Green Day @ Shepherd’s Bush Empire 23rd August 2012

Seeing huge bands in small venues is something that rarely happens. So when images showing the 2012 European tour surfaced it left plenty of fans speculating. The tour T Shirt which went on sale to coincide with the start of the tour showed a list of cities which accounted for the places that they would play. It appeared that the list was in order as Tokyo and Osaka were the opening two dates on the ¡Uno!, ¡Dos!, ¡Tre! tour. Plus it corresponded with what had already been announced. The T Shirt also listed both London, England and Reading, England. People then assumed that something was going to happen over here and they were absolutely right. Although it hadn’t officially been confirmed the Reading appearance was a given after Billie Joe left an Instagram message saying “Hello England, What rhymes with shredding”. That then left the business of the London appearance and people finally got the news on Monday afternoon. The club show would take place on Thursday 23rd August at Shepherd’s Bush Empire with tickets going on sale the following day. The fact the venue only has a capacity of 2000 people made the prospect of getting tickets very competitive indeed. So the day came and it came as no surprise that the tickets (which went on sale at noon) sold out in minutes. Thankfully my sister and I were all sorted for what was set to be an incredible night. Cue excitement. The show had no support and it was set to be 2 whole hours of Green Day.

Fast forward to Thursday. The day was upon us. Doors which were supposed to open at 7pm opened half hour late. My sister and I were very fortunate to get 2nd row which was incredible considering this was set to be way better than Wembley Stadium (not saying I thought bad of that gig. It’s just the fact this one was rather intimate). Were we chose to stand was on the far left because I thought being away from dead centre you wouldn’t get crushed as much.

“Hello everybody. Bad news. Billie Joe’s got laryngitis. But I’m here” Tre Cool said when he made his entrance onto the stage with a guitar in his hand. Things started with the short song All By Myself which appeared as a hidden track on Dookie. This was a short little ditty which showcased Tre’s singing abilities. Being the drummer there isn’t many songs that Tre has been the lead on. In the background Billie Joe was on the drums. “Ladies and Gentlemen, Tre” Billie Joe said before the next song of the set and this being Welcome To Paradise. This song featured on Dookie and just hearing it live was outstanding. A lot of power flowed from it plus it was infectious and it was delivered at a furious pace. Welcome To Paradise had some really impressive guitar riffs and it was a right crowd pleaser. In fact the crowd were only starting to get warmed up. “This next song’s called Burnout, lets go” Armstrong then said immediately. Burnout again featured on Dookie and it is a song that I really love. For starters it was up tempo and secondly the verses/ chorus were both contagious. “Get those hands up in the air. Are you ready Shepherd’s Bush?” Billie Joe said when the band started to play Know Your Enemy. This crowd most certainly were participating with the hey ohs during this song. One lucky fan was then hoisted onto the stage and shared vocals with Billie Joe . The guy then took a run up and jumped, then crowd surfed. Know Your Enemy was delivered strongly and it was an excellent performance of the song. “Hello London. How are you tonight? It’s a nice intimate gathering here with Green Day. This is a brand new song” Billie Joe said before giving us the first taste of material from upcoming album ¡Uno! And this being Nuclear Family. This song makes me want 25th September to come now. Nuclear Family was a steady paced infectious rocking song. Also there was some rather impressive guitar solos. “It’s so nice to see people singing along before the album comes out” Armstrong said during Stay The Night. This is the 2nd song off the album ¡Uno! It was very energetic and it went down well with the packed crowd. Even though this was a rock song the verses and chorus I found to be rather beautiful. It was then onto a taster from ¡Dos! Which will be released in December. The number being Stop When The Red Lights Flash. This track was infused with the ending of Stay The Night. I actually found it to be rather energetic but it didn’t captivate me as it was the 1st time I had heard it. I am guessing Stop When The Red Lights Flash is a grower and I for one cannot wait to hear the studio version. Oh Love then followed on and this being the most recent single by the band. This was a mid tempo rock song which was simply incredible. Its lyrics were tremendous and it was delivered to perfection. ¡Dos! track Lady Cobra was next and this song was extremely short and powerful. They blitzed through this rocking tune at ease. Again this is another grower and it sounded so different from material that featured on 21st Century Breakdown. It was then straight onto the singable Holiday which was taken from the album American Idiot. The verses and chorus were delivered strongly. During it Billie Joe picked out a fans inflatable Union Jack guitar and started to play it. I liked the middle 8 when Armstrong said “The representative of England” which was packed with plenty of power. Letterbomb was next and I really adored its verses which resulted in lots of people singing along. It was in fact the 1st time I witnessed it live. Letterbomb was a up tempo tune which sounded completely flawless. It was plain to see that this was a fan favourite. “For some reason I keep on forgetting these songs. A few shows is all we’ve done. So if you can help me remember the lyrics. Especially with this one, I have no idea why” Armstrong said before getting stuck into Boulevard Of Broken Dreams. He needn’t of worried because 2000 fans were singing along to every word of this amazing number. The first part started acoustic with just guitar then the 2nd half that is when the drums joined in. Nimrod track Hitchin’ A Ride was next to be played. I really liked the riffs throughout this song which gave the it that extra edge. “We’re all here for this 1 night only. Last chance, last dance tonight” Billie Joe then said before interacting with some fans in front of him. I really liked the lyrics of this tune. Armstrong also showed off his new dance “Oh sh*t, I just tired myself out”. It was then onto something special and this being 2,000 Light Years Away. This was delivered at a fast pace and it was a real pleasure just to hear it play live. “Do you know how to play Pasalacqua on guitar? You swear to god? Do you really?” Armstrong said to a fan in the crowd. This fan had a sign saying he could play Going To Pasalacqua. He was then taken over the barrier and hoisted onto the stage, then hugged Billie Joe. The lucky fan in question being Ryan Timms who played the Blue (Billie Joe’s guitar) superbly while Armstrong sang this brilliant tune. The first few chords of Brain Stew were played and Ryan then left the stage. Once he had left (Ryan had wanted to dive into the crowd but didn’t) the band then launched into a heavy Brain Stew which was a hit with the crowd. Its lyrics were top notch. Armstrong then left the stage and returned with a super soaker. He then sprayed everyone at the front with water. This was actually a really good idea as it was basically like a furnace. I was literally dripping with sweat. Once he had run out of water he returned with something that fired toilet paper into the crowd. “This is how I roll” he then went onto say. The song which followed was the pacey St Jimmy. This was rather energetic and the crowd went wild for it. Infused to the ending of St Jimmy was Give Me Novacaine. This is the closest you would get to a rock ballad style Green Day song. I found it to be gentle and the verses were soft. Everyone was waving their arms from side to side Where as on the album American Idiot the song which follows after is She’s A Rebel. But at this gig what followed was When I Come Around. Billie Joe Armstrong wrote the song after breaking up with his girlfriend, Adrienne Nesser (whom he later married). Now this is one of my many favourite Green Day songs. I adored the lyrics which are straight to the point and you can clearly picture what is happening in your head. She then followed on and this was yet again another sing along. One line “Scream at me until my ears bleed” was rather fitting because when the night was over and being by the speakers I had a ringing in my ears which lasted until the next day. Basket Case was next and this was a firm favourite. I adore this song. Firstly it was delivered at a fast pace and secondly it is extremely infectious. You are compelled to sing along to it which everyone did.

