Thursday, 9 September 2010

366 GREEN DAY, D-Generation, London Brixton Academy, Saturday 31 January 1998

We set off for this one at 1/4 to 3, so had a quick detour over to Camden with the boys (Ady and Rich), before getting over to Brixton at 6.15. Had something to eat and a couple of drinks, as the queue for this sell-out show stretched around the block (!), so we didn't get in until 8.15, still managing to secure good unreserved circle seats, stage left. So we had a very good view for support D-Generation, who were US trad punk - a bit like the Ramones, Black Flag, etc.- 10 years too late and not too bright, really.

The place erupted at 9.15 for the appearance of the Green Day boys, though; bounding onstage to the entrance music of Devo's excellent "Whip It", and bursting into their MTV-friendly 90's punk rock set with a vengeance. Well-known numbers such as "Welcome To Paradise" and "Geek Stink Breath" were tossed in early on, as Billie Joe Armstrong, a superb charismatic nutcase frontman, led the band through some serious ramalama punk rock riffery, and turned the crowd downstairs into a dervish moshpit. Feet were duly tapped on the balcony, too, although due to heavy-handed security, we couldn't go much further than that. It's a rock gig, we want to dance, you fascists!

Anyway, on the dancefloor, audience participation was the order of the day; Billie Joe exhorting the mosh to shout, "Fuck Off!" at us balcony lot, and for us to reply, "You Suck!"; the band dragging a 16 year old out of the mosh to play guitar, then releasing him to dive back in during the entrance to the splendid "Basketcase"; and Billie Joe putting on dozens of t-shirts chucked onstage. Following a cacophonic ending to encore "When I Come Around" (wherein both drumkit and speaker stack were trashed, rock'n'roll style), Billie Joe ended with a solo rendition of current single "Time of Your Life". We did, thanks. Tremendous entertainment; a superb gig!

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