The Coverups played two shows in London this year – one at the Garage and one at the legendary 100 Club. I was lucky enough to get tickets to both. Seeing Billie Joe and Jason White in iconic venues in my own country was an incredible experience, and I'm so excited to share my photos and recaps!

No-one expected two sneaky Coverups shows when Billie Joe posted a photo in a London pub. Then came a picture of the UK flag on The Coverups' Instagram page and, several hours later, a comment promising "more info 8AM Friday." While refreshing their Instagram page a few minutes before 8AM, a Ticketmaster link appeared. There was no time to think or take in that there would be two shows. The tickets were already on sale... and I'd forgotten my Ticketmaster login and had to change my password. After I refreshed a few times, though, I got tickets for the Garage for me and my mum (if you use GDC, you might know her as Rumpelstiltskin2000). When I was able to get a ticket for the 100 Club after a few more refreshes, I couldn't resist. It was actually quite easy to get tickets, especially for the Garage – there were still some available over five hours later.

Now we just had to wait! As the show got closer, however, my mum started to doubt whether she was healthy enough to make it, since she had an accident a few years ago and she's still struggling to walk. She eventually decided that she wasn't ready. I had no idea who to offer the ticket to – I needed to find someone willing to queue with me, but who? Then my mum saw a comment on a friend's post from Jen, a lovely lady who survived Hyde Park with us in 2017 and wasn't able to get Coverups tickets. It was perfect. She was even able to use the bus ticket to London that I booked for my mum.

So the day came, I tried and failed to nap in the break room at work, rushed to Nottingham to meet Jen when my shift ended, and we headed off to wait for the 1:25 AM Megabus. We didn't sleep on there either. Kind of difficult when you know you're on the way to an exciting gig. Feeling surprisingly awake, we jumped on a bus to Islington and finally arrived at the Garage. There was just one other fan there holding a spot for a friend, so we were #3 and #4 in the queue.

There was a rather ominous sign threatening to refuse entry to anyone queuing before 4PM. We sat outside the café on the other side of the road, nervously watching to see if anyone else arrived – and shivering, because it was bloody freezing out there – but a few hours passed before the next person showed up. I almost expected tents to be pitched when we got there, so that was a surprise. Two more arrived a bit later. One was from Budapest and the other had come all the way from New York! That's dedication.

Staff eventually arrived and told us to queue in the park behind the club until they put barriers up at 4PM, so we just hung around there. A few courier vans passed, including an Amazon Prime one, which we speculated was delivering Billie Joe since they do same day delivery. We were a bit bored, as you can probably tell. It was well into the afternoon by the time there were 30 people in the queue from all over the UK. We never heard the soundcheck, but when a few of us went back around the front to check nothing was happening with the queue, Billie Joe apparently walked in and we didn't even notice. Once the barriers went up, we could see a sign on the door that said 'The Coverups.' The letter board was also finally changed to announce the gig.

That hour before doors always feels like the longest hour ever when you've been queuing all day. 7PM passed. I think it was about 7:15 when the disabled line went in, and getting on for 7:30 when the main line finally moved. We were supposed to show our tickets and get our hands stamped at the box office window inside, but a few of us walked past it and had to backtrack. Then it seemed to take an eternity for security to search my bag. Fortunately, Jen was already on the barrier by then. After all those hours queuing in the cold, I was so relieved when my arms crashed onto the metal. We had the best spots we could have hoped for between Billie Joe and Jason.

I'd been told that Lovebreakers – the support act – were fantastic and yeah, they were really good. I could see some Green Day influence in the frontman's mannerisms and delivery. When he announced that the next song (Skyline) was about Birmingham, he got booed until he clarified that it's about Birmingham being shit. London approved of that. A few people pointed out that Billie Joe was watching from the steps. I felt a bit creepy looking but yeah, he was watching. They thanked the crowd as their set ended and then we were finally waiting for The Coverups.

They strolled onstage as casually as The Longshot did; so casually that some fans probably had to do a double-take to make sure they weren't imagining it. They opened with A Million Miles Away. The original is great, but it almost feels as much like a Longshot song as Knowledge feels like a Green Day song to me. The perfect opener for a covers set. I'd already dropped my phone and there was no way I could get down to grab it, so I just tried to forget about it. No photos or videos of my own from this show though.

Billie Joe introduced the band as the Coverups, explaining that they were going to do what they do at home and play covers. He encouraged us to dance and sing if we knew the words. This was a totally different side to him that I don't think we even saw as The Longshot. Other than a few moments when he posed like the rock star he usually is, he could have been any other frontman of any other random cover band – and what a privilege for the 600 people at the Garage to see that.

