It is 10:45am on Saturday morning, the second day of the Reading Festival, and the rumour has been spreading throughout the camping grounds about a surprise show by Green Day, one of the biggest punk rock bands in the world today. However little is known about when or where the show is, all that we have to go on is that the band’s recently released tour t-shirts say ‘Reading’ on them, so I’m staying on my toes and I’m ready for some news.
Fifteen minutes later I hear the opening riff to ‘Welcome To Paradise’ on the wind and instantly shoot on to my feet following the sound to try and find the source, it is coming from the NME/BBC Radio 1tent and by the time I get there I have already missed their opening song and ‘Murder City’, but have arrived just in time to catch ‘Know Your Enemy’, the people inside the tent should count themselves lucky, because security had to fence off the area to stop crowd problems.
Once the song has ended, front man, Billie Joe Armstrong, explains to the crowd “we’ve only got one hour, but I have a feeling we’re going to go over”, he is answered by screams from the crowd, and knowing what the audience want, the band, completed by Mike Dirnt on bass and Tre Cool on drums, jump right in to a new song called ‘Stay The Night’, which although new to the audience goes down well as everyone is jumping around to the three-rock-riffery of this legendary band. They then play their recently released single, ‘Oh Love’, which many of the fans here clearly know the lyrics to now.
One of the great things about seeing a Green Day show is that they are one of the best live bands, the trio know how to get the crowd going, and give them what they want to enjoy themselves. All the way through Billie Joe is making the crowd chant and sing and it feels very much like their Bullet In A Bible live show in 2005.
Earlier in the week Billie Joe said “it would be funny if we played our entire Dookie (1994) album”, although they did not deliver with playing through their best album, they did give the crowd a fair few of the tracks such as: Burnout, Longview and Basketcase. Amongst the Green Day classics, which, whether the crowd know them or not, go down a treat, they also blast out the tracks that have made them in to stadium megastars: Holiday, Letterbomb and St. Jimmy. All these songs get a tremendous sing-a-long from the audience.
The opening riff of American Idiot comes in and gets everyone off of their feet and singing to the sound of the song which gave Green Day their new image, a Broadway show and a record which sold over 14 million copies. However halfway through the breakdown of the song a stage hand comes on and tries to drag the singer off stage, telling him that their time was up. Billie Joe’s act of pushing him away and carrying on playing is greeted by cheers from the crowd.
However it seems that their set does have to be cut short as they start playing the opening chords of ‘Boulevard Of Broken Dreams’ and then cut off saying that they don’t have much time left, although the fans are not happy about this, their frowns are soon turned in to smiles as the band play ‘Minority’, creating one of the biggest sing-a-longs of the show.
Green Day sign off the show, not with the usual fan favourite, Good Riddance, but with ‘SHE’, an unreleased, but largely popular among fans, song from their ‘Dookie’ album. Although some in the crowd may think it was a bad way to end, not with one of their most famous songs, I though that was a great way to finish their set and I am sure I was not the only one.
At the start of this gig, just over an hour ago, Billie Joe screamed “we’re going to give you everything we’ve fucking got”, and the band did not disappoint, as in one part he brought out a toilet paper gun and a water pistol, it was a show worth running in the hot sunshine to get to and I am proud to say that I was there…a great way to start the second day of the Reading Festival.
Welcome To Paradise
Know Your Enemy
Stay The Night
Hitchin’ A Ride
Watch: Bullet In A Bible Live CD/DVD