Green Day | photo by Tiana Timmerberg for WXPN
From “2000 Light Years Away” to “21 Guns,” Green Day bridges generations of pop-punk fans at BB&T
You know what you’re in for when the pink drunk bunny walks on stage. Anybody who’s seen Green Day before knows the tradition; some dude dressed in a pink bunny costume walks on stage before the East Bay punk faves’ set to rile up the crowd in a drunken fashion, sending a message to the audience that this isn’t going to be like any other rock show. There will be antics. There will be tutus. And there will be rock.
Love ’em or hate ’em, Green Day puts on one of the best live shows in rock in roll. Last night’s show at the BB&T Pavillion in Camden, which clocked in at about 2 and a half hours, featured new songs (“Revolution Radio,” “Bang Bang”), old classics (“Basket Case,” “When I Come Around”), deep cuts (“Letterbomb,” “King For a Day”) and Green Day live staples (a cover of the Isley Brothers’ “Shout,” and Operation Ivy’s “Knowledge”). The band, who makes a point to never alienate their older fan base, dedicated about half its set list to early material from the 90s. They even played “2000 Light Years Away,” which lead singer Billie Joe Armstrong dedicated to anybody who saw the band play South Street’s now-defunct J.C. Dobbs in 1993.
Because the band propelled into the mainstream at two very different points in recent decades — in 1994 with Dookie and 2004 with American Idiot — Green Day has amassed what is quite possibly the most age-diverse audience in all of rock and roll. That showed last night. Even my mom was there!
One of the highlights of the show included the performance of Nimrod‘s “King For a Day, which gave way to “Shout.” Drummer Tre Cool, dressed in a tutu, sang the “now waaaaaaaiiaaiiiaaiiiaaiittttt a minute” line in a typically indescribable Tre Cool fashion, while Billie Joe played drums. Throughout the show, Billie Joe, who has proven himself to be one of the greatest live frontmen in rock over Green Day’s nearly 30-year existence, got in a few not-so-subtle jabs at Donald Trump and Neo-Nazis in his typical true-to-punk form.
The band ended with “Forever Now,” a track from last year’s album, Revolution Radio. But they came back onstage to play “American Idiot” and “Jesus of Suburbia,” in the first encore, and then came back yet again for a second encore, which consisted of “21 Guns” and “Good Riddance (Time of Your Life).”
For whatever reason, Green Day has garnered their fair share of naysayers. Typically, these people come in the form of lame-ass music snobs who try entirely too hard to be punk. But the truth is that Green Day opened up the genre to a new generation. I was 11 years old when American Idiot came out, and I bought the album like everybody else my age. For me, American Idiot was a bridge that led me to The Clash, The Replacements and The Ramones. There’s been an overwhelming amount of great music written by Green Day over the past 30 years, and you know what? When discussing the all-time punk greats, you’d be crazy not to say that Green Day belongs in that conversation.
Below, check out photos of their performance, as well as the opening set from Catfish and the Bottlemen.
Know Your Enemy
Boulevard of Broken Dreams
2000 Light Years Away
Hitchin’ a Ride
When I Come Around
Welcome to Paradise
Are We the Waiting
Knowledge (Operation Ivy cover)
King for a Day
Shout / Always Look on the Bright Side of Life / (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction / Hey Jude
Jesus of Suburbia
21 Guns (acoustic)
Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)