Arts & Style

Green Day leads politically charged concert at Barclays Center

Bassist Dirnt, along with Armstrong and Cool, united a politically divided crowd at the Barclays Center on March 15.

“Rock ‘n’ Roll will change the world,” exclaimed Green Day frontman Billie Joe Armstrong. Armstrong preached that whether a person is liberal or conservative, black or white or gay or straight, rock ‘n’ roll will unite everyone, and together the world will sing, dance, laugh and cry. One thing is sure—Armstrong can definitely keep his promises.

From the opening drum salvo of the politically charged anthem “Know Your Enemy,” to the somber final chords of the ballad “Good Riddance (Time of Your Life),” the Barclays Center was partying with Green Day.

Green Day has been rocking arenas and taking names since 1986, a feat Armstrong does not want fans to forget, and the band shows no signs of slowing down.

The trio of guitarist/singer Armstrong, bassist Mike Dirnt and drummer Tre Cool released its 12th studio album Revolution Radio on Oct. 7, 2016, and was highly praised by fans and critics alike. The band has since toured in support of the album, starting with shows at intimate venues such as Webster Hall, continuing overseas in Europe and culminating with a North American arena tour.

Green Day is out to prove that it still has the magic that made them a five-time Grammy Award-winning act, and an inductee into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Green Day hit it big in 1994 after the release of its third studio release, Dookie. The album, which captured the essence of teenage boredom, angst and “pleasure,” went on to be certified Diamond, which means it sold over 10 million records. After follow-up releases Insomniac and Nimrod in 1995 and 1997, respectively, the band began to take a different approach to its music, ditching the simple punk aspects that made it famous, opting instead for more complex music that borrowed elements from ska and folk genres.

After the release of its underrated 2000 album Warning, itproved that it was heading in a much different direction musically. However, the band began losing credibility and fans, who claimed that Green Day lost its magic. However, when it released its 2004 politically charged rock opera, American Idiot, the band members proved that they were not done just yet—in fact, they were just starting up again.

They released 21st Century Breakdown in 2009 to even more rave reviews and critical acclaim and, in 2012, released a trifecta of albums, ¡Uno! ¡Dos! and ¡Tre! which polarized fans and critics alike. It was that year that Armstrong had a famous meltdown at the MTV Video Music awards and checked himself into rehab, delaying the subsequent 99 Revolutions Tour for several months.

On April 7, 2013, Green Day brought its act to the Barclays Center for the first time. The show was full of energy, with Armstrong shooting water guns into the crowd and straying away from politics. Green Day played all the hits, but something was missing.

Even though the show was filled with energy and had a fantastic set list, it was missing the punch that made it famous. However, that all changed with President Donald Trump.

The campaign and subsequent election of Trump infuriated members of the band, and it shows on their newest album. The songs on the album and the overall theme of the album point to revolution, something the trio has not been afraid to advocate on the platform it has been given.

The band took it further during the 2016 American Music Awards, when it led a chant of “No Trump, No KKK, No Fascist USA” during a performance of its song “Bang Bang” from the new album. The political fire that brought it back to the top with American Idiot returned to the band.

When the band brought the act back to Brooklyn on March 15, there was something about it different than its show the first time. After a performance of the political anthem “Know Your Enemy,” the band performed the new songs “Bang Bang,” “Revolution Radio” and the 2004 hit “Holiday” to set the tone for the show.

The crowd automatically knew that this was not just another concert. Before a performance of “Letterbomb,” Armstrong delivered the aforementioned unification address, before singing “it’s not over ‘till you’re underground,” an obvious attempt to inspire a revolution of sorts.

The band launched into its deep catalogue of hits such as “Boulevard of Broken Dreams,” Dookie hits, such as “Longview”—which Armstrong invited a fan to sing—and even covers such as Operation Ivy’s “Knowledge.” There was even a jam session in which the members laid down on the floor and covered “Hey Jude” and “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction.”

After 26 songs, the band left the stage and returned for its encore, which included hits “American Idiot” and “Jesus of Suburbia.” The show closed with acoustic performances of “Ordinary World” and “Good Riddance,” and the crowd went home pleased after a great night of music, reflection and fun.

Only Green Day can lead a politically charged concert and unite a politically divided crowd, and it did so in style.

April 3, 2017

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