Louder Features: Deep-Cut Setlists- The HellaMega Tour (Green Day, Fall Out Boy & Weezer)
With the waves of excitement surrounding the world’s most Hella Mega tour announcement still rippling through the rock world, the anticipation levels of fans of Green Day, Fall Out Boy, and Weezer are reaching a fever pitch- and for those, like us here at Louder, who are avid fans of all three, it is the musical equivalent of three birthdays and three Christmases come all at once! But when three bands with such huge discographies to their names are all sharing one stage, and with only one evening's time to dole out between them, how do they go about selecting which songs to include on the setlist for such a mammoth undertaking? Well, we here at Louder have a few suggestions of some tracks that aren’t necessarily the first to spring to mind - some of them have not seen an onstage performance in over a decade - but that we would love to see make a comeback on this tour-to-end-all-tours!
How on earth do you go about closing one of, if not themost important rock records of all time? With a track as beautifully balanced as ‘Whatsername’, that’s how! Bittersweet lyrics and a horizon-gazing melody, this songs tugs on the heart like the soundtrack to the closing scenes of a life-altering movie: which was what Green Day’s seminal album ‘American Idiot’ was for an entire generation of punk rock fans the world over. Songs just don’t come as big and glorious as this anymore- the perfect end to an undeniable masterpiece of an album.
2. ‘The Grouch’
Following the ground-breaking success of their 1994 album ‘Dookie’, and then the comparative commercial dip that came with 1995’s ‘Insomniac’, Green Day frontman Billie Joe was wracked with insecurity and fear, much of which can be felt viscerally in the lyrics of its successor, ‘Nimrod’. Perhaps most potent is the oft-overlooked ‘The Grouch’, in which Billie contemplates with spitting distaste the prospect of becoming a miserable, embittered father trapped in suburban monotony. The wonderful irony of hearing this track on one of the most expansive tours of the band’s career, more than 20 years after this bleak alternate future was committed to tape, would, therefore, be a wonder to behold!
3. ‘Nuclear Family’
Hear me out on this one, okay? For many Green Day fans, the band spread themselves too thinly across the simultaneous three-album release that was ‘Uno!’ ‘Dos!’ and ‘Tre!’, and as a result, few tracks from any of these three records have wormed their way into the gold-standard category of well-loved Green Day releases. However, the direct message of ‘Nuclear Family’ to those downtrodden punk kids from the ‘broken homes’ of ‘Jesus of Suburbia’ gives this track such poignant resonance, and would make it the perfect unexpected anthem for a new generation of punk rockers!
4. ‘Macy’s Day Parade’
With its base being a melancholy acoustic guitar, the closing track of 2000’s ‘Warning’ may be wildly understated by stereotypical Green Day standards, however ‘Macy’s Day Parade’ carries a charm all of its own, which would make it a perfect setlist partner to their comparatively massive single ‘Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)’. Billie Joe’s vocals shimmer on this track, more beautifully controlled than cynics would have believed possible for a ‘scrappy punk rock band’, and while ‘Warning’ as a whole is often bypassed by its infamous successor, this track proves what a mistake overlooking this record truly is. Green Day really know how to close an album, huh?!
The words ‘American Idiot’ have appeared far too many times in this article already, however, on this occasion it is very much necessary, as this little-known Green Day track came as one of the B-Sides to the single release of the track ‘American Idiot’. Of the collection of songs that accompanied the band’s most recognisable single, ‘Governator’ is of particular interest as it features bassist Mike Dirnt taking to lead vocals, resulting in a more raw and gritty sound than the symphonic melodies found on the album itself. As well as being a well-earned rest for Billie’s vocal chords in a live performance, having Mike take the centre spotlight would be wonderful to witness!
From hidden gems to anthems that are in plain sight, turning to Green Day’s latest full-length release (for now…) still brings many delights of its own- a personal one being the sweetly sentimental ‘Outlaws’, which chronicles the childhood deviance of Mike and Billie’s high school summers. As punchingly defiant as it is touchingly warm, ‘Outlaws’ documents a friendship that has outlasted periods of desperation, skyrocketing to global fame, and living the best part of their lives under intense scrutiny from the media, family, friends and, indeed, from themselves. Having this song document the coming together of countless friendships that have, as a result, undoubtedly been forged in the sweaty crowds of Green Day shows would be a wonderfully cyclical moment for the band themselves, as well as their adoring fans.
‘Jinx’ (Nimrod, 1997)
‘Sweet Children’ (Kerplunk, 1991)
‘Geek Stink Breath’ (Insomniac, 1995)
‘Let Yourself Go’ (Uno!, 2012)
‘Emenius Sleepus’ (Dookie, 1994)
‘Working Class Hero’ (John Lennon Cover)
'21st Century Breakdown' (21st Century Breakdown, 2009)
Fall Out Boy:
1. Patron Saint of Liars and Fakes
Taken from Fall Out Boy’s very first full-length record, Patron Saint of Liars and Fakes still remains one of their best closing tracks on any record to this day. Packed full of scrappy guitars and teen angst so palpable you can almost taste it between the notes, bringing this track back from the grave (geddit?!) is guaranteed to bring the mosh pits and crowdsurfers of Fall Out Boy’s early shows back with it!
2. The (After) Life Of the Party
Any truly dedicated Fall Out Boy fans who have embarked on the emotionally harrowing journey that is bassist Pete Wentz’s debut novel,‘Gray’, will undoubtedly recall the heart-wrenching moment which parallels Pete’s own life, and that may have partially inspired this track’s most gorgeous line ‘blood cells pixelate, and eyes dilate’. A tear-jerker it may be, but the sheer emotional ‘oomph’ that ‘The (After) Life Of The Party’ carries in each and every note means it would be simply stunning when sung by a stadium of people, accompanied by a sea of shining phone lights. Magical.
3. Alpha Dog
A rarely remembered track, despite earning a place on their 2009 Greatest Hits record, ‘Believers Never Die’, ‘Alpha Dog’ deserves far greater praise than it has ever been given- owing largely to the glorious wordplay in the first line of the chorus, but also it’s insatiable groove, gritty guitar tone, and some of frontman Patrick’s Stump’s lowest notes on any Fall Out Boy track, which makes it a brilliant display of each members’ collective talents.
After the mixed bag of a reception that was bestowed upon their last pre-hiatus record, ‘Folie a Deux’, it is somewhat understandable that since their reformation, few tracks from that record have seen a live outing (with the exception of single ‘I Don’t Care’ and their electrifying cover of Michael Jackson’s ‘Beat It’). However, more recently, both the band’s headline appearances at Reading & Leeds Festival have included opening track ‘Disloyal Order of Water Buffalos’, so perhaps the time is ripe to revive some more of Folie’s hidden gems! There are many that one could argue are deserving of a setlist spot, however the opening line of ‘27’ is without competition when it comes to resonance in today’s world”: ‘If home is where the heart is, then we’re all just fucked’. Brilliant! Pair that with scathing melodies and relentlessly pulsing drums, and ‘27’ is the perfect soundtrack for the angsty teen turn disillusioned young adult fanbase: a little more refined, perhaps, but no less cynical.
5. 'Hot to the Touch, Cold on the Inside'
Given that this tour’s stars are fierce punk rockers Green Day, it wouldn’t be right not to include a track from Fall Out Boy’s most overt foray into fiendishly feral punk, their 2013 EP ‘PAX AM Days’. Despite admitting to being heavily intoxicated during the entire recording process, ‘PAX AM Days’ contains what is arguably, some of Fall Out Boy’s most raw and honest work, and clocking in at under a minute and a half, ‘Hot to the Touch, Cold on the Inside’ encapsulates this perfectly. Patrick abandons his signature melodic high notes in favour of rough-and-ready vocals that are halfway between being spoken and sung, with a delightfully thrashy guitar set over the whole thing. If ever there was a song to bring out the pyros for, this is it!
6. 7 Minutes In Heaven (Atavan Halen)
This track’s unmistakable opening riff is enough to ignite the fire of excitement inside any well-versed Fall Out Boy aficionado, and blends those classic melancholy-tinged emo vocals with relentlessly giddy guitars perfectly. Capturing the essence of what endeared Fall Out Boy to the legions of teenage outcasts perfectly in its chorus, which bemoans the life of the self-destructive social introvert, ‘7 Minutes In Heaven (Atavan Halen)’ is a sexually-charged pop punk stalwart: yet beneath it runs a current of pain and internalised hatred that is wonderfully powerful. A party song and a plea for those whose ear is caught to listen deeper, this is the genius of Fall Out Boy in action.
. ‘You’re Crashing, But You’re No Wave’ (Infinity on High, 2007)
. ‘The Mighty Fall’ (Save Rock and Roll, 2013)
. 'I Slept With Someone in Fall Out Boy and All I Got Was This Stupid Song Written About Me' (From Under the Cork Tree, 2005)
. ‘Pretty in Punk’ (Evening Out With Your Girlfriend, 2001)
. ‘Calm Before the Storm’ (Take This To Your Grave, 2003)
. ‘G.I.N.A.S.F.S’ (Infinity on High, 2007)
. ‘Sophomore Slump or Comeback of the Year’ (From Under the Cork Tree, 2005)
. ‘Miss Missing You’ (Save Rock and Roll, 2013)
. ‘Homesick at Space Camp’ (Take This To Your Grave, 2003)
1. 'Mexican Fender'
When it comes to variety, bands don't get much more wildly selective than Weezer, and the opening track to their 2017 record 'Pacific Daydream' showcases that in a brilliantly understated way. 'Mexican Fender' is all-out summery pop on the surface, however dive a little deeper, and the crunchy guitar tones elevate this track beyond bass-level indie pop-rock and into a category all of its own. A perfect addition to a summer stadium tour setlist, methinks!
