Pumpehuset, Copenhagen, DEN - 13/3
Green DayPrevious Next
support The Interrupters
author PP date 28/01/17 venue Malmö Arena, Malmö, SWE
After the catastrophic triple album pancake of "¡Uno! ", "¡Dos!", "¡Tré!", Green Day are looking for a triumphant return to relevance with the release of a new album and a massive world tour that has them playing Swedish cities twice within a six month period. The first one has them playing in our neighboring city at Malmö Arena, a multi-purpose venue that is primarily known as the home arena for the Malmö Redhawks hockey team. Almost 15.500 tickets have been sold for a near-sold out concert on a Saturday night at a venue renowned for having great sound (compared to other similarly sized venues at least), so the stage should be set for an awesome show, especially with the upbeat skasters The Interrupters opening the festivities.
So imagine if you had Rancid opening for Green Day, only fronted by a feisty female vocalist who echoes the attitude and spirit of Brody Dalle from The Distillers. That's The Interrupters in a nutshell. With two albums underneath their belt, the band specializes in infectiously catchy, attitude-driven ska punk that, in theory, should get the crowd dancing and skanking straight away in mirror image of the band on stage. The Green Day floor audience, mostly consisting of youngsters, doesn't seem to know the band at all so the reception is limited (the early 19:00 start to a half-empty arena certainly doesn't help), but that doesn't matter. The Interrupters are having fun on stage, letting us know how big of a deal this is for them as they a small band from Los Angeles and not accustomed to playing huge arenas like this, yet showing prowess in handling a big crowd anyway. At one point, they ask for the house lights to be turned on and proceed to arrange for a huge wave going around the arena for shits and giggles. Funny stuff, but the focus is on their excellent songs that perhaps went a little over the heads of the audience tonight, but will sound perfect in smaller venues.
How do you make 1h40 minute's worth of songs last two and a half hours? The answer: a shit ton of crowd control. Although a little more refined than in the past, the vast majority of the Green Day concert tonight is spent either steamrolling old songs into failed arena ballads or at gimmicks like getting fans on stage for various purposes. But that's okay, that has been the Green Day show for more than a decade now, so anyone expecting anything else just hasn't done their research. Tonight, the festivities get started in the usual lighthearted style with the Green Day bunny on stage dancing to intro tracks "Bohemian Rhapsody" and "Blitzkrieg Pop" with funny gesturing and falling all over the place.
With high-powered explosives that literally sound like a couple of bombs just went off, the curtain drops and the band kicks straight into "Know Your Enemy", which turns out to be an extended version where a fangirl is randomly picked and brought onto the stage from the crowd to sing a verse at the center walkway. She does a surprisingly authentic job before stage diving into the crowd. "Bang Bang" follows straight after with massive flamethrowers going off in all directions, showcasing some rather impressive pyro effects that continue into "Revolution Radio" as the band seems dead set on focusing on "American Idiot" and beyond material in the beginning. Here, the band's on-stage energy is infectious that rubs onto the crowd even if the sing-alongs aren't particularly thunderous just yet. "Holiday" and "Letterbomb" continue the arena-sized songwriting on display with plenty of crowd control built into the songs. We're talking one side singing woohoo and then the other side, et cetera. More annoying that necessary but hey, that's Green Day's live performances for you. "Boulevard Of Broken Dreams" finalizes the first third of the concert with a massive sing-along where the arena lights are dimmed to a minimum to allow thousands upon thousands of phone flashlights and lighters waving across the venue - an impressive sight actually.
From here onwards, the setlist looked awesome pre-concert looking at previous nights and indeed it doesn't disappoint. The pointless backup singers disappear from the stage and the band is distilled to its core quartet formation for "Longview", which is partially ruined by Billie Joe Armstrong 'forgetting' the lyrics to the song and having another 'fan' come on stage to sing them. Both are in quotation marks because the entire scene feels totally choreographed and there's just no way the fan would've been able to time the jumps and the dancing moves like that with the band without prior rehearsal. A brief visit to the new album with "Youngblood" and then we're back to old school Green Day. "2000 Light Years Away" from 1991 sounds awesome, but "Nimrod" classic "Hitchin' A Ride" feels again rather lackluster due to the unnecessary crowd control segments that make the three-minute song feel like a six minute one for no particular reason. But perhaps there's a reason for spicing up the songs like this. "Burnout", which is one of the band's absolute classics from the "Dookie"-era, is played without any additional tricks and production measures but comes across kind of flat. Maybe because it was never written to be played at arena stages? Either way, it exposes bare the problem with having to fit these types of punk rock songs onto scenes this size comfortably.
Prior to that moment, "When I Come Around" is a huge hit in the crowd, as is "Waiting" and a semi-acoustic rendition of "Christie Road" that is partially played with Billie Joe Armstrong sitting by the drum platform stairs. And as you can see from the setlist, the content is pretty amazing. The harmonica-fueled "Scattered" is a bonus, and "Minority" has the floor jumping up and down like on a trampoline. As usual, a girl is brought on stage to play the Operation Ivy cover "Knowledge", and "Basket Case" erupts the venue into an echoing sing along session, before "She" and "King For A Day" (with Billie Joe Armstrong wearing a Swedish flag) wrap up the awesome part of the setlist for good. Who could complain? We've gone through the classics from "Dookie" and "Nimrod" with a few other oldies sandwiched in between. It's hard to fuck that up.
What follows then is a completely pointless medley of "Shout / (I Can't Get No) Satisfaction / Always Look on the Bright Side of Life / Hey Jude", followed by two weaker "Revolution Radio" tracks before it's time for the encore. At this point, we're pretty much satisfied about the show overall, but we all know "American Idiot" and "Jesus Of Suburbia" are still coming, followed by "Ordinary World" and the confetti rain of "Good Riddance (Time Of Your Life)" as the last song. They don't change the impression much, which is roughly summarized by a solid arena rock show. Loads of explosions, pyro effects, crowd control and the like. Lots of gimmicks and people onstage to help them sing and play the songs. That's enough to woo some of the younger audience members but yours truly is still left unimpressed comparing shows like this to shows by, say, Bad Religion who just focus on playing songs rather than artificially inflating their sets. Think about those extra 10 more songs that could've been played if we cut out all the fluff in between. But for an arena show, Green Day deliver exactly as expected, entertainment of full money's worth for the masses. No complaints aside from the jaded personal opinion of this writer, but also no truly unforgettable moments to report back on.
- 1. Know Your Enemy
- 2. Bang Bang
- 3. Revolution Radio
- 4. Holiday
- 5. Letterbomb
- 6. Boulevard of Broken Dreams
- 7. Longview
- 8. Youngblood
- 9. 2000 Light Years Away
- 10. Hitchin' a Ride
- 11. When I Come Around
- 12. Waiting
- 13. Christie Road
- 14. Burnout
- 15. Scattered
- 16. Minority
- 17. Are We the Waiting
- 18. St. Jimmy
- 19. Knowledge (Operation Ivy cover)
- 20. Basket Case
- 21. She
- 22. King for a Day
- 23. Shout / (I Can't Get No) Satisfaction / Always Look on the Bright Side of Life / Hey Jude
- 24. Still Breathing
- 25. Forever Now
- 26. American Idiot
- 27. Jesus of Suburbia
- --Encore 2--
- 28. Ordinary World
- 29. Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)
No photographer was available for the show, all photos were taken with phone camera, apologies for the quality.