2 p.m. -- Green Day with the American Idiot cast
Security is crazy-tight at the Staples Center. Not only did we need to apply in advance for accreditation just to get in the door -- once we do get in, we have to empty our pockets and/or purses and go through a metal detector. We are given backstage pass-style stickers, told we must wear them at all times and escorted into the sectioned-off portion of the arena where the media (and a few lucky fans) are allowed to sit. Across the way, on the massive black stage, Bay Area pop-punk trio Green Day are running through 21 Guns (up for Best Rock Performance and Best Rock Song) with the cast of their new American Idiot musical and a string section. The song begins quietly with the young castmembers and the strings, then kicks into gear when a giant wall rises to reveal the band. The black-clad Billie Joe -- playing acoustic guitar -- swaps vocals with a female vocalist while the rest of the kids gather around, sing backup and pump their fists to the beat. Between all those vocalists and the dramatic arrangement, this version of the song sounds even more anthemic than the one on the CD -- if that's possible. After three run-throughs, each of which sounds about the same as the last, it's over.
A little more on that stage: It's very sleek, with two ramps that come forward from either side and meet in the middle at a set of lighted stairs. One would assume the little pits in the stage are for the orchestra. Above there are half a dozen video screens, masses of lights and plenty of neon. There's also a small circular satellite stage for introductions and whatnot in the centre of the arena.
[Full article at Toronto Sun]