Where to begin with Green Day’s headlining performance for their “American Idiot” tour – the guy in a pink bunny suit chugging a beer onstage before the show started, the disco ball, the pyrotechnics or the ticker tape cloud descending on the crowd with the finale?

Frontman Billie Joe Armstrong showed none of his 15 years in performance as he strutted across the stage, larger than life. More of a spectacle than an old-fashioned concert, Green Day’s new tour shows what popular bands today have evolved into, using dazzling lights and special effects that almost make the audience forget what they’re there for. Green Day’s music, though, was still as good as it’s always been.

Starting heavy with tracks off their new album, Billie Joe whipped off the popular “American Idiot” before launching into “Jesus of Suburbia” and the multi-part “Homecoming.” A slower “Are We the Waiting,” also from “American Idiot,” set a new tone, dedicated to the late Joey Ramone, followed by “St. Jimmy,” the mystical patron saint of Green Day’s latest work. Armstrong’s keen sense of audience attention kept him re-tuning the audience just as interest would wane, playing the audience off each other and carrying out classic pleasers like the wave and “heey-o.” At one point he faked an orgasm, to the crowd’s shock and delight, yelling “Rochester fucked me,” only one of the many antics of the night.

The next segment recalled some early Green Day favorites, with classics like “Longview” and “Basket Case” from “Dookie” and “Brain Stew” from “Insomniac.”

In true new Green Day tradition as well, he had members of the audience come up to play with them at one point and gave away the guitar to the giddy young stand-in.

In a light-hearted “Animal House” moment, the band broke into a rendition of the Isley Brothers’ “Shout,” which had the crowd’s hands in the air in a moment of pure, euphoric fun. The band then returned to some of their new material, with the slower, melodic “Wake Me Up When September Ends” and the high-energy “Warning” track “Minority.”

New and old were mixed in the encore, with the haunting “Boulevard of Broken Dreams” and Dookie’s “Welcome to Paradise.” As the concert drew to a close, Armstrong gave the audience some words of wisdom, touching briefly on politics mixed with some true punk essence. “Remember to think for yourself – don’t let these fucking old people tell you what to do,” he said. “The rules were fucking meant to be broken.” And with the nostalgic “Time of Your Life,” Armstrong, and one of the bands that this generation has grown up with and lived by, made their exit.

Linden can be reached at

klinden@campustimes.org.



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