Green Day sure do know how to put on a great rock and roll show. The trio based out of Oakland, California put out their first album 27 years ago and are currently supporting their latest album Revolution Radio which was released last year. The band finally made a stop at Blossom Music Center on a hot Monday night after starting the tour last September in Columbus.
The 2015 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees brought everything with them except the kitchen sink. Well, I’m sure they would have brought one out if needed. There were flames, flash pots, sonic booms, great lighting and oh yeah, incredible rock music.
Billie Joe Armstrong is an energetic, if not spastic front man. He prowls the stage like a caged lion on speed; all the while having the audience eat out of the palm of his hand. During the opening song, “Know Your Enemy” Armstrong invited a pink haired girl from the front to sing the last verse of the song. She got on stage and nailed it! Then with some coaxing from Billie Joe and the audience, she took an epic stage dive into the trusting hands of those in the pit.
What a great way to start a show!
After two new songs “Bang Bang” and “Revolution Radio” the familiar chords of “Holiday” were played and Armstrong decided to get a little political. He commanded the audience to “Repeat after me! No racism, no sexism, no homophobia! And fuck Donald Trump!” Which got a huge applause from the crowd. The self appointed “representative of Ohio” had the floor indeed.
Not to get the audience too riled up, Armstrong said that tonight’s show was “about joy and happiness and compassion. We’re gonna sing together, and dance together and cry together.”
His other two band mates, bassist Mike Dirnt and drummer Tre Cool were joined by three other touring musicians on stage that helped keep the songs sounding robust.
Throughout the show, Armstrong shouted “Akron,” “Cleveland” and “Ohio” more times than I could count. It didn’t matter because the audience screamed each time he said it.
“Boulevard Of Broken Dreams” became a huge sing-a-long as Armstrong held out the microphone to the audience. Thousands of fans spontaneously broke out their cell phone flashlights and lit up the scenic amphitheater.
The unpredictable Armstrong pulled out a variety of tricks throughout the show. During “2000 Light Years Away” he shot t-shirts into the crowd. During another point he also hosed off members in the pit with two huge water guns from either side of the stage.
During a cover of Operation Ivy’s “Knowledge,” Billie Joe looked for a young kid who could play the guitar from the audience. He selected a 13 year old named Noah to come up on stage and quickly taught him the three chords of the song. Noah jammed with the band and he and Armstrong did a jump off of the drum riser to end the song. Billie Joe even let him keep the guitar because he “was a bad ass!”
Armstrong got political once again towards the end of the show. He said “I’m a pacifist, except if you’re a nazi. Then I’ll beat your ass! There is no freedom of speech if you threaten my friends and my family!”
The band closed the first set with “Still Breathing” and “Forever Now” from Revolution Radio but came back for their first encore with the one, two punch of “American Idiot” and the nine minute epic “Jesus Of Suburbia.”
For the second encore, Armstrong stood center stage with an acoustic guitar and sang “21 Guns” that segued into “Good Riddance (Time Of Your Life).” During the later, Tre Cool and Mike Dirnt joined Armstrong center stage and the three Hall of Famers thanked the crowd as a sea of confetti rained down.
That, my friends, is how it’s done.
Openers Catfish and the Bottlemen played a great set of indie rock with an emphasis on the rock. The British quartet played an impressive five song set that warmed up the crowd quite nicely. This is a band that is definitely worth checking out.