The 2017 concert season starts with a bang with Green Day! It is my fourth time seeing them and I’m excited as if it were the first.
Despite the cold I go down to Hallenstadion pretty early and there are already people waiting in front of the doors. Finally, a little after 5pm the doors open. We need to wait in line downstairs for the security to open the doors which lead to the venue and the stage. Once they do so, we push and run towards the stage although we’re told to be careful.
The Interrupters, 7pm-7:30pm
We wait two long hours before the support band The Interrupters take the stage. This band from LA, California is composed by three brothers, two of whom are twins and a girl singer. They have a great energy on stage and their rock-ska music is fun as are the lyrics. Although at times the ska background becomes repetitive they warm up the audience nicely for Green Day!
Green Day, 8pm-10.15pm
A huge black tile hides the stage. A few minutes before 8pm, the lights darken and the famous pink bunny comes out from the backstage as the notes of The Ramones’ “Hey ho, let’s go” hails in the air. The audience is already excited and sings along to the song, following the orders of the pink bunny which is doing some shenanigans on stage. The song ends, the black tile falls and the rabbit leaves. The screams of the audience accompany the entrance of Green Day. Singer Billie Joe Armstrong, drummer Tré Cool and bassist Mike Dirnt are accompanied by touring members Jason White, Jason Freeze and Jeff Matika.
The stage has a huge tile with the logo of the Revolution Radio album on it. There are no big screens on the back just the tile which drops and changes leaving space to the ones underneath it.
Green Day kick ass straight away by playing “Know Your Enemy” taken from the album 21st Century Breakdown (2009), with singer Billie Joe singing his favourite vocals “eeeh oooh” and making the audience repeat them. He gets a girl from the public on stage to sing but she’s like petrified and can barely sing.
On with two new songs taken from their last album Revolution Radio (2016), “Bang Bang” for which there are actually bangs sounds coming from the stage and “Revolution Radio” with fire flames coming up from the stage. The public is jumping around like crazy and the front rows have already become a mosh pit. There’s a strip of stage which comes off in the middle and where Billie Joe likes to go to to play few songs.
The set list continues with a few songs taken from their biggest success American Idiot (2004) including “Holiday” during which the audience jumps around in all directions and the rock ballad “Boulevard of Broken Dreams” where Billie Joe gets the public singing along and alone, followed by the band clapping the audience for the remarkable performance!
For “Longview”, Billie Joe calls up a guy from the audience to sing the song and he totally nails it, jumping around the stage with the microphone, feeling perfectly comfortable. He ends by jumping off the stage and crowdsurfing.
Then there comes a time during the gig dedicated to old school Green Day fans. From “2000 light years away” the band bring us back to the good old punk days, with Billie Joe playing is beloved Baby Blue that he got as a present when he was 10 years old! Then it’s the turn of a few songs taken from Nimrod (1997) like “Hitchin’ a ride”, with its rumbling drums, where Billie Joe lets the audience repeat the vocalises he makes. “Minority” is the anthem of a generation and so it is sung by all in chorus, jumping up and down to the rhythm of music.
Billie Joe looks for someone who can come on stage and play the guitar. He chooses an 18 year old boy, he shows him the chords he needs to play for “Knowledge”, an Operation Ivy cover, and then the guy sings while playing. At the end of the great performance, Billie Joe says “You can keep the guitar”. So here’s one more reason to start playing the guitar ^^
For the playful “King for a day” the band members disguise themselves, Billie Joe wears a marine hat, Mike Dirnt enormous glasses, Jason Freeze a Pharaon hat. This song live is always full of shenanigans, from disguising to singing and playing while lying on the floor. And then there’s the Blues Brothers’ “Shout” followed by a medley of The Rolling Stones’ “Satisfaction” and The Beatles’ “Hey Jude”. With Billie Joe fooling around with a toy trumpet and Jason Freeze showing off his saxophone.
For a politically involved band such as Green Day are, some comments about the newly elected president Donald Trump could not be missing. At a certain point Billie Joe wears a Trump mask with “idiot” written on it. Billie Joe bursts out saying that he is sick of stupid people around the world and the audience agrees. “Revolution is happening now! We are the revolution”, screams of awe raise from the audience as he utters these words.
It’s time for Green Day to play what, in my opinion, is the best song of their new album, “Still Breathing”, a lively song that has something more indie than rock into it and that definitely brings a new wave to the band. The audience happily sings along to it. Billie Joe announces the end of the show with another new song, “Forever now” accompanied by fire flames and fireworks.
The Hallenstadion remains in the dark and fans know that the band is coming back, also because they haven’t played some of their unmissable songs like “American Idiot”. After a few minutes here they come again playing “American Idiot” and everybody literally goes crazy once again, with mosh pit and all of that.
It’s the turn of the masterpiece “Jesus of Suburbia” a nearly 10 minutes long rock song which live is an absolute treat! The intensity in this song is beyond words, it needs to be lived to be understood. The guitar riffs grow into you as does each new musical element which comes in.
The band leaves and Billie Joe comes back with his acoustic guitar to play the new track “Ordinary World”. He then plays those unmistakable G strings of “Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)”. He lets the audience sing the lyric “Tattoos of memories and dead skin on trial, for what it’s worth it was worth all the while” on their own.
It all ends with colourful scraps of paper coming down from the ceiling, they fall on the audience. I pick up one and it’s written “Green Day” on it. A souvenir to take back home, but for those who witnessed the concert tonight the music and memories will stay there forever. Because Green Day is for sure one of the best live bands out there, playing huge venues and making you feel as if we were all one big family. That’s the power of live music!
Know Your Enemy
Boulevard of Broken Dreams
2000 Light Years Away
Hitchin’ a Ride
When I Come Around
Are We the Waiting
Knowledge (Operation Ivy cover)
King for a Day
Shout / (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction / Hey Jude
Jesus of Suburbia
Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)