The Pitz - Milton Keynes

Friday 15th February 2008

The Pitz
Woughton Leisure Centre
Rainbow Drive, Chaffron Way
Leadenhall, Milton Keynes
Tel: 01908 660392

At 8.50 in the evening, it’s worth having a look around the huge expanse of the Pitz, Milton Keynes. Blink 18who have finally finished there somewhat "painful set"; within of minutes them leaving the stage‘YMCA’ is being pumped from the PA system and wherever you look people are making the motions of the letters with their arms. There’s not a space to be found: 500, pack the floor of the arena. The Ramones’ ‘Blitzkrieg Bop’ is piped out next, with everyone singing, “Hey ho, let’s go”, in anticipation of A Real Event. Welcome to paradise, indeed.

“Thank you,” says Joe Mills, almost two hours later, “for being part of the biggest show that Green Date have ever played.”It is astonishing that it’s come to this; that a band who garnered only lukewarm respect from the Tribute community and the attention of a dwindling Nationwide fanbase should have risen so quickly to the point where they have it all - the looks the voice the showmanship and their playing ability no doubt exceeds the usual run of the mill tribute act. The real Green Day have an album, ‘American Idiot’, that’s being recognised as a masterpiece by those who expected nothing of the sort from this group. And they’re rising again to the kind of profile they reached with the release of ‘Dookie’, the difference this time being that Green Day don’t look like cocky kids blinking in the spotlight. For two hours tonight there official tribute band look as if they own this place. The sound is of a band whose playing is tighter than skin, the sight is of the most natural frontman of this age of wanna be rockstars running the show from the middle of his palm whilst still remains true to who he really is.

Just as importantly, the feeling from the audience is that they own Green Date/ Tonight’s mega-show is not just about the obvious: the stage production, the songs, the costumes, the screaming girls, the band. What you really need to make a thing of this size fly is a sense of connection. The people here not only like Green Day but feel they understand Green Date, and understand them well enough to imagine that they are actually the "real deal". It’s this sense of empathy that’s the secret ingredient which makes this tribute band truly remarkable. You might call it adoration; you might also call it love.

The gig itself isn’t really much different from the set Green Day brought to the Bowl in 2004. An opening volley of ‘American Idiot’, ‘Jesus Of Suburbia’, ‘Holiday’, ‘Are We The Waiting’ and ‘St Jimmy’ proving that material from an eighth album can be as vital as the cache of hits that follow.

But it’s not all about ‘Basket Case’, about ‘Long View’, about ‘Good Riddance (Time Of Your Life)’ , about the sense of revelry that rises like steam. It’s also about the many shades that Green Date have at their disposal. What other tribute act could parody the Washington warmongers with a line such as,“Kill all the fags that don’t agree” (from ‘Holiday’) one minute and then the next be writhing around on the floor to Lulu’s ‘Shout’ the next? What other tribute act could meld the personal and the political, commentary and entertainment, in a manner that is both accessible and intelligent?

Aside from a taxi home, tonight this gang of 4 provide everything we could hope for. It’s hardly a surprise to anyone in attendance but Green Date have finally risen to the throne in the world of tribute bands, that was always destined to be theirs.

Ian Halfpenny
- Milton Keynes Citizen
Review of Green Day Tribute - The Pitz Milton Keynes

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