Fans waited in line from as early as 3am to get inside Irving Plaza and be up close, at the barricade, to witness Green Day performing at relatively tiny venue for a band capable of selling out arenas. The band had first played the venue in 1994 on St. Patrick’s Day, an event that concluded with green vomit covering the floor (the fault may not lay entirely with the band). But come 2012, in front of the cameras at this launch event presented by Nokia Music/AT&T, Green Day’s new generation of fans managed to leave the floor comparably much cleaner.
Openers Lipstick Homicide, members of the younger generation, gave the crowd a good warm up and their cover of the Ramones’ “Blitzkreig Bop” had everyone singing along. Billie Joe Armstrong was so enthused he dashed onto the stage to grab some pictures of the trio.
After Lipstick’s set, the audience patiently awaited Green Day, who finally came out and began the night with the Dookie classic “Welcome to Paradise”. But it wasn’t long before they belted out new songs from the forthcoming albums. ¡Uno! opener, “Nuclear Family, began a streak of new, soon-to-be-hit, material including the dance party single, “Kill the DJ, written in New York, and “Oh Love”. They then went back to 2004’s American Idiot for “Holiday” before Billie Joe Armstrong gave an explanation as to why this wasn’t a party but a celebration.
And of course this show was a celebration of sorts. With the first of their trilogy of albums out within the month, Green Day have a lot to be proud of. It’s amazing that, despite their massive success, the band does not carry a big head. When it comes to their fans, Green Day give them everything, even during with intimate performances (at least in New York and Los Angeles), as tonight’s performance went over two and a half hours.
The band teased a cover of “Stairway to Heaven” at one point and made a joke about the TV show America’s Got Talent which they performed on the same week. During “King for a Day”, which included “Shout”, Armstrong, Mike Dirnt and Tre Cool adorned themselves with frivolous novelties, invited out a saxophonist and had some silly fun.
Somewhere along the way, as might happen when you play over thirty songs, Green Day had gotten “off-script”. But as they got back on track, the band sent a subliminal message—one well timed for an election year and the one year anniversary of the Occupy Wall Street movement.
Green Day closed out with two political anthems, “American Idiot”, from 2004, and the newer, “99 Revolutions”. While Armstrong has acknowledged that he counts amongst the 1%, he shares his sympathies with the 99% (“How the fuck did the working stiff / become so obsolete?”). I’m pretty sure I can guess what ballot he will punch come Election Day.
1. Welcome To Paradise
2. Murder City
3. Know Your Enemy
4. Nuclear Family
5. Stay the Night
6. Stop When the Red Lights Flash
7. Carpe Diem
8. Let Yourself Go
9. Kill the DJ
10. Oh Love
13. Hitchin’ a Ride
16. Highway To Hell / Crazy Train (snippets)
17. Brain Stew
18. St. Jimmy
19. Boulevard of Broken Dreams
20. 2000 Light Years Away
21. Only of You
22. Disappearing Boy (with Stairway to Heaven and Sweet Home Alabama tagged)
23. Christie Road
24. Coming Clean
25. 409 In Your Coffeemaker
26. J.A.R. (Jason Andrew Relva)
28. Stuck With Me
29. At the Library
30. Paper Lanterns
31. When I Come Around
34. King for a Day
35. Shout / (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction
36. Wake Me Up When September Ends
37. American Idiot
38. 99 Revolutions