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If you wanted a word to sum up modern day Green Day it would be ‘happy’. The band currently exudes a contentment in their live shows which has, since the release of Revolution Radio, kicked everything up a couple of gears. As a fan it is great to observe a band playing with such confidence. This joy was clear for all to see at the British Summer Time show at Hyde Park, a one-day festival of punk rock which was headlined by our favourite three piece in the midsummer sun.

That isn’t to say that anything has fundamentally changed - let’s be honest, you know what you are getting with a Green Day live show. The setlist could have largely been written by anyone who’s seen the band in the last decade (I was stunned to realise that they’ve been dragging kids out of the crowd to play Knowledge for almost twenty years - there will soon be whole families who played the song onstage as children). The difference is in the energy channelled into their performance and how the experience shared with the audience. There is no such thing as ‘going through the motions’ for these guys.

Billie Joe proceeded to jump around the stage with the energy of a man half his age, grinning with joy at his position in life, and not without a large deal of gratitude. Endlessly professing his love for England, it was fanservice of the most blatant kind, but who cares when everyone’s having such a ball?

Mike and Tre selflessly supported the frontman’s antics by maintaining a perfect rhythm as their colleague sprayed the crowd with water, fired t-shirts to luckily placed fans 100 feet away and maintained a call-and-response with 60,000 of the most devoted pilgrims you could imagine.

The show, a monster, meandering, 3 hour extravaganza threatened to roll off the rails on a handful of occasions, not least during the 15 minute King For A Day/Shout circus act, and it’s to the credit of Mike and Tre (and the supporting cast of additional musicians) that it doesn’t totally lose track on the back of Billie Joe’s exuberance, at-times overlong ‘Wey Oh’s and his limited but impassioned social/political rhetoric. They kept the train a rollin’ and the band as a whole juggled the twin responsibilities of rock concert and pantomime perfectly.

The songs chosen were a careful balance of trusted hits, new album cuts and the occasional surprise. Short of playing a Springsteen-esque five hour show comprising nothing but crowd requests, they are never going to please everyone. 2000 Light Years Away got a welcome airing amongst the live staples, suggesting that even Green Day appreciate that the nerd fans who could recite lyrics from even the most obscure unreleased b-sides remain an important part of the community.

On top of the classics, they threw in a load of new material too. Bang Bang ripped the show from the blocks and moved the entire field into vertical motion. It’s a perfect track to kick off a set and would be a welcome replacement for the comparatively pedestrian opener, Know Your Enemy. Revolution Radio, Youngblood and Still Breathing were met with a crowd singalong which showed that the new album has made quite the impression on the fans - something the trilogy failed to achieve. For the second encore, acoustic track Ordinary World slotted alongside 21 Guns and Good Riddance perfectly and fittingly capped the show off.

Any issues with the show fell at the feet of the organisers. Due to the proximity of Hyde Park to its local billionaire residents, restrictions on volume levels meant that I could almost drown out the sound of the band single-handedly when I started singing along, which nobody around me wanted. The views from anywhere but the front circle and the VIP sections left much to be desired, too. As general admission cost £70, when someone 6 feet tall has to get on tiptoes to see anything but the backdrop it’s hard not to feel slightly hard done by.

This is nitpicking though, as the band can entertain a 10 acre field full of strangers as well as anyone. Ultimately, if you’re given the opportunity to see the band on a sunny day in a beautiful venue with thousands of other like-minded people, you would be a fool to turn it down.

Written By Joseph Chapman for GDA

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