It’s always a special moment when an artist performs in their hometown but it’s even more special when they bring along some of their friends. Green Day returned to the Bay Area as part of the long-awaited Hella Mega Tour with Weezer, Fall Out Boy, and The Interrupters at Oracle Park in San Francisco and lived up to the hype and then some during the modern day version of a “monsters of rock” bill.
The Interrupters opened up the night to a stadium that was filling in rapidly and brought their fun bouncy ska punk sounds to the stage. The band was energetic and as lead singer Aimee Interrupter ran around the stage and up to the fans right from the start during songs like “A Friend Like Me” to their cover of “Bad Guy” (Billie Eilish) and “Gave You Everything,” the latter also included an interlude of “We’re Not Gonna Take It” by Twisted Sister. Capped off with their most recent radio hit, “She’s Kerosene”, The Interrupters were the perfect band to lead the festivities as Aimee Interrupter embodied the joy that everyone felt with being back in a live music setting, singing with a big wide smile throughout most of the set.
The field level of Oracle Park was already almost full when Weezer took the stage and started a tight one hour set filled with songs for every generation of Weezer fans. Decked out in an appropriate mullet and busy mustache as a nod to the 80s style “monsters of rock” band, lead singer Rivers Cuomo took to the stage with devil horn fingers in the air as the band proceeded to play “Hero”. The set was a mix of the greatest hits from their huge catalog appealing to those who grew up in the 90s/00s as they played songs like “Hash Pipe,” “Beverly Hills,” “Undone – The Sweater Song” while alternating with their most recent hits “All My Favorite Songs,” “All The Good Ones,” and “Feels Like Summer.” As all the other artists, Cuomo noted how the band loved being back in San Francisco and shouted out the city into many songs throughout the set. At one point, huge purple balloons were tossed into the crowd, while Weezer played “El Scorcho,” “Island in the Sun,” and their huge cover of Toto’s “Africa” that had the crowd singing along and waving their arms in the air while the sun started to set.
Night had begun to falland the stadium was nearly at capacity when Fall Out Boy took the stage and kicked off their set with “The Phoenix.” Apropos for the song, bassist Pete Wentz was equipped with a flamethrowner that was attached to his guitar and would spew out flames throughout the song. Following up with their huge breakout hit, “Sugar, We’re Goin Down,” Fall Out Boy had the crowd singing and dancing along with fists in the air. Within their one-hour slot, Fall Out Boy delivered the goods when it came to keeping the crowd engaged, tearing through “Uma Thurman,” “Dance, Dance,” and “This Ain’t a Scene, It’s an Arms Race”. It was mayhem when the band played “Centuries” and Wentz emerged from the darkness in a San Francisco Giants jersey while singing along.
It wasn’t long between sets until the main draw of the evening, Green Day took the stage blasting into “American Idiot,” the title track to arguably the biggest album of their career. Frontman Billie Joe Armstrong commanded the stage right from the start, shouting out San Francisco, Oakland and other Bay Area cities throughout the night, noting their indigenous ties to the Bay. There was definitely a sense of unity amongst the crowd who sang along to nearly every song of the set, especially during “Hitchin’ a Ride” and “Welcome to Paradise” that was accompanied by the band’s now familiar call for “hey-oh” chants. Something that was evident right from the get-go was the fact that the audience was comprised of fans that spanned multiple generations with not only young kids in attendance, but their older siblings and parents who all danced along and were seen singing right along to Green Day staples like “Longview” and “When I Come Around” but also to “Know Your Enemy,” and “Basketcase”. The East Bay natives put on a fun cover of “Rock and Roll All Nite” by KISS that had nearly everyone singing along and represented what everyone had been yearning for when the pandemic paused all live shows. Capped off with the epic “Jesus of Suburbia,” core Green Day members Billie Joe Armstrong, Mike Dirnt and Tre Cool were on point and were just as energetic as when they took the stage to close the main set. As is standard for Green Day shows, Armstrong took the stage for the final song to play “Good Riddance(Time of Your Life)” with just an acoustic guitar as cell phone lights illuminated Oracle Park and the audience singing along. A small fireworks show ended the night while the rest of the band came back out to take their bows.
The Hella Mega Tour not only provided the “comfort food” that many of us gravitate toward when it comes to music but the night also gave a much needed respite from the world’s current events. Every band gave something for everyone of all ages who came to see the hits, a unique bill that for a night, literally brought everyone together through the power of music.