From what I've heard, the American crowds are quite chill. This crowd was already going wild by the second song, I Wanna Be Sedated by the Ramones. Naturally – no-one goes for it like us Brits do. The band hadn't been onstage long before a chant of "Billie! Billie! Billie fucking Joe!" started. Looking a bit embarrassed, he replied, "my mom didn't name me that." I don't think that many people knew the words to Ready Steady Go by Generation X, but they definitely went crazy dancing. We've had Billie Joe's No Fun Mondays cover of I Think We're Alone Now too, so that made hearing that song even more special. The crowd of 600 might have been 6,000 as we screamed 'I think we're alone now' back at the band. I'll always hear that whenever I listen to that song now.

Jason and Bill gradually got their own versions of the chant, too – "Jason! Jason! Jason fucking White! BIll! Bill! Bill fucking Schneider!" Although as Billie Joe noted, they're bigger mouthfuls than "Billie! Billie! Billie fucking Joe!"

There was a slight lull in Message of Love by the Pretenders, but the crowd exploded again as the band burst into Summer of '69 by Bryan Adams. What an anthem that is and it was incredible to hear Billie Joe and Jason performing it. It seemed so appropriate too, since I'm sure anyone with tickets to these shows had some of the best days of their lives at Green Day shows. Then Billie Joe said the next song was by the Nerves and I screamed because I knew it would be Walking Out on Love. The Coverups hadn't played it since 2019, so I wasn't expecting it. That's another one that almost feels like a Green Day or Longshot song after hearing Billie sing it so many times, and it was as exciting and passionate as ever. The crowd went even crazier to I Fought the Law and Dancing with Myself. In fact, they were so excited about Dancing with Myself that there was this collective English accent chanting the melody before Jason even started singing. Billie Joe then said, "shit, we didn't really rehearse this one, but fuck it," and I'm so glad he decided "fuck it," because it was Ever Fallen in Love by the Buzzcocks! I never thought I'd hear Billie Joe singing any of my favourite classic rock songs and especially not on a video, but in person.

I don't remember which song it was, but Billie Joe said "we're going to play a Prince song" and a cheer went up, then he clarified that he was joking, got booed and was like, "hey! What happened to Billie, Billie, Billie fucking Joe?"

The next song was I'm So Bored With the USA by The Clash. This was the first time the Coverups played it, although it wasn't a surprise since Billie Joe said "I'm so bored..." in his post hinting at the shows. Any band can guarantee that London will show up for a Clash song. Then came Ziggy Stardust. There's something haunting and special about hearing your favourite musician singing "but boy, could he play guitar." Jen and I kept looking at each other and beaming.

Billie Joe announced that there was a very special guest. We'd heard that Courtney Love was there, so it wasn't a massive surprise. She sang He's a Whore by Cheap Trick and Even the Losers by Tom Petty. Most other reviews talk about nothing but Courtney Love, so I'm not going to go on about it, but Jen took some fabulous photos including one of her if you want to see it:

Neat Neat Neat by the Damned was up next. The iconic bassline sounded incredible. Last Nite by the Strokes was fantastic as well. What a bop. I definitely wasn't the only one who didn't know the words to American Girl by Tom Petty, but it sounded good anyway. And then... I could see it on the setlist, but some songs were skipped or moved around, so I didn't want to get my hopes up. It turned out I could have safely hoped. Billie Joe announced "this song was done by a band called The Longshot." He did the marching-on-the-spot thing that he often did before playing this song as The Longshot. And then they played it: Love is for Losers.

I must have ruined the videos of everyone within a 10-metre radius. I screamed every word. So did almost everyone else in the club. Even though the reaction to Courtney Love was pretty raucous, it couldn't compete with the reaction to Love is for Losers. There were probably hundreds of people there who thought they'd never hear a Longshot song in person, and their dreams came true at that moment. Billie Joe "forgot" the lyrics "but we all got our delusions / say goodbye to an old flame" and sang "I'm feeling like a stranger / and I'm standing in the dark" again instead, but I don't think most people even noticed.

You can skip this paragraph if you don't care to hear me gushing about the lyrics to this song, but I don't think it's too off-topic, so here we go: "I searched the winter for the bride of Frankenstein" might be my favourite lyric about heartbreak, ever. Frankenstein's monster asked the doctor for a bride because he was so lonely and the doctor started the project, then abandoned it because he didn't want them to procreate. You can search the winter – where the doctor and his monster eventually died together – for her but you'll never find her, because she never existed, "but we all got our delusions." I actually have "I searched the winter for the bride of Frankenstein" tattooed. The whole song is one of my favourite songs of all time and oh my God, I can't believe I got to see it in England. I'm still so happy I could cry and I'm sure I'm not the only one. Thank you for making a dream come true for so many British fans, lads!

