Musicians, like a nice expensive wine get better with time. This theory was proven last night, when Green Day closed out their U.S tour in front of a sold out crowd at The Forum in Los Angeles.
Having been a chart topping band since their breakout album Dookie in 1994, Green Day has managed to bridge the generation gap. Like the band, many of their early fans have grown up and started families introducing a new generation to this mega group. This was abundantly obvious as the crowd was full of now forty something adults with youngsters sporting Green Day attire in tow.
The trio from Northern California did not disappoint the die-hard fans, they reached back into their early material several times throughout the show to the delight of the fist pumping adults.
On tour to support their recent 2009 release 21st Century Breakdown, vocalist Billie Joe Armstrong led fellow band members, bassist Mike Dirnt and dummer Tre cool, plus legions of supporters through a smattering of favorites off the album including “21 Guns,” “Before the Lobotomy,” and the No-1 single “Know Your Enemy.”
Keeping the crowd involved Armstrong and company used many different tactics between songs, including telling stories and hosing down the audience with a super soaker.
At one point Armstrong reminded the crowd “this is a Rock & Roll show, not a Tea Party. You can listen to Coldplay on your own time,” which quickly brought the few who had sat down for a quick break after two hours of jumping and shouting, back to their feet.
Not only did the band play favorites of their own making, they worked in several medleys featuring many cover tunes including the Isley Brothers “Shout,” The Beastie Boys “Girls,” The Doors “Break on Through,” The Rolling Stones “Satisfaction,” and Tom Petty’s “Free Fallin’.”
During a cover of Guns ‘n Roses’ “Sweet Child O’ Mine” the crowd was so loud, that Armstrong stepped back from the microphone and let the crowd take over for a few verses, before kicking right into “Brain Stew” off their 1995 release Insomniac.
Performing an extended version of “Longview“, Armstrong had a youngster plucked from the crowd to join his on stage to sing a majority of the song. While cute and entertaining, it was also difficult to listen to the pre-pubescent youngster screech through the band’s first No. 1 hit. After the youth awkwardly pranced around stage, Armstrong instructed the boy to return to his seat via stage-diving back into the crowd.
Many of the highlights off the bands rock-opera from 2004, American Idiot were also prominently featured including “Are we the Waiting,” “St. Jimmy” and “Boulevard of Broken Dreams.”
As the show wound to a close, many in attendance were overheard exclaiming how this was one of the best shows they had ever attended. I would have to agree.
After twenty plus years since their inception these Sweet Children from Berkeley have aged to pure perfection.