Photos: Hella Mega Tour
One song into their headline set and Green Day’s Billie Joe Armstrong yells, “We’ve been waiting so long to be together. Now, is our opportunity for all of us to be together! We get to scream together; we get to dance together!” And that’s exactly what happened. As the monster alt-rock event of the summer, the Hella Mega tour, hit historic Crew Stadium for a massive night of oh-hey-I-know-that-song sing-along anthems.
The tour, featuring co-headlining slots from the ever-changing Rivers Cuomo and Weezer, naughties pyro fans Fall Out Boy and evergreen pop-punk rock ‘n rollers, Green Day, kicked off last month after a year-long delay. Los Angeles ska punks The Interrupters opened the show during the early evening hours and sadly I wasn’t able to make it to see their set.
First up on the main bill came Weezer, a band I’ve covered a few times before and as a member of the everything-sucks-since-Pinkerton club, I have to say this: Stadium era Weezer is the best Weezer. Yeah it feels weird saying that, but after years of Rivers telling the world he doesn’t give a damn about what people think it all kinda makes sense, as the geeky frontman, sporting a look that every ’80s nerd secretly wishes they could pull off, looked totally at home on the big stage, ripping through several new cuts and the classics with the freedom and delight of someone a fraction of his age. It was infectious. I’m listening to Weezer while writing this.
Then came Fall Out Boy, a band that really loves fire, and has a bunch of songs you already know but didn’t know they were by Fall Out Boy. Or maybe that was just me? Anyway, the Chicago band came out strong and never let up with a stadium-ready set of massive choruses that had the packed crowd up off their seats and punching the air. And they say rock music is dead?
And finally, on came Green Day, a band that hit stadium-level success so long ago that even they seem to have forgotten the records that followed. Not that anyone is going to complain about hearing cuts from the hit-factory releases of “Dookie” and “American Idiot” as the band rolled back the years for a non-stop ride through power-chord punk classics and punch-along favourites. One new song did manage to worm its way into the set with the feel good “Pollyanna” but it was the ’90s radio hits that had the crowd in a frenzy.
The band closed out the show with prom classic “Good Riddance” and fireworks that capped off a fantastic evening that made us all remember how much we’ve missed the company of like-minded strangers and the bonding, life-affirming energy that only live music can give us.
We’ve waited so long to be together. Let’s hope we never part.
Matt Ellis is a freelance photographer who covers bands that visit the city and the Columbus Crew MLS team. More about Matt can be found on his Instagram.
All photos by Matt Ellis