Last Night: Green Day at Key Arena


Photo courtesy of Dagmar Sieglinde

Green Day leader Billie Joe Armstrong is all about audience participation, whether it's pulling a teenage girl in a Ramones shirt on stage to help out with the chorus of "Longview" or plucking an even younger fan out for special attention.

"Who is this little shit here?", said Armstrong a few songs into the band's set, gesturing at a young boy in the multi-generational sea of faces who couldn't have been more than 10 years old. "Come up here!" He proceeded to introduce the kid ("Everybody say 'hi' Akeava!") and instruct him to 'freak out and dance when we start playing', a directive with which Akeava happily complied while deafening, red flash pots detonated behind him.

Because American Idiot was such a time-sensitive document, the songs in a post-Bush context were more defiant celebration than angry protest, which was a good thing in most cases. "Holiday" in particular sounded more like a joyful vacation than an enraged diatribe, even with the video footage of military planes and a grim newsfeed projected behind the band.

Perhaps the awareness of the fact that 21st Century Breakdown is still a relatively new release, the band did not play the record in it's uninterrupted entirety. Instead, they wisely broke up the set with a mix of material from American Idiot and the new record, with a liberal sprinkling of classic older numbers, including "Geek Stink Breath" and a caustic, euphoric rendition of "Brain Stew."

As with the American Idiot tour, the stage design was an elaborate, dizzying array of video projections, ornate scaffolding and blazing pyrotechnics. Green Day is clearly a band intent on giving people their money's worth and thoroughly enjoying themselves in the process, which are ultimately the most important ingredients for a satisfying arena rock show. I could have done without the extended version of "Shout" that segued into "Stand By Me", but hell, when it's followed by a smashing version of "21 Guns" and a waterfall of of shower sparks so brilliant they're nearly blinding, one can't really complain.

Set list:

Song of the Century

21st Century Breakdown

Know Your Enemy

East Jesus Nowhere


Static Age

Before the Lobotomy

Are We the Waiting

St. Jimmy

Geek Stink Breath

Hitchin' A Ride

Brain Stew



Basket Case


King For A Day

Shout (Lulu cover)

21 Guns

American Eulogy


American Idiot

Jesus Of Suburbia

Boulevard Of Broken Dreams


Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)

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