passage through Warning with Waiting and Minority, the band comes back onstage for the encore, playing their most successful hit ever, American Idiot. And it’s madness, pure madness. Right after that they perform fan-favourite Jesus of Suburbia and new ballad Brutal Love. And is it over? It looks like it, but as people are leaving the venue Billie Joe comes back with an acoustic guitar to play an emotional, stripped-back rendition of Good Riddance (Time of Your Life) – what a show.
Filippo L’Astorina, the Editor
Photos: Filippo L’Astorina
For further information about Green Day and future events visit here.
Watch a live performance of Jesus of Suburbia here: