Rock-n-roll is back with a bang! Literally. The Hella Mega Tour stop by Atlanta’s Truist Park was a gargantuan display of ear-deafening bangers, colorful confetti, flashy fireworks, insane props, a first-class light and strobe exhibition, and an impressive display of guitar work — by a Green Day fan named Clay. Led by a trio of well-known and well-loved bands, the Hella Mega Tour was hella mega magnificent. Outfits Green Day, Weezer and Fall Out Boy joined forces – ala NBA super teams – to bring back a sense of revival to the term “stadium rock” and provide the 35 thousand+ fans in the house every penny’s worth of that ticket price.
Despite early heavy rainfall, Weezer took the stage to commence the evening. Armed with an hour’s worth of a setlist and a showy pastel-and-neon wall of speakers, the Rivers Cuomo-fronted foursome was quite delightful and vibrant. Cuomo, sporting a new mullet-n-stash ’80s rockstar mien, was by far the biggest story of the Weezer set. Notorious for his clean-cut sweater-n-khakis nerdy musician vibe, Rivers reinvented himself with a new spiky-leather-jacket-and-distressed-jeans edge that further enhances the ironic coolness of this Los Angeles quartet.
All said and done, these Cali dudes performed all their greatest hits from Hash Pipe and Island In The Sun to Buddy Holly and even that viral Toto cover, Africa. The ball got rolling, Weezer successfully set the standard at considerable heights. Now it was time for Fall Out Boy to grab the baton and carry the night.
Fall Out Boy came to the dais guitars blazing — seriously. In a sea of pyrotechnics, that complement that famous fire-shooting Pete Wentz Fender bass, this Illinois pop punk quadrumvirate came out with a sense of urgency. An aural and visual roller coaster for the senses is what Fall Out Boy brings to the table. Sure, the boys navigate that loaded discography smoothly and energetically; nonetheless, it is lead singer Patrick Stump’s piercing tenor that really jumps at you. Over the years, Patrick Stump‘s improved control of his bottomless range has made the Fall Out Boy experience one soon not to be forgotten.
Ultimately, the Fall Out Boy portion of the Hella Mega Tour is one of quality tied to quantity. From their video introduction by actor Ron Livingston and throughout their 15-song showing ending with closer, Saturday, Stump and Co. had it going on. Let the closing act try and reach that high bar.
Closing duties went to a little known band from the late ’80s punk scene by the name of Green Day. Steered by a seemingly ageless Billie Joe Armstrong, this California three-piece ensemble played up to the task of making the Hella Mega Tour’s finale, well, MEGA!
Introduced via a listening party to Queen‘s Bohemian Rhapsody followed by Ramones‘ Blitzkrieg Bop, the storied punk trio came in to deliver an energetic opening by way of their 2004 hit-single, American Idiot. With a packed stadium amount of fanatics on their feet, Tré Cool and the gang known as Green Day instantly grabbed a hold of onlookers’ attention and did not let go until their exit some 90 minutes later.
“Are you vaccinated? Yes? Are your sure? Come on up!” asks Billie Joe to a fan holding up a CAN I PLEASE PLAY GUITAR sign. This lucky guy, who would later be revealed to go by name of Clay, joins the guys for a rendition of Knowledge; a throwback cover of the now extinct band, Operation Ivy. Such was Clay’s positive impression on the band, that the suddenly-viral youngster was now tasked with assisting on the execution of smash hit, Basket Case. Talk about a once in a lifetime opportunity. Clay, if you’re reading this, WELL DONE!
Ultimately, Green Day slayed! The Hella Mega Tour in Atlanta was a complete and utter success. Much needed by a starved live music audience after this pandemic shut venues’ doors down for what seemed to be an eternity. Prior to the whole Covid mess we would ask, “Is Rock Music dead?” – silly question if you think about it. The answer is NO, HELL NO, NOT AT ALL. Rock music is definitely not dead. It is very much alive, kicking, screaming, bringing joy and packing stadiums with the likes of Green Day, Fall Out Boy and Weezer.