In some ways I think I am the wrong person to write this review. I’ve been listening to Green Day since I was 12 years old. As such, I may be a little bit biased. So be it. This band have been shaking the earth with heartfelt punk rock for over 25 years. Now in their 40s, nothing has let up for Billie Joe, Mike and Tre Cool. Canons, fire and antics aplenty: the Revolution Radio tour is a genuine rock show – the way they were meant to be.
California ska punkers The Interrupters opened proceedings dead on time at 7pm. Shuffling, sliding and skanking their way through a blistering half hour set, it’s not hard to see how their tunes have broken the 1 million streams barrier on Spotify several times. Frontwoman Amy Interrupter sure has a set of pipes and she certainly isn’t afraid to use them. This is old school ska punk akin to Rancid and The Dropkick Murphys. This is the kind of ska that makes you want to shake your ass and raise your fist all at once. And of course, you scream along.
Green Day came out all guns blazing with “Know Your Enemy” from 21st Century Breakdown. From there it was an all-out assault on the senses. This is a punk rock show the way the pioneers designed it – fucking loud and political as hell. A short way into the set Billie Joe screams, “No racism, no sexism and no Donald Trump.”
Punk Rock was never meant to be moody and emotional. Johnnies Rotten and Ramone wanted to use the establishment’s weapons against them. So they used bubblegum pop chord progressions, distorted the hell out of them and sang about why trusting the government was a bad idea. In the 70s Punk was a cause as much as it was a musical genre. The Pop Punk and Emo styles of the 2000s largely watered that element out of the music, choosing to use the musical style to lyrically explore the human condition rather than any developed political message.
What has permeated all of Green Day’s work is a mistrust for anything that seeks to control a person’s thoughts. Religion, politics and corporations have all copped their fair share from Billie Joe over the years. Last night was no exception. As expected, Donald Trump received a few choice insults. His soliloquies were frequent but always pointed. After a short monologue about how rock and roll music can save the world, Billie Joe expressed his fondness for Australia, “Thank fuck for Australia, you guys get it.”
The raw energy that these guys can muster is something to behold. Several fans made it onstage and one was even gifted one of Billie’s guitars. Every album was represented with rip roaring punk showmanship. “Minority” from 2000’s Warning caused the circle pit to peak and recent radio success story “Still Breathing” from Revolution Radio put a full stop on the main set. The highlight of the evening for me was a rendition of “2000 Light Years Away” from 1992’s Kerplunk. Before beginning this track Billie asked, “Are there any old school Green Day fans here?” Of course, every 15 year old screamed. But when the song cranked up, there were but a handful of us singing.
For an encore we were treated to the obligatory vitriol of “American Idiot”, followed by the Billie in acoustic mode rolling out the last track on Revolution Radio, “Ordinary World”. And just when we though the dream was over, to say thank you and goodnight, he played “Time Of Your Life” as all the Seinfeld fans in the audience shed a tear.
Photo taken in Perth by Duncan Barnes.
Green Day continue their Australian and New Zealand tour dates below.
May 5th | Rod Laver Arena, MELBOURNE | SOLD OUT
May 6th | Rod Laver Arena, MELBOURNE
May 8th | Brisbane Entertainment Centre, BRISBANE
May 10th | Qudos Bank Arena, SYDNEY | SOLD OUT
May 11th | Qudos Bank Arena, SYDNEY
May 13th | Spark Arena (fka Vector Arena), AUCKLAND | SOLD OUT
May 14th | Spark Arena (fka Vector Arena), AUCKLAND