Green Day: Still touring and still terrifc

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Last Wednesday is likely the last time Green Day plays to less than 20,000 people for a very long time. Wrapping up the first leg of their “Revolution Radio” tour, which is in support of the new album of the same name, the band played to a packed-to-the-brim crowd of 2,100.

From the day it was announced in early September, it was known that this would be no ordinary show. All tickets were will call only, drastically reducing the possibility of scalpers profiting off of the show. St. Louis was also supposed to be the opening night of this intimate tour.

A bout of illness that plagued the entire band and crew put a kink in those plans, and after rerouting, the show now became the last show, a month later than it was supposed to originally take place.

That time made the anticipation grow even more, so much so that fans started lining up at 7 a.m. the morning of the show for the opportunity of getting on the rail. By the time doors opened 12 hours later, the line wrapped all the way around the block that The Pageant sits on. Inside, the venue had a vibe that was unlike anything else.

Fans aged everywhere from 10 to 60 had a collective shock that they had actually scored tickets, and that they were seeing Green Day in a venue a fraction of the size they normally would play.

Before the lights went dark for the night’s main act, the crowd was warmed up by the duo Dog Party. Their punk sound had a sunny twist to it, that made perfect sense given their Southern California origins. Ripping through song after song, each never lasting more than two minutes, the two sisters that comprise the band showcased snarky lyrics and an ability to seamlessly switch vocal duties constantly.

It was the perfect way to start the evening, and seemed to serve as an ode to what Green Day might have looked like if they were taken on a massive tour by an established band in their early days.

After a half-hour wait, the speakers blared Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody,” the universal sign to Green Day fans that the show is about to start. After a giant sing-along with Freddie Mercury and company, the band ran on to the stage to the punk rock national anthem, “Blitzkrieg Bop” by Te Ramones and in no time at all ripped into “Know Your Enemy.”

It was obvious from the very start that Green Day are no newcomers to entertaining a crowd. Lead singer Billie Joe Armstrong would lead them in a call and response of some sort in nearly every other song. He brought a young fan up to stage dive, and an older woman up to sing the third verse of “Longview.” Each of these actions brought a riotous reaction from the crowd, all of whom were hanging on the band’s every action.

The most visible response, however, came from the music. Their new album “Revolution Radio” was featured in the early 1-2 punch of “Bang Bang” and the title track. From the response of the crowd, one would think these were time tested classics. Speaking of which, one of the best stretches of the shows was when the big stage antics were traded in for straightforward punk.

Songs that have rarely been played by the band since the early 2000s such as “Going to Pasalacqua” and “Christie Road” were dusted off at The Pageant much to the crowd’s delight.

Moments like these songs were what made the night so special, giving glimpses into Green Day’s start in Berkeley, California and the legendary 924 Gilman Street venue. And although the band is in a much different place than they were in 1989 when “Pasalacqua” was first played, they ran through these old songs with a passion and veracity that is hard to emulate.

After this stretch of oldies, the band ripped into hit after hit for the last hour of the show. From Mike Dirnt’s instantly recognizable bass lines on “When I Come Around” and “She” to the ridiculous saxophone solo on “King for a Day” to the raucousness that is “St. Jimmy,” the show was truly a definitive lesson in Green Day’s history. They left the stage two hours after starting, ending with “Forever Now,” one of the standout tracks of their newest album.

There was no way that this was the final curtain call, with the band returning a few minutes later to rip through “American Idiot,” which seemed to ring true in this election cycle, and “Jesus of Suburbia,” the perfect anthem for everyone who has experienced youthful angst.

The show then ended with just Billie Joe and a guitar playing “Ordinary World” and “Good Riddance,” and as Billie wished for in the final song, it is safe to say that everyone who was at the show had the time of their life.