Green Day at Madison Square Garden
Thousands of fans packed NYC’s biggest venue for two evenings of stellar punk rock courtesy of a band heralded as this generation’s U2, and judging by the audience reaction at MSG, the band is more than worthy of the moniker.
The band is currently on tour supporting their latest release “21st Century Breakdown,” so it wasn’t surprising that the set list skewed heavily towards the band’s last two records—at least for most of the first hour. While “Holiday” and “Song of the Century” are tremendous tunes, there was some worry that Green Day was going to pull a Beastie Boys and ingore their earlier work. Boy was I wrong. Starting with “2000 Light Years Away” the band tore through every hit from “Dookie,” played a heavy version of “Brain Stew/Jaded,” and punctuated the old school set with “She” and “Disappearing Boy.”
Singer Billie Joe Armstrong flew around the stage like the East Bay’s version of Bruce Dickinson, shouting endlessly for the crowd to sing-a-long and dragging fans on stage to grab the microphone. Mike Dirnt pounded on his bass from stage left, smirking at the crowd, and running around any time Armstrong left his perch at center stage. Tre Cool made a short run out on to the cat walk at the start of the three-hour set, but was lost behind his drums through most of the performance, not that the man ever missed a beat.
A few years back, when Green Day was riding a short downhill battle with mediocrity (see “Warning”), the band played a package show with Blink 182. Blink, at the time, were on top of the world, riding a wave created by bands like Green Day and Rancid. I’ll never forget how passionate and enthused Green Day were in the opening spot. They killed it in every way, generating so much buzz that it wasn’t cliche to call their show electric. Then Blink 182 stunk the place up.
Watching the band on the biggest stage on the East Coast Monday night, I couldn’t help but be happy for a band that seems made to entertain the masses and seem to honestly enjoy doing what they do best—ROCK. The energy from Armstrong, Dirnt, Cool, and the rest of the unamed musicians that make up the Green Day live show is so intense that the band just can’t fail to blow fans away. Maybe in 20 years we might be calling Green Day this generation’s Rolling Stones. If they keep up this pace, they will more than deserve the honor.