King For A Day was a nice jolly song. Towards the end Jason Freese did a saxophone solo and he played the Benny Hill tune. This then resulted in everyone running around Billy Hill style. After they romped through the rest of this number. Once over Billie Joe handed the microphone to Tre Cool who came to the front of the stage to start off this Shout melody. While Armstrong played the drums. When Tre sang a couple of lines he performed high kicks. After plenty of fan persuasion both Mike Dirnt and Jason White sang some lines as well. It was then back to a medley which Billie Joe sang lying on the floor. This medley consisted of Teenage Kicks, We Are Young, Stand By Me, We Are Young, Hey Jude (which got booed) and then We Are Young for the final time. Once this mash up of these songs were over, Armstrong then went onto sing the end of this cover. Another major sing along followed and this was for the closing number Minority. This song was the perfect way to end. Everyone clapped along plus it was a real crowd pleaser. Towards the end Billie Joe showed off his harmonica playing skills. Once over the band went off stage only to return minutes for the encore. American Idiot was the 1st song of the encore. It also saw a wall of death. There was complete pandemonium when this song was played and everyone was singing this along to this powerful number. “Thanks a lot for coming out tonight you guys. We will be back for a full UK tour. I’ll tell you that right now” Armstrong said before ending with 99 Revolutions which appears on the 3rd album of their trilogy and this being Tre. 99 Revolutions gets me excited about these 3 albums. The melody was up tempo and the lyrics fitted perfectly to it. It was strange that they didn’t end with Good Riddance but I wasn’t complaining as this new song was outstanding. The rest of the crowd enjoyed it as well.

SET LIST

All By Myself
Welcome To Paradise
Burnout
Know Your Enemy
Nuclear Family
Stay The Night
Stop When The Red Lights Flash
Oh Love
Lady Cobra
Holiday
Letterbomb
Boulevard Of Broken Dreams
Hitchin’ A Ride
2,000 Light Years Away
Going To Pasalacqua
Brain Stew
St Jimmy
Give Me Novacaine
When I Come Around
She
Basketcase
King For A Day / Shout
Minority

ENCORE

American Idiot
99 Revolutions

OVERALL: It still hasn’t really sunk in that I was 1 of 2000 lucky fans to witness this outstanding gig. I have been a fan of the group for a long while yet this was the 3rd time I have seen them live. I went to the Wembley Stadium date in 2010 and this performance literally blew that out of the water. Shepherd’s Bush had been stripped down though and what I mean by that is the fact you obviously didn’t have all the pyrotechnics.

I attended this gig with my sister and we were extremely fortunate to find ourselves at the barrier (well 2nd row in fact). The set that was performed was truly epic. Even though they had the set lists taped to the floor they didn’t keep to them as they added more songs. The crowd were extremely buoyant and they all were up for a god time and that is what Green Day delivered. I have been to lots of gigs in the past but this easily tops all of them.

The new songs were incredible and it was an honour to hear them performed live. I also liked that fact they sang tunes from the last 2 albums of the forthcoming trilogy. It was the first time I had heard these songs and I was left impressed and anticipating the albums being released.

The fact that they performed a career spanning set was literally mind blowing. Green Day rattled through 26 songs within the space of 2 hours and Billie Joe had the crowd in the palm of his hand. Everyone was singing along to every single lyric and the atmosphere was rather intense. Also there were crowd surfers, crushing, fainters and a wall of death. Thankfully I wasn’t crushed, just a little bit squashed. With everything being tight in the crowd this made it extremely hot. I was sweating buckets and by the end of the evening my T Shirt was soaked through.

All in all this was one phenomenal evening which I will never forget. It is a shame that they placed a ban on filming as I would of liked to have something to look back on. But aside from that I had a good time and it just feels all surreal.

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One Comment Add yours

  1. Ryan Timms says:

    Awesome review, can you please email me any photos you took? I’m Ryan btw, and still yet to find any pictures of me on stage with the band(!)

    ryantimms@hotmail.co.uk

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