Live Review: Green Day – Hyde Park, London, 1 July 2017 by Mark Wong

Seven years ago I got the opportunity to see Green Day live at Wembley Stadium and it absolutely blew me away. Green Day will always be one of the most important bands in my life. Last year Amrita Garcha wrote a review on Green Day’s album American Idiot. It really drove the message home for me in terms of how important American Idiot’s role was for pop punk music in 2004. At the age of 15 I was still developing my obsession and appreciation for the rock genre and I remember the impact American Idiot made on me. It gave me an insight into the relentless nature of punk music.

Two songs are played before the band comes on. Green Day’s pink rabbit mascot comes on stage to dance during The Ramones’ Blitzkreig Bop in an attempt to warm up the crowd. After Ennio Morricone’s iconic theme from The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, Green Day are greeted by 60,000 screaming fans and open with Know Your Enemy.

Live Review: Green Day – Hyde Park, London, 1 July 2017

Despite being put off by how poor Hyde Park’s sound system was during Know Your Enemy, I’m reminded of how energetic Green Day are as a live act. One thing that Green Day shows are renowned for is the audience participation. They invite a fan up on stage and the reaction is beyond brilliant. He hugs lead vocalist/guitarist Billie Joe Armstrong and bassist Mike Dirnt while also giving a high five to drummer Tré Cool. He then makes his way back to Armstrong and kisses him! I don’t think I’ve ever seen someone show as much affection to another person in my entire life.

Green Day play a couple of songs from their new album Revolution Radio. In the last couple of years I haven’t been as invested in their music. However new songs such as Bang Bang see Green Day return back to their old school punk roots. During the bridge on Holiday, Armstrong holds up a Union Jack flag while commenting on the current state of American politics. He gets the audience to repeat “No racism, no sexism, no homophobia and no Donald Trump!”.

The set then kicks up a gear as Green Day play classic songs from albums such as Dookie, Warning and Nimrod. This segment of the set list is the reason why I’m here tonight. Funnily enough this is also the time when the sound system improved so in the end it worked out quite nicely! Legendary tunes such as Hitchin’ A Ride, When I Come Around, Welcome to Paradise, Minority and She took me on a nostalgic trip through my teenage years.

Songs like Longview will always hold a special place in my heart

Songs such as Longview will always hold a special place in my heart, as this was the first riff I ever learnt on a bass guitar. Basket Case is just as monumental as it was seven years ago when I last saw Green Day live. Basket Case goes down a treat as Armstrong encourages Hyde Park to sing back “Sometimes I give myself the creeps/Sometimes my mind plays tricks on me/It all keeps adding up/I think I’m cracking up”.

Green Day cover Operation Ivy’s (now known as Rancid) Knowledge. They invite a girl to come up on stage to play a simple three-chord progression on guitar. To make things even better Armstrong tells the fan that she can keep the guitar! Nicest. Guy. Ever.

The lively King For A Day sees Green Day wear costume props. Dirnt strangely wears a mask of himself and saxophone player Jason Freese dons an Egyptian headdress with gold shutter sunglasses. The band come to the end of King For A Day in which they then launch into a medley of well known songs comprising of Lulu’s Shout, Monty Python’s Life of Brian Always Look on the Bright Side of Life, The Undertones’ Teenage Kicks, Rolling Stones’ I Can’t Get No Satisfaction and The Beatles Hey Jude. Cool hilariously starts off this medley by taking the lead vocals for a couple of minutes. He kicks his legs high up in the air as if he was part of a cabaret. At one point I voluntarily took part in some dancing, running around in circles arm in arm with my fellow gig goers!

The encore starts with American Idiot. The themes that American Idiot encapsulates still remain relevant 13 years after it’s release due to political blunders that have occurred in the US since 2004. It’s hard not to sympathise with Armstrong when he yells “F*** Trump!”. Green Day manage to power through the nine minute epic Jesus of Suburbia. It’s actually crazy that they didn’t show any signs of tiredness considering they’re all in their mid 40’s.

The set ends with acoustic number Good Riddance (Time Of Your Life). It’s a bittersweet way to end the night as it strips away the ripping guitars and politically charged themes. There’s something so soothing about watching Armstrong jam out on his acoustic guitar while he sings about relationships gone awry. Despite taking me almost a decade to see Green Day again, they’re still the most energetic and entertaining band I’ve ever seen live.

Full Setlist from Green Day – Hyde Park, London, 1 July 2017

  1. Know Your Enemy
  2. Bang Bang
  3. Revolution Radio
  4. Holiday
  5. Letterbomb
  6. Boulevard of Broken Dreams
  7. Longview
  8. Youngblood
  9. 2000 Light Years Away
  10. Hitchin’ A Ride
  11. When I Come Around
  12. Welcome to Paradise
  13. Minority
  14. Are We the Waiting
  15. St. Jimmy
  16. Knowledge (Operation Ivy cover)
  17. Basket Case
  18. She
  19. King For A Day
  20. Shout / Always Look on the Bright Side of Life / Teenage Kicks / (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction / Hey Jude
  21. Still Breathing
  22. Forever Now

Encore from Green Day – Hyde Park, London, 1 July 2017

  1. American Idiot
  2. Jesus of Suburbia
Encore 2 from Green Day – Hyde Park, London, 1 July 2017
  1. Ordinary World
  2. 21 Guns (Acoustic)
  3. Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)