Reviews – Green Day @ Rod Laver Arena 16/12/2009

Published on on 16/12/2009. All photographs included in this review were taken by Lillian Altman.

Green Day made a return to Australia at the tail end of their ‘21st Century Breakdown’ tour after not having toured here since December 2005. Their Australian tour consisted of eight shows, before they headed off to New Zealand.

I had to settle for their second (unplanned) Melbourne concert as the first concert sold out in less than ten minutes. This second performance was intended to be an epic three-hour show; unfortunately, not everything went as planned and the concert was postponed due to front man Billie Joe Armstrong being sick, in what was suspected to have been food poisoning. He admitted to this at the concert with the words: “A certain someone had the runs!”

Luckily, ticket-holders only had to wait an extra day.

The supporting act for the night was Melbourne band, Jet. Jet consists of brothers Nic (guitars and vocals) and Chris (Drums, backing vocals) Cester, Cam Muncey (lead guitar, backing vocals) and Mark Wilson (Bass, keyboard).

Jet played a 45–minute set consisting of animal antics and lots of toilet paper! They played an energetic set, although there wasn’t much interaction with the audience.

Unfortunately, they only performed 2-3 songs from their most recent release, Shaka Rock, including its debut single, ‘She’s a Genius’.

The highlight of their performance was when they played ‘Are You Gonna Be My Girl’, in which they were joined on stage by male strippers wearing nothing but underwear (I’ll leave the rest to your imagination…) and people dressed up in animal costumes, including a kangaroo, a pig and a pink bunny. Rumour has it that the gatecrashing animals were the members of Green Day, pumping themselves up for their performance.

At one stage the bunny pulled out some sort of contraption and was shooting toilet paper onto the band members and into the crowd. Nic continued singing with toilet paper wrapped around his neck much like a scarf.

Halfway through their performance confetti fell onto the crowd marked with the words ‘Green Day’ and pictures of 21st Century Breakdown (their latest album) skulls. There was so much confetti falling down you couldn’t see the band.

The transition, in the midst of a confetti cascade, of the stage from Jet’s setup to Green Day’s was amazing. Jet had a simple setup: a raised drum kit in the centre of the stage and black banner hanging from the roof with the word ‘JET’ printed on it in gold. As they finished their set, with ‘Cold Hard Bitch’, roadies came onto the stage and disbanded their equipment and props.

At this point, Green Day’s equipment rose up from underneath the stage as the backdrop descended from the roof to reveal a large flat screen.

Many fans had skipped out on seeing Jet, arriving just in time to see Green Day playing, making it a full house. The mosh pit got tighter as fans moved forward to get as close as they could to the front.

The members of Green Day: Billie Joe Armstrong (lead vocals, guitar), Tre Cool (drums, percussion, backing vocals), Mike Dirnt (bass, backing vocals) and regular touring members Jason White and Jason Freese entered the stage.

Billie Joe, wearing his signature attire of black jeans, black shirt and red tie headed straight to the front of the stage. He started the night by draping himself in an Aussie flag and then launched into a song. The energetic performance, lasting 2.5 hours, consisted of music from most of the albums and EPs of their twenty-year + career.

The backdrops were mesmerising, including Melbourne’s cityscape, artwork from their 21st Century Breakdown album, the words ‘Green Day’ flashing in various colours and an American flag. And, of course, various images of the band (live and archive) and live shots of the crowd intermittently adorned the big screen.

Even better was the band’s interaction with the crowd. At various points throughout the performance, Billie Joe invited members of the audience to come up onstage and let some of them sing along with him. He also encouraged some of them to jump off the stage and crowd surf their way back into the mosh pit. One fan handed him some plastic devil ears, which he put on straight away. Another handed him a shirt that said ‘I Love Melbourne’; he held it up in the air parading it to the rest of the audience.

The security guards interaction with the crowd was pleasing too. On the day of the concert, the weather was a whooping 39°C and it didn’t help that there was flames being shot out of the stage. This, combined with the sheer length of the concert, could have made for an excruciating evening but the security guards armed themselves with bottles of water and made sure people in the front area of the mosh were kept hydrated.

Green Day themselves helped to keep the temperature bearable, cooling down the crowd with water guns and water pistols throughout the night.

Throughout the performance, picks and drumsticks were thrown out to the crowd as souvenirs. Fortunately, the people in the seats did not miss as Billie Joe shot four T-shirts out to them via an air gun.

After a quick intermission about half way throughout their performance, Green Day returned to the stage dressed up in costumes: Billie Joe, wearing a blue police hat and red feather boa; Mike wearing white thick framed glasses, black with silver glitter cat ears; and Tre wearing a ladies hat and a red bra over his shirt.

The costume change must have unleashed some untapped creative energies, because the performance that followed of the song ‘King For A Day’ was the highlight of the night. Billie Joe announced: “I have a sneaking suspicion something very bizarre is about to happen” then launched into ‘King for a Day’ as members of Jet and their posse of male strippers joined them onstage.

After the strippers left the stage, Green Day launched into their usual rendition of ‘Shout’ with the added bonus of the ‘Stand By Me’ and The Rolling Stones ‘Satisfaction’ chorus.

Billie Joe brought out the harmonica towards the end of the concert, and played an acoustic rendition of ‘Good Riddance (Time of your Life)’, the only way the song should ever be played or heard!

Once again the toilet paper contraption and confetti were brought out during Green Day’s performance. There was so much confetti and toilet paper on the floor that by the time everyone had left the mosh pit at the end of the night, you could hardly see the floor.

In comparison to their last tour here, the performance, although similar in style, was much upped a notch. Although Billie Joe encouraged the crowd with the exact phrases he used last time, however, much more interaction with the audience was incorporated into the show. For example, in the previous tour, only three audience members were allowed on stage to play the bands instruments.

I have to say it was the best concert I’ve ever been to. You’re thinking ‘she probably says that after every concert she goes to,’ but it truly was the only concert I’ve been to where as soon as I left I felt as though I had withdrawal symptoms, wishing to be in that mosh pit watching one of my favourite bands yet again….

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