By: Missy Sorg
For starters, let me apologize. I know we have a much more experienced and versed writer who normally covers our music write ups. However, when in Rome? (Or in this case the Petersen Events Center?)
If you’re not aware, Green Day was in town on March 25th. When they announced their tour dates – and a stop in Pittsburgh, my sister thought it would be a great birthday present for me (granted a birthday present I would need to redeem a few months after the fact). Summed up? The show was as good as I expected it to be. From top to bottom, it moved seamlessly and effortlessly. Billie Joe and company are the quintessential performers. Singing. Dancing. Shenanigans. Crowd interactions. The show had it all, and then some.
Against Me! kicked things off with a 35-ish-minute set. The events center was filling in pretty well while they played. While there was a mosh pit area set up in front of the stage, there wasn’t much movement. It was pretty clear that the fans were there to see Green Day.
Over all, Against Me! was a great match to open the show. While I had a little bit of difficulty making out lyrics, I was impressed enough to check them out on Google Music after the fact. I will definitely be adding them to my regular playlist.
The break between bands was a great opportunity to check out the crowd. Before Green Day took the stage many of the seats had filled in, and the mosh pit area had doubled in size. Perusing the crowd, it was obvious there was a good mix. There were fans old enough to be my parents. There were middle-aged couples adorned in Dookie t-shirts. There were parents who brought their teenage children – not to drop them off or chaperone them, but to share in the experience with them as fans.
From the moment the lights dimmed signaling Green Day’s start to the encore set at the end of the show the Petersen Events Center was filled with sparks and fire (quite literally). Billie Joe brought up the first of three fans within the first five minutes, giving him a hug and a microphone. Two other fans had their time in the spotlight later in the show – including a teenage girl who was celebrating her Sweet 16. The crowd (and Billie Joe) had a bit of a surprise as she rushed over to Mike Dirnt for a hug. Turns out she plays the bass, as was evidenced when Billie Joe presented her with the guitar as a birthday gift. Her request for a bass guitar was met with a “Tough. You’re getting a guitar.” He even included a silver lining, “You get two extra strings.”
The band took us through not only their own discography, but a handful of covers as well. Billie Joe performed “Hey Jude” while lying down on stage before leading a fun crowd sing-along of “Shout.” While some fans were dismayed by the medley of covers, which also included “Careless Whisper” and “Satisfaction,” the general consensus was one of approval.
Getting back to the literal sparks and fire – Green Day has put on a solid show every time I have seen them. This show was no different. The stage was set with over-the-top pyro. Flames shot up into the top of the set, making the upper tier at the Petersen Events Center warm with each burst. At one point there was a curtain of sparks shimmering down from the top of the top of the set as a bright and shiny backdrop.
Although the main set was over two hours (not including encore performances), the pace moved right along. The trio (plus a couple more) performed favorites – including “Basket Case” and “She” which had the crowd on its feet, hands in the air, and the mosh pit in motion. Other fan favorites included “Holiday,” “Know Your Enemy,” and “Longview.” Of course “Hitching A Ride” and “King For A Day” also made it into the set list – among a couple dozen other tried and true songs from their repertoire.
Billie Joe engaged the crowd throughout the night – at one point admonishing someone in the crowd for filming on her cell phone. He wasn’t upset that she was recording, but more that she was distracted from enjoying the performance, telling her (and the rest of us), “If you’re looking at me through your phone, you’re not looking at me.”
Top to bottom, it was a great night. Some people may think Green Day sold out to become an arena rock band – and they are certainly entitled to their opinions, but it’s still a show I will continue to see when they come to town.