Green Day Bring Their Huge Show To Sydney

 

Qudos Bank Arena, 10/05/17

Review by Mick Radojkovic

Photos by Josh Groom

The Interrupters do more than warm up the Qudos Bank Arena crowd, they generate a feel-good vibe that would persist throughout the night. This punk and ska band, out of Los Angeles, are doing everything right to get on a huge tour like this and make the most of it with a short and sharp 30-minute set. They wrap up their set with ‘Family’, an ode to our own crazy families and the three Bivona brothers that make up the four piece along with Aimee ‘Interrupter’ Allen. Good rocking fun.

Green Day, in particular lead singer Billie Joe Armstrong and bassist Mike Dirnt, are celebrating 30 years together on this, Revolution Radio tour. It’s a testament to the trio, including drummer Tré Cool, that they have managed to not only survive as a band this long, but survive at all.

We sing-along to the strains of ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ and inexplicably watch a pink bunny dancing on stage during ‘Blitzkrieg Bop’ before the lights drop and the group, swollen to a six piece for this tour, take the stage. The pretty much sold-out arena scream and they dive straight into 2009 single, ‘Know Your Enemy’. Bille Joe screams, “This is not a fucking computer! This is real life!” as they jump straight into ‘Bang Bang’ from their most recent album.

For what wouldn’t be the last time of the night, Billie Joe invites a green haired girl onto the stage. She wraps her arms around the singer and looks like she’s about to burst into tears before diving into the adoring crowd. The title track of the tour is next, ‘Revolution Radio’, and already there’s fireworks fired off the stage into the air above us. This concert is not going to hold back.

Billie Joe does something in every song. Whether it’s call and response, hand clapping, waving a flag, turning the light off and shining a torch, spraying the front of the crowd with a water cannon or shooting t-shirts into the back seats, he is pure entertainment. He also likes a chat, whether it’s faux getting sad when we’re not loud enough or talking about politicians, “They’re all full of shit!”, he connects with the audience in a rarely talented way. We are even subjected to the ‘Aussie-Aussie-Aussie’ chant after ‘Boulevard of Broken Dreams’. Cringeworthy, but hey, he’s done his homework.

The demographic of the crowd is diverse and covers kids who weren’t born when Warning was released in 2000 but can sing all the words to the newest tracks, to over 50s who belt out the lyrics to classic Dookie tracks. There’s something for everyone and whilst the band seem to push through the old tracks a little quicker than others, there is still a thrill in hearing ‘Burnout’, ‘Longview’ and ‘When I Come Around’ live and raw. One of the highlights of the night was ‘She’, just a radio single from their breakout 1994 album, but one of their best.

The band are constantly on the go. Dirnt’s bass playing is still as solid and distinctive as ever and Cool’s drumming is perfect, with every fill, every little percussion part, covered. Billie Joe is the centre of the attention though and his charisma overflows into the crowd. When he invites a girl on stage to play guitar during a jam session, she rips into it with joyous gusto. It’s an oft repeated shtick of the band, but such a great gesture, as Billie Joe tells the girl she can keep the guitar. What a memento!

Green Day have a way of turning 3 minute songs into 10 minute epics, especially when ‘King For A Day’ turns into a mix of ‘Shout’, ‘Always Look on the Bright Side of Life’, ‘Satisfaction’ and ‘Hey Jude’. Of course, the crowd is sucked in and yell out all the “Na’s”. It’s probably just a good chance for Billie Joe to have a bit of a rest, because he’s giving everything he has.

The encore is a mixed bag of old and new. I sensed disappointment that a big picture of Trump wasn’t raised for ‘American Idiot’, but the over ten-minute epic, ‘Jesus of Suburbia’ is hugely impressive, purely just for remembering all the words.

Billie Joe is forgiven for finishing the concert, solo on acoustic guitar. He gave his all for over two hours and yes, we did have the time of our lives. Fireworks, confetti and drumsticks galore complete the show. Backing a show of this size up every night is a mammoth effort for a band nearing their 50s and whilst declaring that they’ll definitely be back because “Australia get it”, we wonder if they’ll be quite as energetic next time.

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