Reading Festival 2013: Green Day
Anyone worried that the last 20 years could have diminished any of Green Day’s energy, irreverence and swagger would have been thoroughly reassured by their performance at Reading last night. They looked every bit the international rock stars they have become, striding onstage to the theme from The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, kitted out in leather jackets, metal studs and pin badges. In front of a backdrop that simply spelled their name in lights, they launched straight into 99 Revolutions.
Though the material from their recent, somewhat bloated triple disc ¡Uno!, ¡Dos!, ¡Tré! didn’t particularly resonate with the majority of the gathered crowd, they belted through it with gusto. Frontman Billie Joe Armstrong’s stage presence is undeniable, and the set was barely two songs old before he was wielding his guitar behind his back for a frenetic solo.
The more recognisable hits soon came, and when they did the fans gleefully responded. Holiday in particular had everyone launching themselves into the air, though one had the impression that the band may have somewhat overestimated the audience’s familiarity with their back catalogue. Obviously used to playing packed stadia lined with hardcore fans, performing to the comparatively mixed crowd of Reading provided a different challenge to the pop-punk three-piece.
Following their headline gig at the Brixton Academy, rumours were abounding that Green Day intended to play 1994’s seminal album Dookie from start to finish. These rumours were confirmed at the close of a spirited performance of Wake Me Up When September Ends, when a banner bearing the album’s artwork descended. Though a bold move and a fantastic piece of fan service, it proved to remove a degree of spontaneity from the show – unusually for Green Day. An album front-loaded with hits, the middle section let the pace to drop a fraction. A cover of AC/DC’s Highway to Hell allowed Armstrong to flex his vocal range, and his defiant wielding of first a water hose, then a toilet roll gun and finally a pneumatic cannon that launched T-shirts into the crowd could not help but bring a smile to everyone’s faces.
It is this irreverent anarchy that so endears Green Day to their fans, and the band will certainly come away from Reading having garnered many, many more.
Photo: Filippo L’Astorina
For further information and future events visit Green Day’s website here.
For further information about Reading Festival visit here.
Watch the video for Holiday here: