GREEN DAY, O2 Arena – Evening Standard, 9 Feb 2017

It was reassuring to find that Green Day are the same as ever on stage given everything else that has been going on with the California punk veterans. In the years since their last album (albums, actually – an indulgent three released almost simultaneously in 2012) there have been cancer battles, the trio have been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and happy-go-lucky bandleader Billie Joe Armstrong has been admitted into rehab.

Never mind what has been going on in the US generally – their 2004 song American Idiot, originally inspired by George W Bush, has a new orange focal point. “Fuck Donald Trump!” Armstrong yelled during that number.

But while the songs on their latest album, Revolution Radio, mix the political and the personal – Troubled Times had a clear broad theme, whereas Still Breathing concerned the benefits of one singer remaining alive – this concert was more likely to trigger a smile than an uprising. Hearts melted at the sight of Armstrong inviting a fan with a disability on stage to play along with their Operation Ivy cover, Knowledge, then gifting her his guitar. There were T-shirt cannons, water pistols, fireballs and singalongs ranging from Shout to Hey Jude.

Energy levels remained stratospheric until closing acoustic renditions of Ordinary World and Good Riddance (Time of Your Life). Armstrong conducted the audience like a master. “I’ve been in this band my whole life,” the 44-year-old said, while brandishing a guitar that his mum bought him aged 10. He’s had enough practice that whatever the situation in the world or at home, his band can continue to mix anger and escapism with energy to spare.


British Summer Time, July 1, Hyde Park, W1 (08448 24 48 24,