Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Do You Have The Time To Listen To Me Whine? Green Day at ACL Moody Theater, 3/15/13

Nope. I've got nothing.
I reviewed Green Day's SXSW gig for the following day's Austin Chronicle. It looked good after editing, but I preferred what I originally wrote. Here's the raw, uncut review:

Green Day
ACL Moody Theater, Friday

It's 11:21 PM, Friday, 3/15/13. Mrs. Armstrong, do you know where your son, Billie Joe, is? If you're reading this Saturday morning, he's probably still onstage, exhorting, "C'MOOONNN, TEXAAAAAS! GET YOUR HANDS IN THE AIR!!!"

Green Day 2013 is a very different band from Green Day 1993. That band pulled up to Emo's in a used bookmobile, loaded minimal equipment onto the stage themselves, and unleashed several short sharp shocks that suggested the Buzzcocks or Generation X with a bratty sense of humor. Then they encored with "My Generation" segued into "Jessie's Girl," chasing off the punkier-than-thou Chronicle reviewer. Dookie, American Idiot, rock stardom and punk rock finally going Top 40 in America were in the future.

Fast-forward to 2013. Green Day is now established as mega almost 20 years, and are still decidedly punk rock. But since the audience would now fill several Emos, the scale of everything gets bigger and more grandiose. Which does not mean they suck. Quite the contrary. It just means there's more space to fill, and farther seats to reach.

Green Day 2013 still acts like 19-year-olds who just discovered The Clash. They still stand as a united frontline, Billie Joe still whips himself into a Strummer-like frenzy, their songs still get arranged as a series of dynamic explosions. But now, in a theater as opposed to a grotty punk rock pit, things take a more Springsteenian scale. The quartet (longtime supplemental touring guitarist Jason White now being as official as Billie Joe, bassist Mike Dirnt, and drummer Tre Cool) now employs supplemental keyboards and yet another auxiliary singer/guitarist. Most songs get extended to epics of audience handclapping, drops in volume to induce singalongs, Billie Joe exhortations to "GET YOUR HANDS IN THE FUCKING AAAIIIRRRR!!!"

Yet the impish spirit of 1993 is not lost. Three times, Billie Joe drags audience members up: A young teen on "Know Your Enemy" rewarded with a sloppy Billie Joe mouth-kiss, then urged to stage-dive; a woman translating lyrics into sign language; another kid handed the mic for an off-key 3rd verse on "Longview," the first big hit (and again urged to stagedive). Somewhere in the middle, songs devolve into brief, Replacements-style snotty covers of "Sweet Child O' Mine," "Highway To Hell," the Isley Brothers' "Shout," even "Hey, Jude!" (I fully expected the return of "Jessie's Girl.") Then, somewhere in the middle, a familiar blue Japanese Stratocaster copy materializes around Billie Joe's neck: "I wrote this song in 1993. It's called 'Burn Out!'" Thus unleashing the hits which made them: "Basket Case," "Welcome To Paradise," all played (save "Longview") in the stripped-down/revved-up arrangements the world fell in love with.

Bite my lip and close my eyes. Take me away to paradise. Now on a tour bus, not a bookmobile. Green Day proves punk can be epic and fill stadiums, and still make you sneer and pogo. Just make sure to GET YOUR HANDS IN THE AIRRRRR!!!

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