Green Day

Photos by Len Panecki

Photos by Len Panecki

By Jason Beardsley

Artist: Green Day

Date / Venue: Friday May 5th, 2017 - Rod Laver Arena, Melbourne

On the walk to Rod Laver Arena I’m blown away by the several generations of fans that Green Day have connected with in their 31 year career. There are kids as young as 5 walking hand in hand with their parents branding green hair, Mohawks, black clothing with punk tees. A busker in a serious looking rabbit suit belting out ‘Welcome to Paradise’ on his guitar solidified the excitement as we entered the front lawn of the Arena, currently putting the finishing touches on a multi million dollar upgrade.

As we enter the Arena, L.A band The Interrupters bring their unique blend of Ska Punk to the eager Melbourne audience. Singer Aimee Interrupter commands their attention, engaging them in every word of their lyrics, moving to every beat that just makes your body move uncontrollably. Her voice reaches every corner of the arena effortlessly such is the power in her voice. The musicianship and interaction between all members of the band make you feel like you are as much a part of the performance as they are. Their sound is more than just the relationship between Ska and Punk. There’s Reggae blended smoothly into this blend with Melodic Punk becoming the icing on the cake. All of a sudden you come to the realization that you have had so much fun already that their blazing 30 minute set has already run its course.

After a quick look at all the merchandise on offer from both acts and soaking up the atmosphere in the arena we make our way back onto the floor to secure our spot for what lies ahead. Tonight’s show has been sold out for quite some time. There is a unique sense of family and unity amongst the thousands of fans. We’re in safe hands.

Queen’s timeless classic ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ starts to fill the arena. Every Green Day fan in the building are in full voice singing at the top of their lungs. The theatrics begin when a pink bunny is thrown out onto the stage to aid the final countdown to the headline act, amping the crowd with Ramones favourite ‘Blitzkrieg Bop’. ‘Hey Ho, Lets Go!’

The curtains drop and Billie, Tre’, Mike and the gang storm the stage, tearing into 21st century breakdowns ‘Know Your Enemy’ with all the pyrotechnics left in the city. Many of us have dreamed of joining our favourite bands on stage and tonight a few of those dreams came true. The first of which, a young girl, pulled on stage to sing before jumping into the arms of the adoring fans.

It comes to my immediate attention that the sound is perfect. I can make out every note of every instrument, being complimented by the powerhouse rhythm section of Mike Dirnt and Tre’ Cool.

‘I’m tired of the lies, tired of the corruption, tired of the conspiracy theories!. Tonight is about unity, do you hear me!?’ declares Billie Joe Armstrong to the passionate fans that stand with their fists raised. A united front.

Green Day’s set was something for the ages tonight. Their energy was unrivaled. The band powers through ‘Bang Bang’ and the albums title track ‘Revolution Radio’ before we start going back in time to the Grammy Award winning era of American Idiot. Sending a strong message of ‘no racism, no sexism and no Donald f%#king Trump!’ before the set descends into ‘Holiday’, and an incredible heartfelt sing along to ‘Boulevard Of Broken Dreams’, the fans drowning out the band with every word. We are transported back to the beginning, much to the delight of the old old school Green Day fans as the band take us through my childhood favourite’s such as ‘Longview’, ‘When I Come Around’ and a special rendition of ‘2000 Light Years Away’.

As the band perform my personal favourite ‘Are We The Waiting’. I take a breath and look around the arena. I notice that every person in the room is on their feet, their arms in the air. Screaming every lyric at the top of their lungs like they own it. Front man Billie Joe has them in the palm of his hand. After all this time its an incredible feat to have so much energy and passion. To still see a fire in their belly, standing up for what they believe in. It dawns on me that what Billie declared earlier in the set about tonight’s show being about Unity was ringing true. He adds, ‘There is no normal in today's world’. ‘Thank god for Australia, you guys f#%king get it’. We all come from messed up backgrounds. We need to have each others backs more than ever right now’.

It feels like family in this arena and we all feel blessed to be part of it.

It only felt right that the fans were treated to the song that took a jab at post 9/11 conservatism that became mainstream, ‘American Idiot’, followed by the epic ‘Jesus of Suburbia’ that is a rock opera on its own. It makes sense that ‘American Idiot’ was taken to the Broadway stage.

As the feeling of contentment sinks in, Billie Joe returns to the stage one last time with his acoustic guitar. His voice soars through Rod Laver to one of the bands most recognised and loved hits ‘Good Riddance (Time of your life)’.

This was more than just a punk rock show. The band are still in their prime and this performance I will treasure for the rest of my life. The connection this passionate family of Green Day fans have with the music is what music is meant to be about. A rock show can change the world.

CLICK HERE TO VIEW THE FULL GREEN DAY GALLERY BY LEN PANECKI