Green Day have bought their Revolution Radio tour to our Australian shores and tonight it is Sydneys turn to witness this operatic music spectacular. As I make my way along the Parramatta river to Olympic Park, I take some time to reflect on how monumental this band has been in my gig going career. It was 1998 at the Roundhouse I first encountered a Green Day show and I have been going to them ever since, always leaving the venue saying that was awesome, I expect tonight will be no different.
Green Day for me in so many ways, are just like the classic Chuck Taylor, a signature look and style that is unmistakable. Tonight as they stepped out on stage in that signature look they own and wear so well, things got going straight away with their signature sound and stage show with the song Do You Know Your Enemy. Right off the bat a young audience member was pulled on stage to sing the chorus with her idols as fire works and flames shot out. And just like that Green Day had opened the show making one big gigantic statement of ‘we came here tonight to put on one of the greatest rock shows this sold out arena has ever seen.’
From then on in it was just non stop as Billie Joe would constantly engage the crowd, amping things up along with Bassist Mike Dirnt and drummer Tré Cool, who must be cool as ice as for I was midway back on the floor and I could feel the heat off the flames that kept shooting up from right beside his drum kit. Each one of these guys are accomplished musicians and each one would get to showcase their skills in solos that just rocked. Of course you can’t perform a show of this size and scope with out a little help so on guitar we had a long time friend of Billie Jo’s from his glam metal days in a band called Sweet. Also a back up vocalist/guitarist and an accordion player who also played Sax. Yep you read that right an accordion player, because it ain’t punk or rock if you don’t have an accordion player who got his own saxophone solo, lol.
Caring what other’s think of your opinion isn’t a real punk sentiment, so when people say to me Green Day can’t be punk and play an arena, I disagree with them. Green Day still play the songs I grew up with whose meaning and impact on me is just as profound here live tonight. In this arena and when making the usual statements of anti-homophobia, anti-racism, anti-conformity and most of all anti-Trump, I don’t see the message Billie Joe is sending as being watered down, I see 20,000 people receiving it and being united by it. Perhaps I should quote the man himself as for he said it best“Tonight we have unity in music.”, We sure do. Go see this show an experience unity in music on an arena level. In the song, Boulevard Of Broken dreams the lyrics go ‘And I’m the only one and I walk alone. I walk alone ‘ but tonight as cell phones lit up the arena in that moment and the voices of us misfits were heard, we were anything but alone.
Green Day have an amazing back catalogue of music and tonight they played practically every single hit from it. What I love is seeing how generational the audience is as tiny kids with industrial headphones sat on parent’s shoulders, you have parents up the back whilst their young adolescence kids are down the front exerting the energy of youth. Then you have a punter like myself whose old enough to have Dookie as one the first cd’s he ever bought for his collection. Its so great to hear so many of the tracks I grew up loving and still do, now living on in the younger punk rockers. This was so proven as a young boy was pulled out of the crowd placed in front of 20,000 plus people, and then he belted out the lyrics to Longview and before the band finished the last note, he dives right off the stage. Wow! He will remember that live music experience for the rest of his life.
As the main set draws to a close after the crazy stage antics during King For Day followed by an amazing mash up melody that featured Shout, Dominated love Slave, Always Look on the Bright Side of Life, (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction, Careless Whisper, Who Can It Be Now and Hey Jude, things ended with Forever Now from Revolution Radio, but we all know that isn’t it. They come back out and hit us with American Idiot, followed by most amazing performance of Jesus Of Suburbia I ever witnessed. Then just as I thought things have officially ended the band exits and the spotlight shines on Billie Joe alone with his acoustic. He does Ordinary World, for me the song comes across just as intimate and heartfelt as when he plays it to Selma Blair in the scene from the movie with the same.
After being absolutely moved by that song it is time for the real ending and it is their signature show finisher Time Of Your Life. As I stand there showered in Green Day confetti (it has the word Green Day on it) Billie Joe puts a new verse in the song ‘I Guess We Will Haft To See You Tomorrow Night‘ and you sure will.
Review – Chad
Photos – Christian Ross