Wednesday, 6 January 2010

666 GREEN DAY, JIMMY EAT WORLD, Taking Back Sunday, Hard Fi, Milton Keynes Bowl, Sunday 19 June 2005

How appropriate that after 25 years of gigs following the Devil's music, No. 666 should be Green Day, the feisty bastions of punk recently "reborn" with their excellent "American Idiot" CD.
So, despite U2 at Twickenham yesterday, we were off again in scorching heat at midday, this time driving the whole distance and parking up in the Bowl car park "A" opposite the venue. So, into the huge grassed amphitheatre-type arena for 2.30, meeting up with friends at the top of the bank stage left, whiling away the afternoon chilling and catching some rays!

First band on, Hard Fi, finally joined us at 5 to a disproportionate welcome from the amazingly young crowd (whole families were here - this was a punk rock family day out!). Late replacements for Orange County identikit punks Simple Plan, Hard Fi peddled an innocuous Britpoppy noise out of kilter with the vibe of the day. Odd, but they still went down well. Taking Back Sunday, next up, also rocked the kids but their blend of shouty emo and spiky but samey punk failed to move me. No tunes to rub together!

However this accusation could never be levelled at Jimmy Eat World. We went onto the arena floor for their set - again, as per their Bristol set last week, Jim Adkins took the stage at 7.35 with the opening couplet of "Futures", but this time the band were straight on afterwards and straight into "Pain", then the awesome "Bleed American". The sound was a bit iffy for their set but this was only a minor detraction from another set of powerful, punchy and tuneful emo-punk pop-rock. JEW have raised their game considerably on this tour and now have consistency to add to their stunning tunes, "A Praise Chorus" was again a highlight, as was the Buffalo Tom-esque closer "Sweetness", before which Jim rallied the crowd by saying, "you guys really have no idea how badly Green Day are going to hand you your ass tonight!"

Meandered back a little to get a better view of Green Day via the big screens at the back and sides of the stage, as, pre-empted by the "Blitzkrieg Bop" drunken bunny and the "Nature Boy"/ moon landing theme again, Green Day took the stage. They were straight on it again, ripping into another vitriolic "American Idiot", Billie Joe Armstrong exhorting the crowd to sing, "so loud, every fucking redneck in America hears it!" They'd certainly have heard the climactic fireworks eruption at the end of this number - a great advantage to the outdoor venue!

A brilliant, sinewy "Jesus Of Suburbia" followed, sweeping through its 4 parts with gusto, the audience hanging onto Billie Joe's every movement. I know U2's Bono (whom we'd seen yesterday) has the reputation of being the ultimate audience mass communicator, but tonight Billie Joe held this audience in the palm of his hand, knocking Bono's performance yesterday into a cocked hat. All 65,000 of us were Billie Joe's bitches tonight!

The set followed the same pattern as their recent Cardiff gig - statement of intent powerfully made, then the cartoon punk rock fun and frolics. The "let's form a band" segment was particularly memorable, as Billie Joe dragged a 14 year old kid in identikit "mini-me" clobber up to play the guitar riff, before being given said guitar at the end! Their version of "Shout" was the only really unnecessary moment in an otherwise totally fat-free, brilliantly planned and expertly delivered set. Rat Scabies lookalike drummer Tre Cool, strong-arm bassist Mike Dirnt in his low-slung Johnny Ramone pose, and hyperactive centre of attention Billie Joe made for a stunning visual spectacle in themselves, never mind the frequent pyrotechnics!

After a near 2 hour set which simply ripped by, a strident, awe-inspiring "Homecoming" and a solo "Good Riddance", followed by the inevitable fireworks display into the inky sky, completed a quite remarkable resurrection for Green Day. On the strength of the last 2 nights' shows, the mantle of "Ultimate Stadium Band" may just have changed hands!

Note for future Bowl gigs though - parking in the car park was the right thing as they cordoned off the local streets afterwards, but getting along the A-roads back home was slow - not home till 2.15 a.m. D'oh!

No comments:

Post a Comment