Green Day at the Royal Hospital Kilmainham on June 29, 2017
Even on the gloomiest of days, IMMA at Royal Hospital Kilmainham is a stunning spot. Thursday night saw the grounds play host to Green Day for their first Irish date since they headlined Marley Park in 2010.
A band with this much cross-generational nostalgic capital is a rarity, and even the millennials feel a little wistful making their way in. Punk has fallen by the wayside of late, with the defining attitudes of the genre becoming more and more mainstream. These days it’s hardly alternative to rally against the establishment and openly criticise political structures, though it’s damn fun to gather at a gig where the band has been doing it for a while now. Though their most recent albums may have been a bit lackluster, their live shows certainly display why Green Day are still the biggest punk band in the world.
The setlist was expansive to say the least. Know Your Enemy opens matters with a bang, getting the Dublin crowd on board right away with a stock anthem that’s never going to miss the mark in a live setting. Such is the theme of the evening. As though when considering the setlist the band actively asked themselves which tracks would hit the hardest, only waning on a couple of occasions with the inclusion of newer material.
‘American Idiot’ enjoys the most stage time, with Holiday, and Boulevard of Broken Dreams highlighting the first portion of the set. As politically outraged as ever, the band’s energy is infectious from the get go, though not managing to settle into a comfortable rapport with the audience until around a third of the way through, when When I Come Around and Minority receive a deafening response from the crowd. It was then that Billie Joe Armstrong settles and starts to enjoy himself, calling us all ‘a bunch of sinners’ before amping things up with a welcome ‘American Idiot’ heavy portion of the set.
Are We The Waiting and St Jimmy are fiercely received, and Billie’s Joe’s interaction with the crowd becomes more inclusive. Between affording an entire verse of the former to a guy in the front row – who absolutely nails it, it has to be said – and sending a 14 year old budding musician home with her very own guitar, the expansive space gradually grew more intimate, and the fans more involved.
A strange medley of Careless Whisper / Shout / Always Look on the Bright Side of Life / (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction / Teenage Kicks and Hey Jude (really) remains a mystery. With no real need to break out every anthem in popular music to keep the crowd on board, the section feels a little cheap. Still Breathing and Forever Now from ‘Revolution Radio’ manage to keep fans of the new records happy, but the rest talk among themselves – probably wondering aloud as to why Hey Jude just happened.
The first encore takes off with the explosive American Idiot, with both band and crowd enjoying the opportunity to scream lyrics like ‘the subliminal mind-fuck America’. How punk. The highlight of the entire night follows, with the expansive concept anthem Jesus of Suburbia played in full, with not a note out of place. Ordinary World and a charming acoustic rendition of 21 Guns opened the second encore, before Billie Joe closed the evening with Good Riddance, an acoustic guitar, and enough nostalgia to power a Delorean.
It’s clear that Green Day, veterans of rock at this stage, are complete professionals. From one end of the expansive two and a half hour set to the next, not a note falls out of place. When you’ve toured for as long as these guys have you’d be forgiven for going through the motions, but Green Day are as excited by performing live these days as they ever were. A perfect concoction of professionalism and charm, they’re a band that fans of live music should aim to see at least once in their life.