Green Day's punk bona fides are sketchy at best, but it's hard to deny the rockers put on a heckuva show.
I have always loathed Green Day.
I was already an adult when they first came on the scene. Even though they were touted as being Punk, they never seemed authentic. I have only recently gotten into Punk and learned just what “Punk” is.
In spite of that, I instinctively knew that they didn’t qualify. Lead singer Billie Joe Armstrong trying to sound British certainly didn’t help. Nor did the fact that they seemed to try too hard to be odd and rebellious. Fortunately, I was in good company. None other than John Lydon holds the same opinion.
After a while, I began to soften towards them, but that budding interest was quashed in 2004. That year’s release of “American Idiot,” an attack on President George W. Bush and what became known as Red State America, breathed new life into their career.
Not for me.
That brief history brings us to the great chagrin I experienced when my daughter developed an intense interest in them. That led to me attending a Green Day concert at Duluth, Ga.’s Infinite Energy Arena March 10 with her.
In spite of the certainty that it would be a Trump Hateapalooza, I went in determined to put on a brave face for her.
I’ll get it out of the way at the outset: They put on a very entertaining show.
There was a lot of interaction with the crowd, even to the point of bringing two people onstage to sing, and another to play guitar. In fact, Armstrong gave his guitar to the girl who came up to play with them. They truly do seem to appreciate their fans.
The band’s set spanned the rockers’ career, from the very beginning to the present, which greatly demonstrated their evolution as a band. It also reminded me that, in spite of myself, there are quite a few of their songs I really like.
The musicianship was superb, with the core band being augmented by two additional musicians, both multi-instrumentalists. The more entertaining parts of the show involved their sax player, who also played the accordion. I wouldn’t consider that instrument to be even remotely Punk, unless one is playing the squeezebox as a member of The Pogues.
FAST FACT: Early in Green Day’s career three major labels (Geffen, Reprise and Columbia) saught to sign the rising band.
There were a lot fewer political jabs than expected. It was hypocritical, or at least dissonant that both of the speeches Armstrong gave were about love, unity and not letting politicians, suits, or “those people” divide “us.”
Of course, he later shouted “F*** Donald Trump,” during “American Idiot.”
I was prepared for that.
There was also a time during “Holiday,” where Armstrong cried “No Trump,” after he shouted “No racism, no sexism, no homophobia”. It also sounded like they shouted “F*** Trump” during the choruses of “Revolution Radio,” but I couldn’t quite tell.
Looking at the crowd, there were a lot of people there who were my age, which really shouldn’t surprise me, because the band members are in their 40s now. The guy wearing an NRA shirt and another wearing a Chris Kyle Foundation shirt are proof that not all heroes wear capes.
I had jokingly threatened to get a MAGA (Make America Great Again) cap to wear to the show, but had promised not to cause trouble for my daughter. I’m proud to say that I made good on that promise.
In summary, it was a really great show. If you can put politics aside, I believe that any conservative could mostly enjoy it. However, if you are considering taking your kids, which many of the adults who I saw did, be warned that there is a lot of swearing.
P.S. Green Day’s new album, “Revolution Radio,” is really good.
Craig R. is a dabbler in many things but has a serious music habit. Please follow him on Twitter at @craigr3521