Green Day live in Manchester: an emphatic celebration of two timeless albums

June 21, Emirates Old Trafford: The ‘Saviors’ tour touches down in the UK as punk rock’s top dogs flex their muscles – playing ‘Dookie’ and ‘American Idiot’ in full

Fourteen years on since hosting one of their first UK stadium shows, Manchester’s Old Trafford Cricket Ground is once again gearing up to welcome Green Day. Their last touring run this side of the Atlantic was their outrageous 2022 ‘Hella Mega Tour’ with Fall Out Boy and Weezer, and they’ve somehow found a springboard to go one step further: celebrating 30 years of ‘Dookie’ and 20 of ‘American Idiot’ by playing both albums in full. Fair game, Billie Joe Armstrong – there’s not a soul in this stadium who won’t welcome tonight’s trip down memory lane.

Nostalgia doesn’t define this Green Day gig, however. It’s also a first outing for January’s album ‘Saviors’ – deemed by NME their best since ‘American Idiot’ – and lead single ‘The American Dream Is Killing Me’ ushers in the 37-song set, after the customary intro run of ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’, ‘Blitzkrieg Bop’, ‘We Will Rock You’ – et cetera. Traditions might be upheld, but there’s enough fresh material and stage production to remind the masses that this is a newly crafted Green Day live show.

On the right side of the fine line between corny and masterful, a gigantic curtain of fire blows up on stage, recreating the iconic ‘Dookie’ artwork as the trio power through their breakout album. Underpinned by a sense of urgency, ‘Burnout’ and ‘When I Come Around’ sound particularly slick, whilst ‘Basket Case’ sends Old Trafford into pandemonium for the first time.

Billie Joe Armstrong of Green Day performing in Manchester on the Saviors tour
Billie Joe Armstrong of Green Day performing in Manchester on the ‘Saviors’ tour. Credit: Greg Schneider/Supplied


As the sun battles the Manchester drizzle, the emergence of a double rainbow only ups the majesty of this occasion. By the time we reach ‘American Idiot’, Armstrong has hit red-hot form, and the volume seems to have been cranked up a notch. There’s no room for ‘21 Guns’ on this setlist, but the emotional potency of ‘Boulevard Of Broken Dreams’ feels magnified.

The screen illuminates with purples and pinks as the band rattle through ‘Saviors’ material playing the material like it’s already classic. ‘One Eyed Bastard’ – effectively P!nk’s ‘So What’ with added distortion – is especially raucous. Staying invigorated after three decades is no mean feat, but Green Day make it look effortless.

With Foo Fighters, Pearl Jam, The Smashing Pumpkins and Weezer all playing UK shows over the month, it’s an understatement to say rock fans are spoilt for choice. The pick of the bunch, however, might just be Green Day’s ‘Saviors’ tour: combining class, youthfulness and scruffy punk anthems into a trademark stadium-rock event.


Green Day played:

‘The American Dream Is Killing Me’
‘Having A Blast’
‘Welcome To Paradise’
‘Pulling Teeth’
‘Basket Case’
‘Sassafras Roots’
‘When I Come Around’
‘Coming Clean’
‘Emenius Sleepus’
‘In the End’
‘All by Myself’
‘Know Your Enemy’
‘Look Ma, No Brains!’
‘One Eyed Bastard’
‘Brain Stew’
‘American Idiot’
‘Jesus of Suburbia’
‘Boulevard of Broken Dreams’
‘Are We The Waiting’
‘St. Jimmy’
‘Give Me Novocaine’
‘She’s a Rebel’
‘Extraordinary Girl’
‘Wake Me Up When September Ends’
‘Bobby Sox’
‘Good Riddance (Time Of Your Life)’

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