Better late than never. It’s been almost three years since pop-punk idols Green Day, Fall Out Boy and Weezer announced their Hella Mega tour and, thanks to Covid-19, only now are the triumvirate hitting the UK. A crowd of 75,000 congregate under a pale grey sky to see the royal family of their genre in one spot, preceded by the Aussie pub rockers Amyl and the Sniffers.
Amy Taylor’s rabble aren’t used to the glitz of stadiums and are more suited to venues where their in-your-face rock’n’roll ragers can bounce off the walls until they boot you in the chest. Tonight’s immensity sadly swallows up much of that force, and the quartet’s gravelly melodies are nowhere near gigantic enough to compensate. At least their singer is as vivacious a leader as ever, exploring every inch of the enormous stage.
Promoting the ode to vintage hard rock that is 2021 album Van Weezer, Rivers Cuomo and company are unrecognisable. The frontman’s traded his geek chic for a Metallica T-shirt and dad-rock locks – appropriate given the drastically upped oomph Weezer are bringing this evening. A cover of Enter Sandman epitomises this newfound power, although the live environs also make classics like Say It Ain’t So and Beverly Hills hit harder and heavier than they ever have on record.
Fall Out Boy need to decide what their brand is. The Chicagoans have peddled gleefully tongue-in-cheek pop-punk (with increasing emphasis on the “pop” as their career’s progressed) since 2003. Yet, they seize their stage in front of an all-black backdrop, and the emergence of a haunted house drum riser for Dance, Dance implies an affinity for horror. Thnks fr th Mmrs, This Ain’t a Scene and My Songs Know What You Did in the Dark all reliably set the stadium aflutter, even if the numbers played in between can’t lift themselves above pop-punk archetypes.
American Idiot, Holiday, Know Your Enemy, Boulevard of Broken Dreams: Green Day commence with a tetralogy of their biggest hits, and an onslaught of pyrotechnics and crowd repartee only accentuates the excitement. As much as it’s a euphoric opening salvo, it also means that the Californians peak early. Their remaining 90 minutes are all diminishing returns and repeated tricks.
When Billie Joe Armstrong hauls a fan onstage to play guitar, barely an hour after doing the same for another to let them sing, there’s an inescapable sense of Groundhog Day tedium. It takes nothing less than Wake Me Up When September Ends, Jesus of Suburbia and Good Riddance (Time of Your Life) in sequence – the latter two endowed with enough fireworks to overstimulate a pyromaniac – to recapture the high of when this set first started. Nonetheless, Billie informs his rabid crowd: “It took us 1,000 days to get here, but we made it!” and the roars in return telegraph that many found this worth the wait.