2. 'Where's My Sex?'
For those who worry that Weezer are all a bit polished and produced these days- meet 'Where's My Sex?', from their 2010 album 'Hurley'. Lyrically, the confused, angst-ridden adolescent that once dreamt of toxic stardom on 'Beverley Hills' makes a re-emergence, demanding with a palpable desperation the whereabouts of sexual gratification: though for the crowd, the raucously bouncy bridge would be all the adrenaline rush necessary!
3. 'Tired of Sex'
There's something of a theme emerging here, isn't there? 1996's 'Pinkerton' was infused across many of it's tracks with stories of the trials and tribulations of a rock star sex life, (most famously on 'Pink Triangle', which has since become something of a lesbian community anthem!), however one finds it difficult to sympathise with the notions expressed on 'Tired of Sex' (oh, what a cross to bear!). That being said, the track does carry a heartfelt message from a man desperate for meaningful intimate interactions that make his situation far less enviable- although playing this track live would surely create an incredibly momentous between band and stadium crowd!
4. 'O Girlfriend'
Weezer's preference of monochrome colour album aesthetics is a trend that has stood them in good stead for the best part of two decades, however, their tracks themselves can be just as beautifully colourful- and 'Green Album' closer 'O Girlfriend' is one of them. Mixing whining indie guitars that wouldn't sound out of place on a Stereophonics record with heartfelt lyrics, this would be a poignant lighter-waver for sure!
5. 'Jamie (DGC Rarities Version)'
Recreating the almost impenetrably fuzzy guitar tone of this track, taken from the Deluxe edition of Weezer's 'The Blue Album' (the one that brought smash-hit 'Buddy Holly' to live shows from here until eternity!), would be incredibly difficult to recreate on stage in the middle of a set, but let us dream, okay? Despite 'The Blue Album' providing us with a full studio version of 'Jamie', the lack of production on the raw demo version only enhances its charm- the sort of track that would be played from a boombox outside your high school crush's bedroom window, via a tape recorded directly from the radio. If there was ever a track to admit your feelings to your first love with, this is it.
6. 'The British Are Coming'
Filled with warbly, banjo-esqe guitar sounds, this is Weezer at perhaps their most off-kilter, both in melody and in overt direction. However, this sound is something of a guilty pleasure- and, in the middle of a sold-out stadium crowd, who will notice if you sing every word to your heart's content? In particular, the slowly de-escalating chorus line of 'The British Are Coming' is an acquired taste, but one that would add plenty of flavour to a Weezer setlist, and the buttery warmth of the melody line will get even the most cynical of critics swinging their hips along!
'Smart Girls' (Hurley, 2010)
'Photograph' (The Green Album, 2001)
'Euology for a Rock Band' (Everything Will Be Alright In the End, 2014)
'LA Girlz' (White Album, 2016)
'Butterfly' (Pinkerton, 1996)
How does your list compare to ours? Are there any songs that we missed, or any that you disagree with? Let us know via Twitter (@uplouderblog), or on our Facebook page!
The Hella Mega Tour will be coming to Asia, Europe, the UK and the USA next summer- full dates as announced so far for everywhere bar Asia can be found below, and tickets will be on sale at 9am on the 20th of September:
The Hella Mega Tour 2020
13 Paris, France, La Defense Arena,
14 Groningen, Netherlands, Stadspark
17 Antwerp, Belgium, Sportspaleis
21 Vienna, Austria, Ernst Happel Stadium
24 Glasgow, UK, Bellahouston Park
26 London, UK, London Stadium
27 Huddersfield, UK, The John Smith’s Stadium
29 Dublin, Ireland, RDS Arena
17 Seattle, WA, T-Mobile Park
21 San Francisco, CA, Oracle Park
24 San Diego, CA, Petco Park
25 Los Angeles, CA, Dodger Stadium
28 Commerce City, CO, DICK’s Sporting Goods Park
31 Arlington, TX, Globe Life Field
01 Houston, TX Minute Maid Park
05 Miami, FL Hard Rock Stadium
06 Jacksonville, FL TIAA Bank Field
08 Atlanta, GA SunTrust Park
11 Minneapolis, MN Target Field
13 Chicago, IL Wrigley Field
15 Pittsburgh, PA PNC Park
16 Hershey, PA Hersheypark Stadium
19 Detroit, MI Comerica Park
21 Washington, DC Nationals Park
22 New York, NY Citi Field
24 Toronto, ON Rogers Centre
27 Boston, MA Fenway Park
29 Philadelphia, PA Citizens Bank Park