Words and Photos by Alyson Coletta
After two long years of waiting, the Hella Mega Tour was finally able to happen in Philadelphia at Citizen’s Bank Park. Despite the uncertainty of the pandemic that started in 2020, this tour thankfully only needed to be rescheduled once. With vaccines, masks, and COVID protocols in place, bands are able to finally get back on the road. After the year-and-a-half we’ve had, I think it’s safe to say live music is well deserved for everyone.
With a stacked lineup of Green Day, Fall Out Boy, Weezer, and The Interrupters, it’s hard for anyone to not have a good time throughout the night. Even if someone isn’t an avid listener of one of the bands, they probably know and love the hits.
The night kicked off with The Interrupters, a ska-punk band from California. They were the perfect choice to get the night started. You’ll never catch lead vocalist Aimee Interrupter without a smile on her face at a show—her infectious energy when she performs makes it hard for anyone to not have fun. You’ll want to dance and sing along, even if you don’t know the words.
Guitarist Kevin Bivona will make you laugh with some quality jokes, and his twin brothers Jesse and Justin over on drums and bass, respectively, are always having fun. I’ve known The Interrupters for a while now and watching them grow as a band has been a real treasure. There’s never a dull moment during an Interrupters set, so get there early so you don’t miss them.
Next up on the bill was none other than Weezer. The stage was quickly changed over to their pink, purple, and teal-themed production. Marshall amps and kick drums spelling out Weezer lined the stage, which was accompanied by massive teal lightning bolts and a light-up recreation of the Weezer logo. I’ve seen a lot of different production setups, but the one Weezer went with has to be one of my overall favorites.
Their set was comprised mostly of the hits, including “Hero,” “Beverly Hills,” “Say It Ain’t So,” and their beloved cover of “Toto” by Africa. Vocalist Rivers Cuomo, rocking a mullet and a studded leather jacket, had no trouble getting the fans to sing along. As people continued to file in during their set, the stadium grew louder with each song. They performed an hour-long set that both casual listeners and longtime Weezer fans could be satisfied with.
About 10 minutes before Fall Out Boy was set to go on stage, the sky opened up and rain started to downpour. With no lightning in sight, the band was allowed to play and they did not let the rain deter them. In bassist Pete Wentz’s own words when talking about the rain – “Hurricane? Whatever. We’re fucking doing it.”
Wentz and vocalist Patrick Stump both frequently utilized the uncovered, rain-soaked catwalk to close the large gap between them and the fans—it was then that you knew the rain wasn’t going to interfere with them giving you their all.
The energy for the night truly picked up here. With pyrotechnics, confetti, and an ever-changing LED video wall, it was hard to not be entertained. The band had recently missed three shows due to COVID earlier this month, but they stepped right back into the tour without missing a beat. The set was comprised of their most recognizable songs over their twenty-year-long career but omitted all but one song off of their last album release – Mania. Their hour-long set closed out with “Saturday,” where Wentz eventually abandoned his bass and took over vocals.
Once Fall Out Boy’s set ended, the rain was soon to follow. Only a few lingering raindrops fell as the now packed stadium awaited Green Day’s presence on stage.
About five minutes before the start of their set, the stadium lit up as Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody” played through the PA system. The crowd was so loud that when singing in unison, they were just as loud as the PA.
With just over an hour and a half to curfew, it was a bummer to realize that we wouldn’t get a traditional two-to-three-hour-long Green Day set like we normally would. But, their hour-and-a-half long set came through and did not disappoint—you left on an adrenaline high that only a truly great concert can provide.
As “Bohemian Rhapsody” faded, “Blitzkrieg Bop” made its presence over the PA, and the infamous Drunk Bunny stumbled out on stage to hype up the crowd and toss out some stuffed unicorns. Drunk Bunny’s shenanigans were eventually halted as a tour crew member dragged them off stage. It was then that you knew it was time for Green Day.
The night kicked off with their iconic song “American Idiot”—the title track from their 2004 release of the same name. That was the album that most people my age discovered Green Day and what brought them to the next level as a band, bumping them from arenas and amphitheaters to football stadium-sized shows. American Idiot, even after 17 years of being released, is still listed as one of the best-selling albums of the 21st century.
Their 90-minute set spanned a good amount of their career and included two cover songs. Surprisingly, but also thankfully, even with COVID, vocalist Billie Joe Armstrong didn’t shy away from tradition and let someone come on stage to play guitar for a song. It wouldn’t feel like a true Green Day show without Armstrong pulling someone on stage. You’ll always find fans in the front of the crowd holding up signs and/or their own guitar picks asking to be the chosen one for that night.
Despite being a band for 30 years, they still have a larger-than-life stage presence that newer bands tend to lack when performing. Armstrong and bassist Mike Dirnt are always running and jumping around the stage—rarely ever sitting still except for when slowing things down for a song like “Wake Me Up When September Ends.”
The stage was beautifully lit, with stellar graphics and video clips playing behind them throughout the night on the video wall. Like Fall Out Boy, they didn’t shy away from using pyrotechnics or confetti, but they took it a step further and closed the set out with fireworks exploding over the stadium.
As I left the stadium trying to beat the crowd to get to my friend’s car, you could still hear the band and fans singing to their standard set closer, “Good Riddance (Time of Your Life),” no matter how far you walked into the parking lot.
Exhausted and soaked from the rain, I left the Hella Mega Tour with exceeded expectations and feeling immensely grateful that concerts are finally back.
Fall Out Boy