I have a confession to make.
I've only seen Green Day live once.
I saw them as the opening band at Lollapalooza in 1994.
By saying I saw them as the opening band, I mean I hear them take the stage as we were battling our way into the sweltering August heat of Houston Raceway Park. They couldn't have been on stage for more than 20 minutes and their set included covers of "Eye of the Tiger" and "We're Not Gonna Take It."
Still, they set the tone for the day and made a good showing given their limited window.
At that point they were in that sweet spot between "Longview" and "Basket Case," and were becoming familiar on a national level thanks to heavy rotation on MTV (anyone remember that?).
For a while it seemed like Green Day would disappear with so many of their early 90s alt-brethren. Then a funny thing happened. George W. Bush was elected President, Billy Joe Armstrong got pissed and then he got political.
struck a chord and Green Day went from being an other Orange County punk band to being one of the biggest bands in the world.
I was forced to reexamine Green Day as my sons have started picking out music they like and to my surprise, and delight, Green Day is one of their favorite bands. They can pick out a Green Day song in about 3 notes.
So, the other day when I was at the public library (yes, I go there), I took a peek at the CD rack. The new asterisk heavy live album was on the rack. I didn't hesitate to check it out so I could check it out.
Here's your track list:
- 21st Century Breakdown - (London, England)
- Know Your Enemy - (Manchester, England)
- East Jesus Nowhere - (Glasgow, Scotland)
- Holiday - (Dublin, Ireland)
- Gloria - (Dallas, Texas)
- Cigarettes And Valentines - (Phoenix, Arizona)
- Burnout - (Irvine, California)
- Pasalaqua - (Chula Vista, California )
- JAR - (Detroit, Michigan - August 23rd 2010)
- Holden Caulfield - (New York, New York)
- Geek Stink Breath - (Saitama-shi, Japan)
- When I Come Around - (Berlin, Germany)
- She - (Brisbane, Australia - December 8th 2009)
- 21 Guns - (Mountain View, California)
- American Idiot - (Montreal, QUE)
- Wake Me Up - (Nickelsdorf, Austria)
- Good Riddance - (Nickelsdorf, Austria)
The set is a good collection of new and old songs. I also liked the mix of radio tracks and deeper album cuts. It highlights Billy Joe's strengths as both a songwriter and a frontman.
What you have here is a band at the height of its power. Billy Joe has found a voice that resonates. The band is strong and tight. The crowd is totally engrossed. That's the best you can hope for.
The album ends with an inspired melding of "Wake Me Up" and "Good Riddance." I've always thought "Good Riddance" signalled the end of the grunge era. Hearing it close out this excellent live set by one of the hardest working bands in the world just confirms that notion.
There was a DVD included with the CD. I didn't watch it. I probably should have.
I feel safe in saying there is something here for everyone, despite the album's R-Rated title.
Give it a listen.