by / June 24th, 2010 /

Green Day / Paramore / Joan Jett & The Blackhearts – Marley Park, Dublin

In the end it took a man in a giant Scooby Doo suit to melt State’s heart. We’d approached Marley Park on a balmy summer’s evening, not with a spring in our step but more with realisation of what was ahead of us – an admittedly great band gurning their way through two and a half hours of crowd pleasing antics at the expense of their fine music. And then Scooby Doo appeared, hauled from the front row to jump around a bit, tie an Irish flag around his neck and then hurl himself back into the outstretched arms of the masses. You’d need to be a pretty cold hearted type not to let it raise a smile, and State is anything but.

Certainly not when it comes to Joan Jett & The Blackhearts, who we have fond memories of from our youth. Their appearance here tonight is certainly a surprise move but one that pays off, with a crowd young enough to be her offspring discovering that there was always a lot more to her career than that one hit. Quite possibly the coolest band on site, the likes of ‘Cherry Bomb’ and ‘Crimson & Clover’ have enough of a resonance in these days of The Gaslight Anthem and Hold Steady to suggest that, if the right people took up her cause, she could quite possibly find herself doing more than propping up bills like this.

Jett would certainly approve of Paramore‘s Hayley Williams, who has done much to carry her mantle into the 21st century. Sadly we like the idea of Paramore a touch more than the reality tonight, when they don’t really manage to connect beyond the bouncing front of the field. From where our aged limbs are standing, it all sounds a little like junior starter punk but we’re happy to come back and see them on their own terms in November.

And so to do Green Day. We’ve been here before, as recently as October at the O2 and little has changed. OK, nothing has changed. If we thought that knowing what was ahead would somehow soften the blow, we were wrong. Not even our friend dressed as a cartoon dog can disguise that this is the sight and sound of a band who – live at any rate – stagnated around eight years ago. The points we made here still stand but to recap, this is the equivalent of meeting Nelson Mandela and discovering he’s wearing a pair of fake breasts underneath his traditional robes. To see a band who managed not only to save their career but produce a work so complete as American Idiot still reduced to fooling around in women’s clothing while doing stupid covers is simply disheartening. For the record Billie Joe a lot of crowd participation, arm waving, drinks a pint of Guinness, drops his trousers, fires toilet rolls and T-shirts into the crowd and tells us that, just like Helsinki and Glasgow before, we are the best audience in the world. And the stuff from Dookie and American Idiot is great, the rest less so.

So maybe we are just cold hearted after all, not to be moved by such jollity. We expect this to be greeted by howls as to how this was the best night of many people’s lives, which it probably was. It is our job to see the bigger picture, though, and to wonder how this dichotomy between the two Green Days will manifest itself in the future. Having made a second rate attempt at their serious side on 21st Century Breakdown, they may need to go back to the drawing board. Please God let them do it without reaching for the dressing up box.

Photo: Sean Conroy
Paramore / Joan Jett photos here.
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  • I wasn’t there, but I have seen Green Day live half a dozen times and there are two points that pretty much sum it up: they’re always highly entertaining, and they’re always the same. Shame really, but not a shock.

  • michael feeney aka scooby doo

    I was there, I was scooby doo =] brilliant show, they never cease to amaze

  • We salute you sir, our favourite bit of the night.

  • Wayne

    was there and it was epic cant wait for paramore in november :):):):):):):):):):):)

  • Marky

    I was there and as one of the old school GD fans I thought they mixed the old and new stuff up really well. Probably not as good a show as Wembley stadium last Saturday – I was there too – but the set was equally a long and wasn’t exactly the same so they didn’t skimp because of a lesser venue.

    well its kinna funny that you say the stuff from Dookie & American Idiot is great but the rest not so good…typical really of a so called “music critic” who hasn’t fully studied his subject( I’d say thats obviously the only 2 albums you know!!). I suppose you thought 2000 light years was stale aswell – even though it was on their 1st album!!! so don’t talk Crap about “seeing the bigger picture”!!.

    I will admit some of the set hasn’t changed in the last 5 years and they the messing around can get a bit much but they do redeem themselves by launching into more famaliar territories in spectacular fashion after the messing is done with!!I think their live show and stage presence has certainly improved since their early days and you certainly don’t win 2 Grammys by stagnating for 8 years!!!

  • I’m sorry Marky, but I feel the need to defend Phil here. I am a big Green Day fan, but there’s no arguing that American Idiot and Dookie (along with Nimrod, perhaps, though personally I have a big soft spot for Warning) are their strongest albums. Most FANS would agree with that, it’s hardly unique to critics. In fact, judging by their set list, it’s clear that Green Day know that, too. If you look at both this and Phil’s previous review you can see that he clearly knows Green Day’s content inside out, saying he only knows the two albums is very selective reading on your part. This review and his earlier one mention almost every other album.

    The reality is Green Day are just getting dull. We had the same discussion last time out and no doubt it happened the time before. There’s no denying that they’re very entertaining, but they’re also very, very contrived. there’s nothing new and original about their show, and having first seen them nearly a decade ago, very, very little has changed since then, even in some ways in terms of the set list. Like I said, I wasn’t there but I didn’t need to be to know what their performance would be like. In fact, I could have written this review based on my previous experiences – everything bar the odd song anyway and the scooby reference anyway. I’d recommend them to anyone the first time or the second time. I’m on half a dozen times, and I’d no longer pay more than a few euro to see them, as it’s painfully, painfully predictable.

  • Marky

    well I do take your point about Green Days shows being predictable though saying that the “Dookie and American Idiot stuff was good and the rest was poor” in my view is selective listening and not showing the “bigger picture”!

    I guess if you’ve got a formula and it works then if its not broke don’t fix it. I mean if you went to see any band a number of times in quick sucession you would almost definitely say the same thing..that their set, stage antics are the same. I guess GD do need to freshen things up as the routine is getting a little predictable though they have amassed a whole new fanbase from their albums/tours. I just think that people slag GD off because they are an easy target. I mean you felt the need to leave a comment here and you weren’t even at the show! nuff said

  • Phil

    Paramore are amazing band who never fail to get their audience electrified and involved.
    Just sayin’

  • Daire Tully

    Was there best concert i’ve ever been to was in the pits and thought green day were highly entertaining and sang their best songs they even surprised the crowd with a song from kerplunk I wouldve gone to see the same concert again severel times

  • laura

    i was there and it was such an amazing show, green day were insanely awesome as always! i gotta say i love their crowd interaction and it keeps me interested. when i saw kings of leon i was so excited and impressed at how good they were live but their lack of interaction soon led me to become bored. the crowd at marlay was actually pretty disappointing and i could see billie was trying everything to get the crowd pumped. anyway i love green day and really don’t care if their show is repetitive as most bands are because they follow a setlist. can’t wait to see them again and i hope they don’t forget the ‘the dressing up box’.