Bbetter 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, it’s only now that the triumvirate are coming to the UK. A crowd of 75,000 gathers under pale gray skies to see the royal family of their kind in one place, preceded by Australian pub rockers Amyl and the Sniffers.
Amy Taylor’s populace aren’t used to the glitz of stadiums and are more suited to places where their full-face rock ‘n’ roll ragers can bounce off walls until they punch you in the chest. The vastness of tonight sadly swallows up much of that strength, and the quartet’s gritty melodies are nowhere near gigantic enough to compensate. At least their vocalist is as lively a frontman as ever, exploring every inch of the massive stage.
Promoting the ode to vintage hard rock that is the 2021 album Van Weezer, Rivers Cuomo and company are unrecognizable. The frontman traded his geek chic for a Metallica t-shirt and daddy-rock locks — which is fitting given the vastly improved punch Weezer is bringing tonight. A cover of Enter Sandman embodies this newfound power, though the live surroundings also make classics like Say It Ain’t So and Beverly Hills sound louder and heavier than they’ve ever been.
Fall Out Boy has to decide what his brand is. The Chicagoans have been happily peddling tongue-in-cheek pop-punk (increasingly emphasizing “pop” over the course of their careers) since 2003. Yet they take over 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 sent the stadium into a frenzy, even if the numbers played in between can’t rise above the archetypes pop punk.
American Idiot, Holiday, Know Your Enemy, Boulevard of Broken Dreams: Green Day kick off with a tetralogy of their greatest hits, and an onslaught of pyrotechnics and crowd repartee only heightens the excitement. While this is a euphoric opening salvo, it also means Californians are peaking early. Their remaining 90 minutes are all diminishing returns and repeat rounds.
When Billie Joe Armstrong carries a fan on stage to play guitar, barely an hour after doing the same only to have another let him sing, there’s an inevitable sense of Groundhog Day boredom. 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 featuring enough fireworks to overstimulate an arsonist – to find the top of the game again. beginning of this set. Nonetheless, Billie informs her rabid crowd, “It took us 1,000 days to get here, but we got there!” and the roars back telegraph that many have found it worth the wait.