Two weeks before getting inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Green Day announced that they would be playing a show at the 1,100 seat venue House of Blues on Thursday, April 16th. Fans that were lucky enough to score a seat (the place sold out in less than 10 minutes) were going to be in for a treat.
After opening act Jessie Malin left the stage the crew began setting up another drum set that, mysteriously, wasn’t Tre Cools kit. The bass drum was covered by a blanket, but once that was taken off, a shot of energy went through the crowd upon seeing the moniker Sweet Children on the bass drum. Sweet Children was the forerunner to Green
Day which was made up of front man Billy Jo Armstrong, bassist Mike Dirnt and drummer John Kiffmeyer. The trio plowed through a 40 minute set, playing many songs that haven’t been played since the early 1990s. Tunes such as “Dry Ice”, “Sweet Children” and “Green Day” littered the set list.
Billy Jo stated that he was wearing a T-Shirt from the very first place where the band played live; he also noted that the band was paid in a currency that most record labels don’t recognize: French fries.
They were clearly having a good time, playing old songs andreliving past memories. The kids in the pit were also having a good time crowd surfing. After the last song was played, Kiffmeyer quipped, “Get ready for the opening act, I hear they’re pretty good.”
After a brief set change, and a change of clothes for Billy Jo and Mike, Green Day hit the stage to the groovy sounds of the Bee Gees anthem to all things 70s: “Stayin’ Alive.” Drummer Tre Cool did his best John Travolta impression as he made his way to the drum kit. Billy looked like he was ready for his induction or promeven, as he came out wearing a black tuxedo and cummerbund with a white polka-dotted bow tie. Dressed for success? Maybe, or at least one hell of a high-decibel punk gig.
The show started off with 99 Revolutions from their most recent album Tre and continued
with selections from almost every album that they’ve released over the last twenty-five years.
Armstrong ran around the stage, climbing the 2 small risers and doing jumps off of them. His energy was infectious as he repeatedly told the crowd to go crazy.
As if they needed any encouragement.
Early in the show, a fan threw a Chief Wahoo hat on stage and Billy wore it until the song wasdone. He then took it off, looked at it and said “I don’t know, this is a little racist” and proceeded to put the hat on one of the risers, in perhaps the only overtly political statement of the night.
Before playing “Boulevard of Broken Dreams”he thanked everyone for coming out to the show and that it was
quite the celebration. He said this was a “very special moment for us because this is the closest Im going to get to you for a little while.” I’m not sure if he was talking about the intimacy of the venue or thinking about taking a hiatus from the band. Either way, it was an interesting statement and open for speculation.
During the middle of the show, Billy Jo made one fans dream come true as he selected someone from the audience to sing the second half of “Longview.” Billy asked if he could play the guitar and the young man, who was dressed like Batman’s nemesis The Joker, said no but that he was a singer. He did an admirable job and proceededwith an epic stage dive into the audience once the song was over.
The hits kept coming as the band cranked out “When I Come Around”, “Basket Case” and “Are We the Waiting.”
The band then invited Tim Armstrong, formerly of Operation Ivy and Rancid, to play two of his songs: “Knowledge”
The two-plus hour set came to a close as the band encored with “American Idiot” and the 9+ minute opus “Jesus of Suburbia.”
Kiffmeyer was right, this band is pretty good.
So good in fact, that two nights later they were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in their first year of eligibility.