After two years of disruption due to the Covid pandemic, stadium shows are roaring back in 2022. We’ve already seen My Chemical Romance play three sell-out nights at the 30,000 capacity MK Stadium in Milton Keynes, and The Killers doing stadium sets all over the country, from St Mary’s in Southampton to the Falkirk Stadium in central Scotland. With fans starved of big spectacles, even the great British weather (surely!) can’t get in the way of a summer full of celebrations. It feels like a long time since we reported on Brighton’s Great Escape and fans enjoying music in the sunshine. So, let’s take a look at three of the biggest and best.
A pop-punker’s paradise, the Hella Mega Tour sees Green Day, Weezer and Fall Out Boy hit the UK for three dates at the end of June. There’s a show at the London Stadium, followed by Huddersfield’s John Smith’s Stadium. The bands – supported on all European shows by upcoming Aussie garage punks Amyl & The Sniffers – then head over to Dublin before rounding off their UK appearances on 29th June at Glasgow’s Bellahouston Park. Originally scheduled for summer 2020, to follow on from Green Day’s FOAMF, fans have had to satisfy themselves with indoor listening since Covid hit. For their part, Rivers Cuomo and company dropped LPs OK Human and Van Weezer in the first half of 2021, while Green Day issued a BBC Sessions compilation at the tail end of last year. Weezer and Fall Out Boy also delighted their fans by having songs appear in 2021 on the Rock Band 4 video game, while Green Day have their own dedicated game entirely. With Billie Jo Armstrong’s predilection for getting audience members on stage to play with the band, will these shows see the first fan air-guitaring on a controller?
Guns N’ Roses
Another pandemic-postponed tour, 2022 represents the third attempt for the legendary rockers to bring their stadium show to the UK, with 2020 and 2021 dates rescheduled for this year. The good news for fans is a band with a reputation for being somewhat flaky will be thoroughly road-tested, hitting the continent throughout June prior to two nights at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on July 1st & 2nd, before playing Glasgow Green on July 5th. Support comes from bluesman Gary Clark Jr who’s no stranger to the biggest stages having previously opened for Eric Clapton and The Rolling Stones. Guns N’ Roses had a quieter 2021 than Weezer, with the 4-track EP Hard Skool as their only release. Fans have also been able to see them in games though. As well as appearances in the Rock Band and Guitar Hero franchises, GNR became the latest metal act to dive into online casino gaming. The online slots from Foxy Games include a Guns N’ Roses-themed game, which draws heavily from not only the band’s music but their iconography as well, having the group join the esteemed company of KISS, Motörhead and Megadeth in having their own game. The gigs mark GNR’s first return to the UK since their appearance at Download Festival in 2018 and the first time on their own stage since June 2017.
With only two British dates – Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on July 29th & 30th – Gaga is likely to be the hottest ticket of the summer. Her Chromatica Ball takes in just 20 shows worldwide and they are all stadium shows. The shows were added to the itinerary in Miami and Houston only last month. Details of the setlist are a closely guarded secret – it’s now been just over two years since the Chromatica LP’s release and whether she’s focused on those hook-laden tracks or the hyperpop remixes from 2021’s Dawn Of Chromatica is anyone’s guess. Fans of Ms Germanotta have also been able to get their fill over the pandemic with video gaming – her tracks have appeared in Fortnite, Just Dance and VR game Beat Saber – although between Dawn and 2021 Tony Bennett collab LP Love For Sale, she’s hardly been away. So, make sure to catch her while she’s here.
As acts make up for lost time on the live circuit, it’s set to be a summer of spectaculars. Some of them will be small, but in these cases, they will be very, very big indeed.