October 17, 2016
The guys of Green Day might be in their mid-40s, but it wasn’t obvious from their show Monday night at the Palladium in Hollywood. Indeed, you’d be forgiven for thinking that Billie Joe Armstrong, the band’s lead singer, is four, not 44, as he jets around the stage like a pre-schooler on a sugar high.
Then again, most pre-schoolers don’t sing about being “Daddy’s little psycho and Mommy’s little soldier.”
To celebrate the release of their 12th studio album, Revolution Radio, Green Day are touring smaller venues, like the Hollywood Palladium, capacity 3,700 (last time they toured to L.A., they were at the Los Angeles Sports Area, which had a capacity closer to 15,000). But rather than promoting the album, this concert felt more like a walk down memory lane, with the band only doing four songs off their newest release, focusing instead on older tracks from albums like Kerplunk!, Dookie, Nimrod and, of course, American Idiot.
The band clearly enjoys playing deep cuts, like “Private Ale” and “Armatage Shanks,” but the audience really came to life during the more familiar songs: “King for a Day,” “Basket Case,” just about everything from American Idiot. Still, it was nice to hear lead singer Billie Joe Armstrong reminisce about the first time Green Day played the Palladium, opening for Bad Religion, alongside Rancid and Seaweed (Green Day hasn’t played the venue since 1994), and it was sweet to see him play “Christie Road” on the first guitar he ever owned, which his mom bought him when he was 10 (she was in the audience, and Armstrong had the audience say hi to her).
It’s also interesting to see how the band’s music has (or, in Green Day’s case, hasn’t) aged in the years since it was released. Alarmingly, the songs from American Idiot, the band's most politically charged record, are as relevant today as they were in 2004, though the band changed a few lyrics in “Holiday” to reflect the current political landscape: Armstrong grabbed a megaphone and warned the audience of an impending Donald Trump presidency if they don’t take action, then changed the lyric “pulverize the Eiffel Tower” to “pulverize the Donald Trump Towers.”
True to his name, drummer Tré Cool tends to hang back, out of the spotlight, and the same can be said for bassist Mike Dirnt. Armstrong is the quintessential lead singer, full of unfathomable amounts of energy and constantly reading and working the crowd. He’s a total ham on stage, striking poses, jumping off of various items on stage, blowing kisses to the audience. He’s the best possible version of a punk rock lead singer, including his voice — it’s got some mileage now, but he still sounds good when he sings, which is especially impressive given that the concert clocks in around two hours and fifteen minutes.
It’s a long set, and all that jumping around wearied both the band and the audience (a medley of “Shout!”, “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction,” “Hey Jude,” and Al Jolson’s “California, Here I Come” towards the end of the concert is performed with Armstrong and Dirnt literally lying down on the stage), but it was clear no one in the audience or on stage wanted the show to end. Miraculously, Armstrong rallied up an incredible amount of energy for “St. Jimmy,” playing his alter ego with incredible panache, evocative of his turn as that character in the American Idiot musical on Broadway five years ago.
But all good things must come to an end, including a ridiculously fun Green Day concert, though it didn’t end with a “Bang Bang.” For the encore, the band played “American Idiot” and “Jesus of Suburbia,” and then Armstrong brought the show home with nothing but an empty stage and a guitar, which he used to perform “Ordinary World” (a softer track from Revolution Radio) and the band’s coup de grace, “Good Riddance (Time of Your Life).” It’s a tried and true send-off, but it still rings true: “It’s something unpredictable, but in the end it's right/I hope you had the time of your life.”
Set list below.
Know Your Enemy
Boulevard of Broken Dreams
Stuart and the Ave.
Welcome to Paradise
Hitchin' a Ride
Are We the Waiting
When I Come Around
King for a Day
Medley: Shout/(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction/Hey Jude/California, Here I Come
Jesus of Suburbia
Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)