Review: Green Day opens the whole bag of tricks in Groningen (concert)

On the day the farmers hit the road, the Hella Mega Tour descends on the sunny Stadspark in Groningen. A hell of a feast: Weezer and Fall Out Boy in the support act of the absolute headliner Green Day. The tour that was big announced in 2019, with promised new work, was watered down by a two-year delay. That doesn’t spoil the fun: these bands have already earned their spurs and will survive a crisis.

Photography Anieck van Maaren

As if taking care of three bands isn’t enough Amyl and the Sniffers the kick-off. Earlier than early, with a blazing sun on the crack, for the early birds which the protesting peasants were able to bypass. Rough and punky. The fact that the field is not yet full does not seem to bother the Australians. The first official shaft door Weezer is then not to be missed. The six bass drums on stage, decorated with baby orange-green-pink Marshall amps, spell out the band’s name. Will we be presented with a bombastic Weezer? No, that wouldn’t be Des Weezers. Weezer is doing great in Groningen what it has been doing for years, being itself, thanks to the finely idiosyncratic Rivers Cuomo. He is also proficient in his languages ​​and we get a fairly accentless ‘We love you, see you next time!’, followed by Buddy Holly, fin.

Dan Fall Out Boy with its medley of punk, rock and pop, only the best can turn those ingredients into a tasty Long Island Ice Tea. But what are we looking at? On screen, an old actor whom no one knows tells us a story, followed by an animation of what appears to be a burned-out planet – beautiful but, eh? The animation takes us to a universe; are we looking for a new planet to destroy?

The music of Fall Out Boy is not urgent, really meant for teenage bedrooms. The moshpit is an entry-level model, one that you can confidently send your teenager into. But honesty begs to say; neither expense nor effort are spared. The overall production is barely passable for the effort and creativity that went into it – Pete Wentz’ bass guitar is a real flamethrower, cool! The decor is changed and damn, the piano of frontman Stump is in the hands, fat.

It’s waiting for Green Day† The mother of all songs Bohemian Rhapsody blares through the City Park and what is that? The band’s well-known withered pet – a pink rabbit – stumbles onto the stage. The hare may be intoxicated, but he senses perfectly well that we are not yet optimally warm to the punk rock trio. Hey, there they are! American Idiot pops directly from the speakers, exactly the turbo injection that the diesels need. We’re going straight with Holiday in Know Your Enemy† Tricks are there not to be forgotten: guitar behind the head, Billie Joe Armstrong smoothly plays the audience in an experienced-unexperienced way.

A trio has long since ceased to exist, but the three protagonists stand their ground. Mike Dirnt – pointed as ever – proves he’s a living bass legend; everything is tight, confident and with an eager grimace that even the biggest bully in the mosh pit can’t pull off. At the other end of the spectrum, a meager ten meters away, Tré Cool sits nervously on his throne. Another trick from the Green Day bag of tricks: Phoebe (did I hear her name correctly?) can go on stage. The young lady, and now artist-to-be, hugs Armstrong lovingly, gets a guitar around her neck and lives the dream of every pseudo-musician present: playing in front of a packed festival site. Her smile is one for eternity. Armstrong orders her to do another stage dive, the landing is soft.

The show is a chain clash of strong punk rock classics: When I Come Around, Holiday, Hitchin’ A Ride, Longview, Basket Case and so on are expertly strung together. For the OGs there is a present in the form of 2000 Light Years Away (1991). To say Green Day is more than a bunch of punk rock bangers is an understatement. With real party anthems Minority in King For A Day even the stiff jeans-with-business-shirt wearing VVD fathers see themselves on the TV screens as pogoing teenagers. Armstrong tears with Wake Me Up When September Ends (Be sure to check out the live version in which Armstrong tells Howard Stern about the emotional song). With this versatile arsenal, Green Day has twice earned its entry into the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame (2015).

The extras also get a small spotlight moment, saxophonist Jason Freese grabs it with both hands and puts Careless Whisper in. Laughing and swooning, we swallow it like sweet cake on an empty stomach. Armstrong appeals to his inner Freddy Mercury with a ‘hee hoo!’ Forgive the comparison, but with the turnout music in mind, the comparison is easily made. Night falls and everyone knows: it’s time for the most beautiful concert closing: Good Riddance† We say goodbye to Green Day and the Hella Mega Tour with full gusto, which proves that there is still plenty of life in the punk rock of a good twenty years.

Seen: Hella Mega Tour, June 22, 2022, Groningen City Park