Green Day

Photos by Mark Derricutt

Photos by Mark Derricutt

By Clare McCabe

Artist: Green Day

Date / Venue: Saturday May 13th, 2017 - Spark Arena, Auckland

Saturday night at Spark Arena. A thousand Green Day t-shirts. And a very enthusiastic audience. Let’s do this people.

First up we get the Interrupters –alittle ska punk from this tight quartet.  Super cute and great dancing.

But come on. Who do we really want to see?

Bohemian Rhapsody is teased out over the sound system. And wouldn’t you know it, the crowd sing along. What is this – a Wayne’s World flashback? The dancing rabbit (is that you Tre?) is having a great time jiving to a spot of Ramones.

And then Green Day run onto the stage. And we have lots of chums tonight. Not just our faves Billie Joe, Tre and Mike – but we get a couple of Jasons and a Jeff on guitar/backup vocals, keyboards and even a saxophone. Yes you heard me right.

“Do you know your enemy?” screams Billie Joe. And the crowd scream right along with him. There is a lot of bouncing going on both in the crowd and on stage. There is only one speed at a Green Day concert and it is set on HIGH.

Revolution Radio is up next. Flames are lit. Explosions happen. Mike makes great facial expressions and slams that bass around. There are even a few stage divers, encouraged heavily by Billie Joe obviously. He does love a good bit of audience participation that’s for sure.

They swing through Holiday and crowd fave 'Letterbomb'. Billie Joe drapes a New Zealand flag around his shoulders. The representative of New Zealand has the floor…. he sings.

And then the lighters are out for Boulevard of Broken Dreams. The audience is word perfect – at times Billie Joe doesn’t even need to sing his own lines. But what did you expect?

Longview gets an airing. A random guy gets invited to sing along and then throws himself into the crowd. This is old school people. My fave Minority is the loudest yet. There is an accordion. I think my voice is going.

Billie Joe drops his guitar and gets serious. Are We Waiting morphs into the fabulous St Jimmy. “I’m the patron saint of denial…” shouts Billie Joe as he runs around the stage. Saxophones are played. Mike plays faster. And Tre gets a quick drum solo.

Another volunteer is called for. And it is Sarah’s turn to shine. She gets to sing, she plays guitar, she even manages the co-coordinated jump at the end of the song. And then Billie Joe gives her HIS GUITAR. And the crowd slow-chant her name. Sar-ah. Sar-ah. Life changing moment right there.

But no time to dwell. So many songs left and so little time. Basket Case is met with a huge roar – we all know the words to this one. And then King For a Day and it all ramps up a notch in craziness. Mike has a spooky mask of his own head. Jason has some sort of Egyptian thing going on. There is a sax solo. At a Green Day concert. The band members are all down on the floor. Still playing. And Billie Joe is running through his favorite cover songs for the ultimate singalong. “Hey Jude, don’t bring me down…..”

Preach that rock n roll Billie Joe. And he does. “From Oakland to Auckland” he laughs. “I have always wanted to say that since we started coming here” and “Thank you for the last 30 years…”.

But they’re not ready to end this just yet. Those first familiar notes of American Idiot ring out and he doesn’t even need to sing the first verse as the fans pick it up for him. Idiot is swiftly followed by the wonderful, rambling beauty of Jesus of Suburbia.

And the best is saved for last. Billie Joe heads back on stage alone, grabs the acoustic and swings into Ordinary World from the new album. And then here it comes: “Another turning point, a fork stuck in the road…” More lighters from the crowd.

What a way to finish. Guys. I will pay good money just to hear Billie Joe play Good Riddance (Time of Your Life) on his little acoustic guitar. Every time.

The tight three give us a bow. Billie Joe says see you tomorrow night. I suspect there will be takers on that one.

And then confetti. The night is over. And what a night it was.

One big middle finger up to all the haters. Green Day are cool. And live they are insane. Go see them. And prepare for one big singalong.