August 31, 2010
Verizon Wireless Amphitheater
Does it get any bigger than a Green Day rock show? Not really. With a three hour performance and snippets of cover songs spanning the history of rock, Green Day made sure every fan young and old were completely satisfied. It was no wonder scalpers looked like lost puppies outside the venue trying to scrape together extra tickets that didn't exist to an extremely sold out show.
Crowd participation is a mainstay for all Green Day shows. Billie Joe Armstrong was a mad conductor, leading the full house in singing along or inviting fans up on stage for general pandemonium. Seeing that the pit down front had some space, Armstrong waved down some extra fans saying “I'm Billie Joe Armstrong and I just gave you credentials!!”
“Know Your Enemy” was extended into a 10-minute jam due to Armstrong inviting a fan up on stage to sing a few verses before stagediving back into the crowd. While Green Day probably does this at every stop on their tour, it still makes a compelling story to relay to all your friends about what you witnessed at the Green Day show.
In the middle of “Are We The Waiting,” a female fan jumped on stage and proceeded to scoop up Armstrong and carry him around the stage much to the chagrin of the audience. Parts of the Green Day show are scripted, but even the printed setlist on the stage has a separate list of “audibles” that may be called depending on the whim of the band.
Some of the audibles included an impromptu cover of Billy Idol's “Dancing With Myself” and the awesomely underrated “J.A.R” from the gone but not forgotten Angus soundtrack. While Armstrong gets a lion's share of attention, Mike Dirnt and Tre Cool are integral parts of the Green Day machine. Even the touring members Jason Freese, Jason White and Jeff Matika help fill out the sound and allow Armstrong to occasionally put down his guitar to run wild.
Green Day ran through a brief history of rock when they played snippets of “Iron Man”, “Rock 'N Roll”, “Sweet Child O' Mine”, “Baba O' Riley” “Ain't Talking About Love” and “Highway To Hell” in a span of 5 minutes. As if the crowd wasn't loud already, the overall volume increased when Armstrong announced they were recording and filming the show for a future live album.
Flashbacks to the mid '90s occurred when Green Day blasted through such staples as “Longview”, “Basket Case” and “She.” It is no surprise that Rock Band has a version dedicated solely to Green Day. “King For A Day” eventually devolved into another cover jam as they quickly visited “Shout,” “Hey Jude” and an amazing impromptu sax jam of the “Benny Hill” theme song.
Blasting through the first encore of “American Idiot” and “Jesus of Suburbia”, Green Day returned once more to finish the evening with Armstrong strumming the chords of “Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)”. Judging by the smiles on everyone's faces, most people definitely had the night of their life.
AFI barely had enough time to get the crowd warmed up as they stuck to a short setlist of their hits to get everyone ready for the big show. Davey Havok whipped his microphone cord around the stage as leapt from riser to riser singing such songs as “Miss Murder” and “Silver and Cold”.
Personal Bias: The first album I learned to play by ear on guitar was “Dookie” once I figured out it was tuned down a half step.
The Crowd: All of Orange County seemed to be there. Didn't see too many mohawks though.
Overheard in the Crowd: “Me! Me! Me!” was shouted out vehemently when Armstrong asked if anyone knew the lyrics to “Longview.”
Random Notebook Dump: It's amazing that Armstrong still brings out his battered Fender Stratocaster that he has been playing since he started Green Day.