Fox on the Run by Sweet was next. I actually love the original, but I'm just going to be listening to the recording from this show now. Even as we could tell the set was winding down, the crowd went mad for Rockaway Beach, Should I Stay or Should I Go and Surrender with Courtney Love. We chanted "one more song" and the band returned to play Where Eagles Dare by Misfits. Then dull yellow light flooded the stage and techs started to carry instruments away. It was over. They played 24 songs in total, but it seemed so short. Good times always do. While Jen and I waited for our bus to make our way to Golder's Green, I video called my mum and gushed about the setlist in general, but then all I had to say was "LOVE IS FOR LOSERS!" That was what I posted on GDC, too.

My phone actually survived unscathed even though I must have jumped on it. I don't know how Jen and I didn't fall asleep on the National Express, but we didn't. I contemplated waiting for the first train home at 6AM when I arrived in Nottingham, but I thought about how I had to do it all over again in two days and called an Uber. I got one glorious night of sleep in my own bed before I rushed off to catch that 1:25AM Megabus again. I didn't sleep much, but apparently it was long enough for someone to nick the tote bag that I bought at my first Green Day show in 2009. Rude.

Arriving in London, I hurried off to catch a bus to the 100 Club. I walked straight past it at first. Then I backtracked and saw someone already standing there. He was holding a spot for a friend, so I was #3 again.

Someone else who was at the Garage show arrived. It didn't seem so cold at first, but when we ran out of things to talk about and just stood around in the doorway, we started feeling the chill. Then it started to rain. A couple of hours later, people started to arrive from all over Europe and the queue grew much faster than the Garage one, although I was the only British fan there for quite a while.

There were breaks from the rain, but every time it started again, it got worse. Of course, the staff – who were absolutely lovely – couldn't let us shelter in the doorway all day, and we eventually had to stand at the edge of the pavement. I seriously regretted forgetting an umbrella. Private security from the surrounding shops tried to move us on, but the 100 Club staff actually told them not to. Very rare to get that kind of service from venue staff these days.

A few rumours started swirling as the queue got longer: the special guest would be Tiffany, Tré was on his way, there might be another show on Saturday. The Tiffany rumour actually seemed credible. She was in the UK and due to play at the 100 Club in a few days.

I ended up being the 'number person' and also got the name 'green scarf queue lady.' I kept wandering down the queue to talk to people (shoutout to my fellow Brits who let me shelter under their umbrellas for a bit) since I was on my own at the front with others intermittently taking well-earned breaks, but I only actually left the queue for a couple of toilet breaks and a five-minute run to Sainsburys. By the time we got to 50 people and I managed to pass the marker (and responsibility) on, I'd been shivering in the rain for so long that I asked the fans behind me if they'd mind me going in the Miniso shop to warm up for a bit. Other people had the same idea. I don't think any of us actually intended to buy anything, but I got a cute glittery headband in there. After the disabled people went in, someone asked if I was at the very front of the queue and gave me a Coverups pin badge, which was sweet.

The staff weren't just lovely but efficient, too. They started letting the main line in a few minutes before 7:30 and searched my bag quickly. I hurried off down the stairs and into the basement and got the best spot still available, about two people to the left of Billie's mic.

It wasn't long until the front row was splayed on the amps and stage, but we were all smiling and laughing. The 100 Club felt like the legendary venue it is, and it was incredible to see Billie Joe and Jason White on that stage in my own country.

Billie Joe's reaction to an "I can sing Bowie" sign was "yeah, I can sing Bowie too" which was hilarious, but then he gave the fan a chance to sing anyway. In Should I Stay or Should I Go, an Italian fan, Maddelena, invited herself onstage and she was actually fantastic!

The special guest wasn't Tiffany but Courtney Love again. Her appearance was filmed professionally but no footage has been released yet.

The setlist was pretty similar overall, but they played slightly longer and Courtney Love sang Celebrity Skin with Billie Joe. Of course, my #1 highlight was Love is for Losers again, but Summer of '69 was a highlight, too. What an anthem.

I met countless people I'd met at previous shows – all over the world – on the way out. Reflecting on the tube to Golder's Green, I texted my mum and Jen to say that if I had to choose, the Garage show was my favourite, but they were both incredible and I was so glad I went. Gig photography gets very boring when you do it for a living, but of course I was super excited about this show and I loved taking all these photos. Billie Joe and Jason even reposted two of them.

Before I went to these shows, I didn't think I was that interested in the Coverups. Now I know exactly what all the fuss is about. They were fantastic – as any fan knows Billie Joe and Jason always are – and I'd totally recommend going to anyone who can. Thank you so much for bringing the show to London, lads!

Were you there too? Discuss the show with other fans on Green Day Community.

There are even more photos on the GDA Tumblr.
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