From the moment a packed Sheffield Arena sang along to Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody 10 minutes before Green Day were due on stage you knew it was going to be a good night.
And so it proved as the veteran Californian punk-rock trio put on a show which will live long in the memory.
Frontman Bille Joe Armstrong was a ball of uncontrollable energy as he ran, danced and jumped his way back and forth across the stage for nearly two-and-a-half hours, ably assisted by bassist Mike Dirnt, drummer Tré Cool and a trio of backing musicians, including former official member Jason White.
The band opened the show with Know Your Enemy, which ended when a member of the crowd was invited onto stage to – impressively it has to be said – sing the last verse, before encouraged to stage dive into the heaving masses.
It was a trick the band would pull again during Longview, the band’s first single back in 1994.
And they later invited a member of the crowd to come on stage to play guitar with them – allowing the lucky performer, the second chosen, to keep the instrument after the first person to try had to be escorted off stage by security when Billie Joe said he was unimpressed with his efforts.
In between – and during – songs, Billie Joe, showing what a great frontman he is, was constantly interacting with the crowd, urging arms in the air, to sing back, sing along and, after labelling them as “addictive as heroin”, urging fans to put phones away and “live in the moment”, rather than recording it to watch later.
Songs from the new album Revolution Radio included Bang Bang and Still Breathing, as well as the title track, while tracks from American Idiot – the 2004 album which earned the band superstardom – included Letterbomb, St Jimmy and hit singles Holiday and Boulevard of Broken Dreams.
There was even plenty to please the pre-American Idiot “old skool Green Day fans” with Basket Case – the band’s first UK top-10 hit, some 23 years ago – as well as When I Come Around and Welcome to Paradise, where Billie Joe messed up the last verse, much to the amusement of his band mates,
The 45-year-old frontman, clearly enjoying himself, even calling it one of his “favourite ever shows”, constantly urged Sheffield and England to “go crazy”, before being taught Yorkshire would go down better than England in the Steel City, even if it took him a few attempts to understand what the crowd were shouting back to him.
Highlights were many and often, including drummer Tré high-kicking his way across stage while Billie Joe was at the drums and a stunning medley of covers featuring Shout, Teenage Kicks, Always Look on the Bright Side of Life, (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction and the anthemic singalong Hey Jude – performed by the band laying down on stage.
Backed by indoor fireworks and flames, the band ended with Forever Now and a final shout of Yorkshire down the mic from Billie Joe, before an encore featuring a huge singalong of American Idiot and Jesus of Suburbia.
Billie Joe was then left alone on stage with just an acoustic guitar for 21 Guns and, to close the show, Good Riddance (Time of Your Life), where Mike and Tre joined him on stage for the final bars to take one final bow in front of the adoiring crowds.
In truth, after such a raucous energetic show it was an unusually low-key way to finish, but the performance and song – with the chorus “It’s something unpredictable, but in the end is right,
I hope you had the time of your life” – meant it worked perfectly.