Green Day/Prima Donna - Birmingham, LG Arena - 28th October 2009 Print E-mail
Written by Darrel Sutton & Dom Daley   
Tuesday, 03 November 2009 19:59

pd_gd_europe09_smallAs Green Day will point out later in their show, they've been going for 21 years now and it's fair to say that this show is about as far from their punk rock roots as you can get.  Welcome to the Green Day show - part rock show, part pantomime, part rugby club end-of-season show. 

But before all that, I check my watch. It's 6.45 and I'm in my seat waiting with some anticipation for a support band who have not been far from my iPod or stereo for the past twelve months, ever since I got the album 'After Hours', in fact. What a stonking album. But who are the band, you might ask? Well, Prima Donna is their name and in frontman Kevin Tyler Preston they have an absolute diamond at the helm. He cavorted, posed and led the audience like the Pied Piper dressed in a rather fetching 3/4 leopard skin jacket, drainpipe trews and nice pointy boots. I kid you not when I say that these boys have 'IT', let me tell you! Nah, they don't just have 'IT', they own it! 

As cool as a polar bear sitting on a Fox's glacier mint and with songs that swagger and strut prima_donna_1across the stage like they own the damn place, from set opener 'Soul Stripper' to closer 'I Don't Want You To Love Me', I've just witnessed another awesome band. There might be nothing new on offer here but who gives a shit when the songs are as good as this. There's a dash of the Dolls, a sprinkle of Iggy and his Stooges, a tiny splash of The Damned and Mott The Hoople as well as the spirit of Hanoi - you know where these guys are hanging out. Preston prowls the stage like a freakin' caged lion who ain't been fed, spilling out killer lines and licks like "Shuuug, I'm afraid this is the end. Life moves real fast when you're a wild youngblood" - By curumbo, Kevin Preston means it. These bad boys deserve to be on the cover of every magazine. This singer is da bomb, a superstar with the X factor, not those Saturday night puppets. KTP is the real deal; 'Soul Stripper', 'Stray Doll', 'Demoted', 'Miss Avenue', 'Dummy Luv' and 'Double prima_donna_2Crosser' are all strewn out across the LG Arena like some tart's boudoir.  Prima Donna have just come in and done the biz and, to top it all off they're gonna waltz right back again come February so all you dudes make sure you keep that month clear in your rock n roll diaries. My new favourite band will be back snakin' round the UK like they're 007. They might not want you to love them but I think it's too late; I abso-fuckin-lutely do, yeah! And tonight the LG is Owned. FACT!


And so to Green Day. Let's get a few facts straight from the off. The show is absolutely spectacular, with lights, graphics and pyro to match absolutely anyone. The set contains over 90% of what any fan wants to hear, barring "first two album hardcore purists". The musicianship (particularly Tre Cool's drumming which has always been top notch) is utterly faultless. But, and it's a big one, the showmanship really is overplayed. Every song seems to be elongated by a singalong, an "AYE-O" or some fucking thing. At times you just wanted them to blast through a song as is, no fucking about, but fancy dress, audience members onstage (don't worry, nothing so punk rock as a stage invasion, just a couple of 10 year olds brought up for a ruse) or another fucking "AYE-O" seemed to get in the way.


I know if you're paying circa £40 for a ticket you want a show but, come on. OK, now my GD_1chest's clear, onto the good stuff, lest we forget that Green Day have made some cracking tunes over the years. Tonight we got big chunks of the last two albums '21st Century Breakdown' and 'American Idiot' for the first hour. Kicking off with the prior's title track, we also get 'Jesus Of Suburbia' and 'Know Your Enemy' amongst others before they get a bit old-ish school on us and pull out 'Basket Case', 'When I Come Around', 'Brain Stew', 'Welcome To Paradise', 'Geek Stink Breath', 'She' and 'Longview'. Then it's a few more newies before the end of the set proper. Oh, they also threw in few fuck-about titbits of 'Paranoid', 'Highway To Hell', 'Iron Man', 'Master Of Puppets' and 'Shout'. 


Anyway, the kiddies cried out for more and got 'American Idiot' and 'Minority' before a final segment which probably highlighted their distance from their "snotty nosed 3-piece ripping it up in Gilman St" origins more than anything -  Billy Joe performing solo acoustic renditions of four songs starting with 'Macy's Day Parade' and culminating in the vomit-inducingly sickly 'Good Riddance (Time Of Our Lives)'.


They're still a damn good band (come on, any band's allowed to change, and you can't deny they can still write a song or two) but fuck me they've really lost sight of what a rock show should be about. The only thing missing was Timmy Fucking Mallett (they did play the Benny Hill theme for fuck's sake though). They could have fitted their set into an hour and a half instead of the two and a half hours it did take. If they did manage that in the future I'd go and see it, however I think this might just be my last Green Day pantomime. Shame, but the fear of hearing one more "AYE-O" might drive me to fucking murder.